Friday, August 24, 2007

Aggie-ny of Defeat

Who's the Manning? John Manning (18) drags defenders into the endzone during his six-yard TD run. Manning hit paydirt six times in the game, the five others were via the air.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - It really wasn't that great of a game. Just ask BSU Coach Matt Adams.

"It really wasn't that great of a game. I mean, yeah, we won, and beat the #2 team in the country, but I'm not satisfied with the way we played."

Gee coach, what does your team have to do? After all, you won 56-16.

"We ran up the score out of frustration," Adams admitted after the game, referring to the Cardinals' 28 fourth-quarter points.

"The turnovers, they were unacceptable. (Quarterback) John (Manning) has to play better. Four interceptions? I think he watched game film of his brother's (Peyton's) rookie season (in the NFL)."

Turnover problems, you say Coach?

Brandon "Ugly" Petty got the game started off on the right foot, coughing up the opening kickoff, which Texas A&M recovered. The Aggies scored a touchdown off a 16-yard pitch left to tailback Darien Barrett.

Then, usually sure-handed senior receiver Corey Olson fumbled a punt return while trying to break a tackle. That led straight to a Texas A&M field goal, paving the way for a 10-7 first quarter deficit.

But perhaps most enraging for the coach was the play of his quarterback. Manning threw four interceptions, two of them on the cusp of scoring drives.

"I just misread the coverage. And I tried to force it to (tight end) Joe (Jordan)," Manning said, toweling himself off after the game.

Manning failed to mention Jordan wasn't even in the game for three of his interceptions. The frosh phenom went down hard midway through the first quarter, and didn't return until the fourth quarter was well underway.

One of the interceptions was meaningless, coming at the end of the half. But Coach Adams disagrees.

"I disagree with 'meaningless.' It could've easily been returned for a score. John (Manning) has got to stop calling audibles when we're trying to run out the clock. It's unacceptable."

So, was Adams satisfied with anything his quarterback did?

Said Adams, "Well, after his two later interceptions, Eric (Bryant) finally decided he wanted to intercept passes again."

The Coach has been upset with the senior cornerback's recent play. Bryant hadn't picked off a pass during the first two games of the season. That's uncharacteristic for college football's all-time interception leader. Also recall, Bryant decided to skip the draft after his phenomenal junior year to pursue a national championship.

He was back in form in the fourth quarter, picking off an errant pass and returning it for an 18-yard touchdown. It was his second pick of the game.

Not enough to satisfy his coach.

"He didn't take the first one back to the house. And only God knows how many interceptions he didn't make in the first two games," Adams said.

Six turnovers overshadowed what would've been another stellar day for John Manning. He completed 20 of 30 for 372 yards and five touchdowns. He also added a rushing touchdown, one of his eight carries for 62 yards.. And then there were those four interceptions...

"Just have to clean it up. We're 3-0 right now. But we can't turn the ball over like that and expect to win. At least, not in the non-MAC games," Manning said.

The Cardinals face rival Miami (OH) next game.

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