By Johnny Horton
Special Contributor Texas A&M
Move over, Johnny. There is a new sheriff in town and he goes by the name of Kenny Hill. For those who follow Texas A&M football closely, the Aggies’ demolition of South Carolina 52-28 should come as no surprise. Head coach Kevin Sumlin has proven himself to be one of the great offensive coaching minds in all of football at any level. To the world outside of College Station or to diehard college football fans, Hill was largely an unknown talent heading into the season opener. That was until he shattered a ton of Johnny Manziel’s records, completing a whopping 46 of 60 passes and throwing for 511 yards and 3 touches.
The Aggies came out swinging, obviously on a mission to prove that they did not deserve to be a ten and a half point dog. When it was all said and done, the most telling statements came from University of South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier when he said, “That team was so much better than us, it wasn’t funny.” He later followed that up with, “If we played them again they’d be a three touchdown favorite.” The Gamecocks looked so outmatched against the Aggies offensive weapons that it almost seemed as if the game was getting out of hand for them toward the end of the first quarter. That was until S.C. 5th year senior quarterback Dylan Thompson hit wide receiver Nick Jones for a way too easy 69 yard strike.
At that moment it looked as if there was going to be another one of those classic shootouts where A&M has to put up 40 or 50 points and hope the defense could make a play or two to seal the deal. But then came Hill leading the team down the field hooking up with receivers left and right, looking like a field general that has played in some pretty big games before. Oh wait, he has when he led perennial high school football giant Southlake Carroll to a Texas State Championship in Class 5A. Bright lights, big city, the kid proved he could hang with the big boys when he connected with Ricky Seals-Jones for a 3 yard touchdown.
But back came S.C. once again with another backyard style 46 yard touchdown pass to put the game at 17-14 A&M. The biggest question mark heading into the season has never been, “How do you replace Manziel?” but rather,”Will the 109th ranked defense in the nation from the 2013 slate be any better?” Early indications were not very encouraging, but then the Aggies came back with two more touchdowns before the half to put the score at 31-14, leaving the Gamecock fan base a disheveled mess.
Once the second half started and Hill found Josh Reynolds for yet another touchdown throw, the game was all but over. A&M looked decent at times on the defensive side of the ball but absolutely horrendous at other key moments of the first half when the game was a bit tight. This is something the secondary must address immediately if they plan on doing anything to write home about this season. The gut feeling is that these guys will improve as they gain experience, and fortunately they will get a couple of easy upcoming tune-ups against Lamar, Rice and SMU.
Johnny Manziel tweeted out “Kenny Football!!!” during the game. Whether or not Kenny is ready to be labeled Johnny 2.0 remains to be seen but the torch has certainly been passed quite nicely, and it is looking hotter than hell so far.
Follow Johnny Horton on Twitter @johnnyblaze360.