Manziel, defense help rally Texas A&M past Duke, 52-48
In perhaps his final college game, Manziel accounts for five touchdowns as the Aggies edge Duke in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.
ATLANTA — Even by Johnny Manziel’s Heisman-winning standards, his lead role in Texas A&M’s comeback was one to remember.
It could prove to be a perfect ending to Manziel’s college career.
Manziel threw four touchdown passes, and Toney Hurd Jr. returned an interception 55 yards for the late go-ahead touchdown in Texas A&M’s 52-48 victory over Duke on Tuesday night in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Led by Manziel, the Aggies rallied after trailing 38-17 at halftime.
Manziel, playing in what might be his final college game, completed 30 of 38 passes for 382 yards and ran for 73 yards and a touchdown.
“I was in a zone I haven’t been in before,” Manziel said. “Ever. I just wanted this game.”
Hurd’s interception return gave the No. 20 Aggies (9-4) their first lead with 3:33 remaining.
No. 22 Duke (10-4) took a 41-31 lead into the fourth quarter. The Blue Devils couldn’t hold off the comeback and are still looking for their first bowl win since beating Arkansas 7-6 in the 1961 Cotton Bowl.
Hurd stepped in front of receiver Johnell Barnes for the interception, the first turnover for either team. Texas A&M linebacker Nate Askew ended Duke’s next possession with another interception.
Duke’s Anthony Boone passed for 427 yards and three touchdowns but was left to regret the two interceptions, especially Hurd’s.
“It hurt,” Boone said. “It was a very unfortunate play on my part.”
Manziel, a third-year sophomore who won the Heisman Trophy as a freshman last season, is widely projected as a first-round pick if he decides to enter the NFL draft. He wasn’t ready to talk about his decision after the game.
“I can’t even talk about anything other than this game,” Manziel said. “This was unreal. ... I haven’t made (the decision) yet. I’m in the moment right now.”
Mississippi State rolls in Liberty Bowl
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Dak Prescott threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more scores and Mississippi State trounced Rice 44-7 in the most one-sided Liberty Bowl victory in the game’s 55-year history.
Mississippi State (7-6) prevented Rice (10-4) from winning bowl games in back-to-back years for the first time. By accounting for five touchdowns, Prescott set a Liberty Bowl record.
• Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher signed a new contract that runs through the 2018 season. The deal could signal an end to any plans Texas might have had to hire Fisher to replace Mack Brown. “We’re blessed that we got that out of the way so we can focus on winning a national championship,” Fisher said during a news conference.
Reports indicate that Texas has interviewed Vanderbilt’s James Franklin and has an interview scheduled with Louisville’s Charlie Strong to replace Brown.
• Oregon State receiver Brandin Cooks plans to enter the NFL draft, ESPN reported, according to sources. Cooks had 128 catches for 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2013.