ATLANTA — If this was Johnny Manziel’s last college game he lived up to his nickname.
Johnny Football led No. 20 Texas A&M to another comeback win, 52-48 over No. 22 Duke on Tuesday night in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
The Aggies were down 38-17 at halftime but with Manziel at the helm they came back in the highest-scoring game in the bowl’s history.
Playing in what might be his final college game, the 2012 Heisman trophy winner threw four touchdown passes, completed 30 of 38 passes for 382 yards and ran for 73 yards and a touchdown.
“I was in a zone I haven’t been in before,” Manziel said. “Ever. I just wanted this game.”
Was it the last college game for the third-year sophomore who is widely projected as a first-round pick if he decides to enter the NFL draft? He wasn’t ready to talk about his decision after the game.
“I can’t even talk about anything other than this game,” Manziel said. “This was unreal. ... I haven’t made (the decision) yet. I’m in the moment right now.”
Asked if this would be a perfect way to cap his college career, Manziel said: “I don’t know. It’s an unreal feeling, I know that. The way these guys fought, it was unreal. I’m proud of them.”
Toney Hurd Jr. returned an interception 55 yards that gave Texas A&M (9-4) its first lead with 3:33 remaining. It was the game’s first turnover.
Duke (10-4) took a 41-31 lead into the fourth quarter. The Blue Devils couldn’t hold off the comeback and are still looking for their first bowl win since beating Arkansas 7-6 in the 1961 Cotton Bowl.
Hurd stepped in front of receiver Johnell Barnes for the interception. Texas A&M linebacker Nate Askew ended Duke’s next possession with another interception.
Duke’s Anthony Boone passed for 427 yards and three touchdowns but was left to regret the two interceptions, especially Hurd’s.
“It hurt,” Boone said. “It was a very unfortunate play on my part.”
Texas A&M’s defense opened the second half with its first stop of the game.
The Blue Devils, successful on two fourth-down plays in the first half, were stopped on fourth down from the Texas A&M 35.
Manziel then had runs of 12 and 14 yards before his highlight play of the game. On second down from the Duke 17, Manziel danced and shuffled in traffic before vaulting a defender and dumping a short pass to Travis Labhart, who scored easily for his third touchdown of the game.
“It looked like we had him down three times,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. “He’s just strong, so strong.”
Josh Snead ran and caught passes for touchdowns and blocked a punt to set up a scoring run by Boone as Duke dominated the first half.
Snead capped Duke’s opening drive with an 11-yard touchdown catch. He had 17 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown and three catches for 21 yards and a touchdown. Juwan Thompson added 92 yards rushing for the Blue Devils and Jamison Crowder had 12 receptions for 163 yards and a touchdown.
All the pregame focus on Manziel and his possible farewell game failed to address the Aggies’ weakness that made the 2013 season a disappointment. Texas A&M ranked last in the Southeastern Conference and 105th in the nation in total defense and 88th in the nation in scoring defense.
Duke’s offense, led by Boone, ripped through the vulnerable Texas A&M defense. The Blue Devils gained 365 yards with no punts in the first half while building the three-touchdown lead.
NO. 17 UCLA 42, VIRGINIA TECH 12
EL PASO, Texas — Brett Hundley threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more scores to help UCLA rout Virginia Tech Sun Bowl.
The UCLA quarterback had 86- and 7-yard touchdown runs and finished with 161 yards on 10 carries. Hundley also completed 16 of 29 passes for 226 yards and two scores.
Hundley and UCLA linebacker Jordan Zumwalt shared MVP honors. Zumwalt had 10 tackles and returned an interception 43 yards to set up a touchdown.
The Bruins (10-3) outscored the Hokies (8-5) 28-2 in the fourth quarter.
After Virginia Tech cut it to 14-10 on Michael Branthover’s 22-yard field goal with 3:53 left in the third quarter, UCLA answered with a 12-play, 85-yard drive, capped by Paul Perkins’ 5-yard run early in the fourth.
Hokies backup quarterback Mark Leal then threw a pass under heavy pressure that linebacker Myles Jack intercepted and returned 29 yards for a touchdown that made it 28-10.
ADVOCARE V100 BOWL
ARIZONA 42, BOSTON COLLEGE 19
SHREVEPORT, La. — B.J. Denker threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns, Ka’Deem Carey rushed for 169 yards and two touchdowns and Arizona had an easy time against Boston College in the Advocare V100 Bowl.
Arizona (8-5) never trailed, leading 21-6 by halftime and 42-6 early in the fourth quarter. Carey had his 16th straight game with at least 100 yards rushing while Denker added a 14-yard touchdown run.
The game was billed as a matchup between two of the nation’s top running backs — Arizona’s Carey and Boston College’s Andre Williams. But the duel between AP All-America first team selections was one-sided.
Williams, who won the Doak Walker Award over Carey, was held to 75 yards rushing and a touchdown. Boston College (7-6) didn’t score a touchdown until Williams’ 4-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
Arizona’s Nate Phillips caught nine passes for 193 yards while redshirt freshman Trey Griffey — the son of former baseball star Ken Griffey Jr. — caught two touchdown passes.
MISSISSIPPI STATE 44, RICE 7
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Dak Prescott threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more scores and Mississippi State trounced Rice in the most one-sided Liberty Bowl victory in the game’s 55-year history.
Mississippi State (7-6) wrapped up its fourth straight winning season and prevented Rice (10-4) from winning bowl games in back-to-back years for the first time.
Prescott accounted for five touchdowns to set a Liberty Bowl record. He was 17 of 28 for 283 yards and ran for 78 yards on 14 carries.
Mississippi State’s Jameon Lewis caught nine passes for 220 yards to break the Liberty Bowl receiving record of 201 set by Houston’s Vincent Marshall against South Carolina in 2006. Lewis also set the school single-game record.