Today, we finally got to witness the culmination of nearly a year of anticipation when Alabama and Texas A&M battled on the field in the rematch of last year’s upset by the Aggies of the eventual national champion Crimson Tide. Off-the-field storylines aside, what made this matchup all that more intriguing was the star power that would be on display on the field.
Johnny Manziel, AJ McCarron, T.J. Yeldon, Amari Cooper, C.J. Moseley–all of these names are household names among college football fans. At least the first four in my small list there have–at one point or another–been mentioned in the same breath as the word, “Heisman.” Hell, one of those names is the prestigious award’s most recent winner.
Yet, when the smoke was starting to clear and the adrenaline in my body was fading away following ‘Bama’s 49-42 heart-stopping victory , whenever the word Heisman came up, only one name out of every player on the Kyle Field turf today came to mind.
Yes, even in defeat–albeit ever so closely, Texas A&M sophomore wide receiver Mike Evans was far and away the most impressive and mind-blowing athlete on that field today. No, he didn’t slither his way out of a gargantuan Alabama defensive lineman’s grasp and heave up an eventual complete pass like his QB did, but he exhibited the qualities that you want to see in not only a top quality wide receiver, but a top-notch football player.
Now if you for some reason or another missed this year’s edition of the ‘Game of the Century,’ here was the wideouts final stat line. Evans finished up the game with seven catches for a school-record 279 yards and a touchdown.
And that touchdown, was kind of a big deal.
Down 14 in the fourth quarter and backed up on their own 5-yard line against the Alabama defense (the ALABAMA defense), Johnny Manziel dropped back into his own end zone and–well, this happened (h/t SB Nation for the visual evidence):
Manziel was able to find his physically imposing 6-5 wideout who was able to get behind the Tide secondary, and Evans did the rest of the work from there.
Yes, Johnny Football made a nice throw, but don’t discredit the fact that Evans was able to get behind the secondary, stiff arm the defender away from him and speed past the grasp of Vinnie Sunseri–one of the best defensive backs in the country.
Throughout the rest of the game, this breakout star was able to find more holes in that vaunted defense, a skill that seems to just come naturally to him. Sometimes when you watch a game on a Saturday afternoon, there’s usually one player that makes you feel like you’re watching a game on a Sunday.
Mike Evans was that guy today.
Alabama walked away from this game still unblemished and with hopes for a third straight national title still intact. Johnny Manziel walked away from this game still the most publicized player in the history of college football.
But, Mike Evans? He walked away from Kyle Field the newest member of the 2013 Heisman hype machine and quite possibly the apple of the eye of NFL scouts.
I sincerely hope Johnny isn’t as selfish and egotistical as we all make him out to be, because there’s a new Aggie he needs to share the spotlight with.