Texas A&M joined the SEC Saturday afternoon in College Station, hosting the Florida Gators in a sold out Kyle Field.
It was the Aggies first SEC game, the first game of the of the 2012 season, and the first game of the Kevin Sumlin era.
Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M showed an exciting first half offense to open up a 17-7 lead midway through the second quarter.
But it proved to be a tail of two halves as Florida came back from 17-10 halftime deficit to shutdown that Aggie offense and score ten unanswered second half points to edge Texas A&M 20-17 in a huge SEC matchup in College Station. Jeff Driskell passed for 162 yards and Mike Gillislee rushed for 83 yards and 2 TDs to lead the Gatrors.
Texas A&M received The Opening kckoff and set up from their 20-yard line. The Aggies used 14 plays to drive 66 yards before kicking a field goal to open the scoring. After a false start, a no gain by Christine Michael, and a loss of two on a pass reception by Ryan Swope, with the Aggies faced a third and seventeen, Johnny Manziel scrambled for 16 yards. A personal foul tacked on 15 yards and gave the Aggies a first down.
Johnny Manziel and the Aggies used a mix of pass and run to march down the field to set the Aggies up with a first and goal at the Florida 7-yard line. After a couple of incompletions, Johnny Manziel scrambled before tossing the ball into the endzone for an apparent Aggie touchdown but was ruled to have crossed the line of scrimmage before throwing the ball, resulting in a 5-yard penalty ad loss of down. Taylor Bertolet came on to kick a 27-yard field goal to give Texas A&M a 3-0 lead at the 10:34 mark in the first quarter.
Florida responded by driving 75 yards in 13 plays on their first possession of the game, with Mike Gillislee scoring a touchdown on a 4-yard run. The extra point by Caleb Sturgis gave Florida a 7-3 lead with 3:51 left in the first quarter.
On the ensuing possession, it was the Johnny Manziel show, as 'Johnny Football' and the Aggies drove 81 yards in 14 plays, with Johnny Manziel scoring on an 11-yard run. The extra point by Taylor Bertolet gave the Aggies a 10-7 lead earl in the second quarter.
On Florida's next drive, the Texas A&M defense stepped up and recorded three sacks, two by Aggie defensive end Damontre Moore, forcing the Gators to punt.
The Aggie offense continued to roll, this time driving 79 yards in 10 plays. True freshman Trey Williams came in for the Aggies and immediately made his presence felt, with a 9-yard run and a 28-yard reception from Johnny Manziel. The Aggies showed some razzle dazzle with receiver Kenric McNeal taking a reverse ansd throwing a 27-yard completion to Mike Evans that gave the Aggies and 1st-and-10 at the Florida 12-yard line. The Aggies kept it on the ground, scoring on a 1-yard run by senior Christine Michael. Bertolet's extra point extended Texas A&M's lead to 17-7 with 7:01 left in the first half.
Florida drove to the Texas A&M 28-yard line before having to settle for a 51-yard Caleb Sturgis field goal that cut the Aggie lead to 17-10 with 1:49 left in the first half.
Johnny and the Aggies drove to the Florida 27-yard line before the first half clock ran out with Ryan Swope caught a pass from Manziel but was tackled inbounds, and Texas A&M took a 17-10 lead into halftime.
Statistically, Texas A&M dominated the game much more than the score indicated, leading in first downs, 18 to 9, and in total yards, 269 to 101.
For Texas A&M, Johnny Manziel had completed 16 of 20 passes for 141 yards and had rushed for 41 yards and 1 TD on 9 carries. Mike Evans led Aggie receivers with 2 receptions for 34 yards and Christine Michael was the rushing workhorse with 11 carries for 26 yards.
Florida quarterback Jeff Driskell was a perfect 6-for-6 passing for 82 yards but was sacked four times. Jordan Reed had caught 3 passes for 49 yards and Mike Gillislee had rushed for 35 yards and 1 TD on 9 carries.
Florida received the second half kickoff and methodically drove down to the Texas A&M 6-yard line before the Aggie defense forced the Gators to settle for a 25-yard Caleb Burgess field goal that cut the Aggie lead to 17-13 with 11:02 left in the third quarter.
Texas A&M went 3-and-out their first two possessions of the second half. But the Aggie defense also forced two Florida punts and the third quarter ended with Texas A&M still leading 17-13 and facing 3rd-and-3 from their 19-yard line.
Johnny Manziel was sacked on the first play of the fourth quarter, forcing another Aggie punt. Florida set up with good field position at their 38-yard line.
It took Florida just four plays to score. After Jeff Driskell completed a 39-yard pass to Omarius Hines, Mike Gillislee ran 12 yards for his second touchdown of the day. A Sturgis extra point gave Florida a 20-17 lead with 13:05 left in the third quarter.
Three more Aggie possessions, three more Aggie punts gave Florida a 1st-and-10 from their 14-yard line with 3:13 left in the game.
A facemask penalty gave the Gators a first down at their 30-yard line. Florida picked up another first down on a 12-yard Solomon Patton run. Facing a 2nd-and-10, Jeff Driskell scrambled 21 yards for a first down, enabling Florida to run out the clock and leave College Station with a hard fought 20-17 win.
For Texas A&M, it was another second half disappointment, scoring no points and picking up just three first downs the second half.
For the game, Texas A&M and Florida both had 21 first downs, and Texas A&M led Florida in total yards, 334 to 306.
The Texas A&M defense had a solid performance, sacking Florida quarterback Jeff Driskell eight times.
For Texas A&M, Johnny Manziel completed 23 of 30 passes for 173 yards and rushed for 60 yards and 1 TD on 17 carries. Mike Evans was the go to receiver, catching 7 passes for 60 yards. The Aggies running backs only gained 74 yards, split between Christine Michael (13 for 33 yards), Ben Malena (3 for 23 yards), and Trey Williams (5 for 18 yards).
For Florida, Jeff Driskell completed 13-of-16 passes for 162 yards. Jordan Reed caught 5 passes for 59 yards, Mike Gillislee rushed for 83 yards and 2 TDs on 14 carries.
Texas A&M (0-1 SEC) will look to rebound when they travel to Dallas to face SMU next Saturday afternoon.
Florida (2-0, 1-0 SEC) faces Tennessee next Saturday night in an SEC clash.