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 TD 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.
His first touchdown came on a 23-yard pass to Mike Evans on A&M’s second drive of the second 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 wasn’t made available to the media after the game.
Matt Joeckel started in place of Manziel for A&M and threw for 190 yards and a touchdown to help the Aggies to a 28-21 lead at halftime.
Manziel came in on Texas A&M’s first offensive series of the second half. He scrambled for 12 and 7 yards, threw an incompletion and then was sacked and the Aggies capped his first drive with a 44-yard field goal.
Manziel extended A&M’s lead to 38-21 with the touchdown pass to Evans.
Ben Malena grabbed an 18-yard pass from Manziel early in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 45-28.
Rice failed to convert on fourth down on its next drive and Manziel took advantage of the short field two plays later when he hit a wide-open Evans in the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown. Then he got a flag.
Asked afterward if he was ready to pull Manziel before the penalty, Sumlin said: “Nope.”