COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Johnny Manziel’s day began late because of the NCAA and ended early because of his mouth.
In between he looked like Johnny Football at his best.
After serving his first-half suspension, the Heisman Trophy winner threw three touchdown passes, scrambled for 19 yards — and, well, acted up — while No. 7 Texas A&M rolled over Rice, 52-31, on Saturday.
Manziel was sitting out because of what the school called an “inadvertent” violation of NCAA rules involving signing autographs.
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His first touchdown came on a 23-yard pass to Mike Evans on A&M’s second drive of the half. But just before that, Manziel got into it with a Rice defender, appearing to mimic signing an autograph while getting up from a tackle.
Coach Kevin Sumlin said he didn’t see that exchange, but would have “done something about it” if he did.
Manziel ended his day by getting yanked following an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for pointing at the scoreboard after a TD pass in the fourth quarter.
“A foolish penalty at the end,” Sumlin said. “No matter what the comments are or what. He’s going to face that every week with the people chirping. That’s not OK, and obviously I addressed that on the sideline right after the play. That’s something he’s going to have to deal with every week.”
Manziel, who was replaced by Matt Joeckel on A&M’s last drive, wasn’t made available to the media after the game.
He did address his teammates Friday night and discussed, according to Sumlin, the “mistakes he’s made.” The meeting was a condition for reinstatement.
“Maybe actions you think just hurt you end up hurting the whole football team,” Sumlin said. “That was the real gist of his message to the team, that everybody’s individual acts affect the team and when that happens it’s not good.”
Manziel had been investigated for allegedly accepting money for autographs from memorabilia brokers, a violation of NCAA rules that could have led to a much longer suspension.
Instead, Manziel only had to sit out the first two quarters.
Offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi, for one, didn’t have a problem with Manziel’s antics.
“That’s how he is. He’s a fiery guy and that’s what we love about him,” he said. “He’s not quiet. He’s not shy. He’s going to be loud and aggressive and that’s what makes him Johnny Football.”