Facing Manziel: How the Tigers plan to contain explosive QB

The 2012 Heisman Trophy Winner led Texas A&M to a 51-29 victory over Missouri last season.

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel will bring his Heisman Trophy-winning self to Columbia for a season finale like no other.

No. 5 Missouri has its eyes on the Southeastern Conference East Division title, with “Johnny Football” and the Aggies standing in its way.

Last week, Manziel was held to 224 yards and one touchdown against Louisiana State. The Aggies average 45.6 points per game but scored only 10 against LSU.

Manziel concluded his Heisman Trophy campaign last season against Missouri with 372 yards passing and three touchdowns. In the last 10 years, Missouri has faced five Heisman Trophy winners, losing to all five. The Tigers can reverse that trend Saturday.

In order for Missouri to succeed, it’s bend-but-don’t-break style of defense will have to contain Manziel.

Missouri Defensive coordinator Dave Steckel said the solution to holding Manziel in check is simple.

“Tackle the guy with the football,” he said.

It’s easier said than done against the Aggies. Manziel has proved especially difficult to tackle this season. He scrambles, spins and keeps plays alive. His improvisation in the pocket is a key reason why he was a Heisman favorite before last Saturday’s performance against LSU.

Senior cornerback E.J. Gaines, who intercepted Manziel last season, said the plan is containment.

"I don't think you can look at it as stopping a great player like Johnny Manziel,” Gaines said. “Rather it's about containing him and slowing him down and helping our defense out. I think that is what coach Steckel will try to do this week."

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