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Manziel, Aggies edge Duke, 52-48, in Chick-Fil-A Bowl

Manziel Fuels Texas A&M Past Duke

ATLANTA (AP) -- 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. It was the highest-scoring game in the bowl's history.

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."

Asked if this would be a perfect way to cap his college career, Manziel said: "I don't know. It's an unreal feeling, I know that. The way these guys fought, it was unreal. I'm proud of them."

Texas A&M's defense opened the second half with its first stop of the game. The Blue Devils, successful on two fourth-down calls in the first half, were stopped on fourth down from the Texas A&M 35.

That set the stage for Manziel's magic.

The elusive quarterback had runs of 12 and 14 yards before his highlight play of the game. On second down from the Duke 17, Manziel danced and shuffled in traffic before vaulting a defender and dumping a short pass to Travis Labhart, who scored easily for his third touchdown of the game.

"It looked like we had him down three times," Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. "He's just strong, so strong."

Josh Snead ran and caught passes for touchdowns and blocked a punt to set up a scoring run by Boone as Duke dominated the first half.

Snead capped Duke's opening drive with an 11-yard touchdown catch. He had 17 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown and three catches for 21 yards and a touchdown. Juwan Thompson added 92 yards rushing for the Blue Devils and Jamison Crowder had 12 receptions for 163 yards and a touchdown.

All the pregame focus on Manziel and his possible farewell game failed to address the Aggies' weakness that made the 2013 season a disappointment. Texas A&M ranked last in the Southeastern Conference and 105th in the nation in total defense and 88th in the nation in scoring defense.

Duke's offense, led by Boone, ripped through the vulnerable Texas A&M defense. The Blue Devils gained 365 yards with no punts in the first half while building the three-touchdown lead.

Manziel and the Aggies couldn't match Duke's relentless attack. Mistakes hurt the Aggies, including an unsportsmanlike conduct call against receiver Mike Evans which helped to stall their first possession. Evans drew a second personal foul call later in the first quarter and then had to hear about it on the sideline from Manziel.

Duke attacked with go-for-broke play-calling.

The Blue Devils were successful on two four-and-1 plays in a second-quarter drive that ended with Snead's 25-yard touchdown run. Duke then added even more pressure by recovering an onside kick following the touchdown.

The recovery at midfield set up Ross Martin's 18-yard field goal on the final play of the half.

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michael January 01 2014 at 6:46 PM

great 4 college,nfl different story running qb's never finish seasons

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geraha02 January 01 2014 at 6:26 PM

I read pretty much of all the so called comments, that is exactly what they are comments, get out there on the football field and play like i did and you will understand what is said & done during a football game by all of the jocks out there,, Manziel & the aggies shut down a very aggressive team that Florida State beat in the ACC Championship and beat them with Leadership & Teamwork, that Manziel displayed last night . Manziel is great for College Sports !!!!!!

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scarman73 January 01 2014 at 5:48 PM

The NFL is a whole nother ballgame. Manziel is a 5 year career as a backup QB at best.

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steelarc10 January 01 2014 at 5:37 PM

This is the first game that I ever saw a team loose and then win it in the instant replay. Or was it two games played back to back and they lost the first game but came back to win the second and final.

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Randy January 01 2014 at 4:05 PM

wah, wah Manziel

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Marilene January 01 2014 at 3:41 PM

Manziel, he is amazing player, last night he shows that to the world!

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cfinde January 01 2014 at 3:15 PM

Manziel is a punk! His family background is questionable and he probably has numerous infractions that have been kept quiet due to his FB status. The NFL has many thugs, so Manziel will fit nicely.
He will not, however, be able to stand being humble.

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jose.abreo January 01 2014 at 4:30 PM

Are you just now getting stupid or were you born that way? Questionable family background? Get back to that underground hole from which you came.

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steelarc10 January 01 2014 at 5:49 PM

Yeah...........he is a punk but he's our punk and we love him anyway. Go Johnny, you've got fans, friends and team mates. ........and a few haters. I am a hater. I just hate the way you make fools out of your opponents. I just hate the way you never give up. I just hate the way your old big feet run. I just hate the way you pass. I just hate the way you charm the beauties.............etc. I just hate that you may go NFL. We are going to miss you.

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jyates1936 January 01 2014 at 3:07 PM

Running qbs such as Manziel do not last long in the NFL. Vick, RGII come to mind. A great college quarterback but I don't think he will succeed in the NFL. Just humble opinion. Go Tebow, oh another great collegian who can't cut it in the NFL.

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Walt January 01 2014 at 3:58 PM

Where did you play?

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tig519 January 01 2014 at 2:23 PM

Only one top rated QB that is entering the NFL draft is a senior, with Manziel only a sophomore. Thought college was for education first. I give it about 3-5 years before the colleges start talking to the NFL about requiring college players be at least Juniors if not Seniors before they can enter the draft. Why? because the more players leaving early, the less successful their program will be. Imagine the college teams being made up of only Freshmen and Sophomores.

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cfinde January 01 2014 at 3:21 PM

About 3 decades ago, colleges became merely training camps for the NFL. There are so many colleges that have plowed so much money into stadia and coaches that they are desperate for funding. The latest scandal at North Carolina is just the tip of the (hidden) ice berg. Any large university has hidden the millions of dollars they have lost on sports---just keep the alumi happy---and to hell with academics. As for Manziel,
I'm sure any of his high school teachers could tell you just how much of a college education little Johnny was interested in---- ZERO! Texas taxpayers gave him a free ride to make millions in the NFL.

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steelarc10 January 01 2014 at 6:00 PM

You got it all figured out. Thanks for the enlightenment. Less than 5% of high school players make it into the college level play. Less than 5% of these make it through college and into the draft. Less than 50% of these become top players and some soon bail out or get released. But millions of people really enjoy the game and millions of $ flow because of it. You can turn off the TV anytime or select a more intelectual program.

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BILL January 01 2014 at 4:49 PM

Education first? really,these players are recruited for their athletic ability not their acedemic ability,colleges are the NFL minor league,education is second,when will you learn.

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uniburg January 01 2014 at 2:16 PM

Interesting how the media states, "Manziel Brillant..."...looking at his stats for the game...they were OK...but...watching the Texas - Oregon game, MARCUS MARRIOTA had 253 yards passing, 133 yards rushing....Manziel is a good QB...but come-on Sports Writers...give some credit where it is due....

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