The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

November 9, 2012

No. 1 Alabama awaits Manziel, No. 15 Texas A&M

(Continued)

That sets up a battle between the swashbuckling Johnny Football and a physical, disciplined defense that would love to make the Aggies look like Johnny Come Lately. That's much easier said than done.

Manziel is leading the SEC in rushing, scoring and total offense. He's averaged 10 points a game not even counting his 16 touchdown passes. Alabama, by contrast, is only allowing opponents to score a tad over nine points per game.

Saban said Manziel reminds him more of Doug Flutie than Michigan's Denard Robinson or former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, now with the Carolina Panthers.

"I had to play against (Flutie) a long time ago," the former Kent State defensive back said. "But he's a really good player, a really good competitor and that's who this guy reminds me of. He can throw it, he's not great big in stature or anything like that, he's extremely quick. He's very instinctive. Has a unique ability to extend plays and seems to know when to take off and run it. And he scrambles and makes plays throwing the ball down the field.

"But this is a unique guy in terms of his playmaking ability and his size, quickness and speed and ability to make people miss in space."

The Aggies will complete a three-game SEC road swing with this trip to 101,821-seat Bryant-Denny, and they're hoping to do it in style.

"I think that in playing college football, and playing football in general, this is going to be the Saturday you live to play for," Texas A&M offensive lineman Patrick Lewis said. "Going up there on the road, I think their stadium holds well-over 100 thousand people. It's probably going to be packed to capacity.

"We look forward to the challenge they're going to present."

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