Texas A&M ran 99 plays — 99! — in its 52-28 win, and did so with a first-time starter in Kenny Hill at quarterback. But, as Yahoo’s Pat Forde argues, maybe last night’s win was just as much about Hill as it was about Sumlin’s system:
Clearly, the pony has plenty of tricks. Sumlin acknowledged a “chip on the shoulder” after reading media predictions calling for the Aggies’ demise.
“Let’s see if they can coach now that the best player in college football is gone,” he said. “… Probably had some coaches, including myself, who took some comments personal in the offseason.”
Sumlin knew what his offense had done before Manziel – when Case Keenum became the NCAA’s all-time leader in passing yards, touchdowns and completions at Houston. So he knew what his offense could do after Manziel as well.
Namely, churn out yards and put up points with spectacular ease. And speed. The Aggies clicked off a staggering 99 plays Thursday, exhausting and bewildering the Gamecocks.
This isn’t to say Texas A&M can win with any quarterback in there. But Sumlin has found three quarterbacks in Case Keenum, Johnny Manziel and Hill who can run his offense to perfection.
Armed with the right quarterback, Sumlin’s offense is incredibly difficult to stop. And make no mistake, Hill deserves a ton of credit for going into Columbia and playing as well as he did in his first career start. He completed 44 of 60 passes for 511 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
But if Sumlin can get that kind of game out of a first-time starter in a hostile environment…then yeah, maybe that $5 million price tag is worth it.
It’s the same $5 million price tag Spurrier poked fun at over the summer.
“A&M has recruited well, I know that. I read those rankings every year,” Spurrier said. “Kevin Sumlin has an excellent record as a coach. He’s a good negotiator, we know that also.”