ARLINGTON, TX. — Mike Stoops has seen many great players in his time as a coach. Whether it has been in his current position as Oklahoma defensive coordinator or as a head coach in the PAC-10, he has watched talented offensive players come and go.
However, they all now pale in comparison to Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. After watching the redshirt freshman dismantle his defense Friday for 41 points during the 77th Annual Cotton Bowl Classic, Manziel leapfrogged to the top of his list of amazing football players.
“He’s virtually unstoppable,” Stoops said. “Best player I think I’ve ever played. He just does so many good things. He’s got magic.”
Even though Manziel was the first freshman to ever win the Heismann, it was understandable if the Sooners didn’t truly believe the hype surrounding the man the rest of the country calls Johnny Football. OU had punished A&M quarterbacks for years when it was part of the Big 12.
But Manziel proved to the Sooners he is a different breed than what they have seen before. He finished the night completing 22 of 34 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns. He also carried the rock for 229 yards and another two scores.
“There wasn’t anything holding us back,” Manziel said. “No rust. There was no nothing. To come in and go against a Big 12 rival and do everything we wanted as a team, we couldn’t feel any better.”
In the process of winning his first bowl game, Manziel broke and set several records that have stood for years. That includes setting the all-time FBS bowl record of rushing yards for a quarterback. He also took home the Cotton Bowl record for total offensive yards in a game with 516.
For a program like Oklahoma that used to be built on a staunch defense, those are hard pills to swallow.