LSU has done the impossible. It’s been said that Death Valley is where dreams go to die. That held true this past Saturday. The force of nature known as Johnny Football, the reigning Heisman champion, who has performed even better this season, lost what little hope he had of being the only repeat Heisman winner since Archie Griffin did it for Ohio State in 1974 and 1975.
Against the Tigers, Johnny Manziel completed a mere 39% of his passes (16 of 41) for 224 yards. It was the lowest completion percentage of his career. He had one just touchdown (his first ever against LSU) to go along with two interceptions. He added another 54 yards on the ground and was sacked twice. In the second half, the Aggies scored no points, as Manziel completed 9-18 with his two picks. Johnny Football ended with an 83.2 passer rating, the lowest of his career.
Last year against LSU, Manziel completed 51.6% (29 of 56) for 276 yards. It was the lowest completion percentage of his career at the time and is now the second lowest. He had no touchdowns to counter his three interceptions. He added only 24 yards on the ground and was sacked three times. That now ranks as his second lowest rushing total in games that he’s started. Johnny Football ended with an 83.3 passer rating. It was the lowest passer rating of his career until Saturday.
Johnny Manziel’s third lowest completion percentage? 60% against Louisiana Tech in 2012 (24 of 40) His third lowest passer rating? 124.4 against Ole Miss in 2012.
This season? Besides LSU, Manziel’s lowest completion percentage was 66.7% against SMU and UTEP; and his lowest passer rating was 148.9 against Ole Miss.
Texas A&M scored just 10 points – all in the second quarter – and gained only 299 yards; both were the lowest totals by the Aggies since Coach Kevin Sumlin took over in 2012.
Defensive coordinator John Chavis and the Bayou Bengals defense knows the trick to stopping Manziel. If Manziel declares for the NFL draft, LSU will be the only team to have beaten him twice. Against Alabama, one of the top defenses in college football the past two seasons, Manziel was 52 of 70 (74.3%) for 717 passing yards, 190 rushing yards, 7 touchdowns, and only 2 interceptions. Against LSU, Manziel has been a combined 45 of 94 (just 46.4%) for 500 passing yards, 81 rushing yards, only 1 touchdown, and 5 picks.
LSU’s defense may have struggled at times the last two season and especially this year, but the Tigers have turned in some of their best performances against the SEC’s best player. While Manziel has shredded opposing defenses left and right, he has run into a brick wall against the Tigers mauling defense.