COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Johnny Manziel accounted for four touchdowns in his first start this season, leading No. 7 Texas A&M to a 65-28 rout of Sam Houston on Saturday night at Kyle Field.
Manziel, suspended for the first half of the season opener, passed for 403 yards and played less than three quarters for the 2-0 Aggies. Sophomore receiver Mike Evans racked up a career-high 155 yards receiving as Texas A&M rolled up more than 700 yards of offense.
"He was very efficient," A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said of Manziel. "There was maturity shown on scrambles and ability to throw the ball away and take care of ball.
"Maybe last year he would have just slung it up in the middle of the field. We've got some playmakers around Johnny, and you see him utilizing everybody."
The Aggies' season gets tougher in a hurry with top-ranked Alabama coming to College Station next week. Texas A&M was the only team last season to beat the Crimson Tide during their second straight national championship season.
Manziel, available to the media for the first time since the SEC Media Days, downplayed the impending mega-matchup.
"It feels like another game," he said. "It feels like Week 3 of the season. We've got to continue to get better as a team, continue to get better on every aspect, offense, defense, special teams."
The tuneup against Sam Houston (1-1) wasn't without its issues. The Aggies gave up 240 yards rushing and several big plays against an FCS program that was a five-touchdown underdog.
"We had our moments on defense but allowed four big plays," Sumlin said. "One was a missed tackle. That can be corrected."
The Bearkats, ranked fourth in the FCS, were led by running back Timothy Flanders. The two-time Southland Conference Player of the Year scored three touchdowns and rushed for 170 yards.
Manziel came out firing and the Aggies' offense found little resistance. Texas A&M scored on five of its first seven first-half possessions, with another ending with a missed field goal attempt, in taking a 30-14 lead into the locker room.
"They're very good," Sam Houston State coach Willie Fritz said. "That's one of the best offenses I've ever seen. We could not stop them."
Manziel reached 300 yards passing for the fifth time in his career, doing so with about five minutes left in the first half. The sophomore threw for 323 yards and two touchdowns at the break, to go along with 33 yards rushing.
Tra Carson scored A&M's first touchdown on a short run and Manziel connected with Sabian Holmes for a 27-yard score and a 14-7 lead. The Aggies had more than 200 yards in the first quarter.
Ben Malena had A&M's third touchdown, but Manziel had fired up the sellout crowd just before the score. The Heisman winner bowled over a Sam Houston defensive back to momentarily get into the end zone. The play was reviewed and Manziel had stepped out of bounds, but the impact and Manziel's reaction resonated around Kyle Field.
The Bearkats chewed up yards on the ground on their first march, much as Rice did the week before against A&M's depleted defense. Sam Houston traveled 74 yards on just six rushes, with Flanders going the final 11 for a touchdown.
Sam Houston added another score late in the first half on Brian Bell's 33-yard pass to Flanders.
NOTES: Texas A&M passed for a school-record 477 yards, with 74 coming from true freshman backup quarterback Kenny Hill. ... Despite the campuses being 53 miles apart, the Aggies and Bearkats have met just 12 times, with Saturday's game being just the third since 1941. Texas A&M is 12-0. ... The last time Texas A&M lost a home game to a non-conference opponent from the state of Texas was Sept. 18, 1954, when Texas Tech, then a member of the Border Conference, handed the Aggies a 41-9 loss in Bear Bryant's debut game as A&M coach. ... Sam Houston is 3-27 against FBS teams since 1986. The last win came in 2011 at New Mexico.