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December 10, 2012

Raising the bar for Johnny Heisman

NEW YORK — Heisman Trophy history suggests it will never get better for Johnny Manziel than it did this season. In the 78-year history of the Heisman, only one player has one more than one: Ohio State’s Archie Griffin in 1974 and ‘75.

But even if another Heisman is not in Manziel’s future, there’s still plenty left for Johnny Football and Texas A&M to achieve before he’s done in College Station, Texas.

“First and foremost, there’s the Cotton Bowl,” Manziel said Saturday night. The 10th-ranked Aggies play No. 12 Oklahoma in Dallas on Jan. 4.

“From there, I have to be the guy who starts the motor for a run at the national title next year. That’s our goal. If more awards come, they come.”

That goal doesn’t seem farfetched at all after the Aggies’ scintillating first season playing in the Southeastern Conference. Manziel was joined on stage at his post-ceremony news conference by coach Kevin Sumlin and A&M offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, the former star quarterback at Texas Tech.

Manziel turned 20 this week. Kingsbury is 33. Sumlin is 48. It’s not hard to look at them and see the future of the SEC. Especially after the Aggies went 10-2 this season and left no doubt that their fast-paced, spread offense would not sputter in the big bad SEC.

Texas A&M averaged 552 yards per game and 44 points. Manziel smashed Cam Newton’s total offense record with 4,600 yards passing and rushing.

“You look what our offense did this year. People didn’t really think that we were going to have mush success in the SEC. They said these smashmouth, hard-nose defenses and this gimmick offense ... won’t work.

“For us to come into Alabama and some of the other games and really stress tempo, tempo, tempo. We want to move fast. We want to make people uncomfortable. That was our main goal this year. Our offense with coach Sumlin and what coach Kingsbury did, I love it. I love everything about it. It’s definitely something that can work if you have the right people in place for it.”

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