While most of the Saskatchewan Roughriders will be playing Johnny Manziel for the first time this Sunday – a couple of them will be meeting up with an old foe.
Four Roughriders played against the former Texas A & M quarterback in college including defensive back Nick Marshall (as the quarterback at Auburn), Matt Elam and Loucheiz Purifoy and running back Tre Mason.
Purifoy has a few memories of that game more than six years ago.
“It was physical, it was loud. You couldn’t hear nothing,” he told reporters earlier this week. “In that stadium, you got to communicate. I mean, they were just a hell of a football team. We came out on top though.”
In fact, all of the players have been a part of a team that beat Johnny Manziel. Purifoy and Elam’s Florida Gators won 20-17. Auburn’s Marshall and Mason were part of a 45-41 shootout in 2013.
Marshall, who now plays defensive back for the Riders, had two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in the victory.
He said Manziel is not as bad as the quarterback people have been seeing in the CFL lately. The one that’s thrown for less than 500 yards, no touchdowns and five picks.
“I’d just say he’s not a bad quarterback, he’s a versatile guy,” Marshall said. “In the pocket he’s mobile, he has a tight arm. He’s just Johnny Manziel. We got to go out there and play football.”
That is perhaps paying respect to the quarterback that Manziel was in college. There he threw for 7,820 yards over two seasons including 63 touchdowns. He rushed for another 2,169 yards and 30 touchdowns.
Likewise, Purifoy said he’s a quarterback that could give a team problems if you let him.
“He’s the same player (but) he’s more calm and composed,” Purifoy said. “I say that because he can stay in the pocket more up here. In college, he just ran around and made plays with his feet, his arm but now he’s actually trying to stay in his pocket, make his reads. When he doesn’t have it, he uses his athleticism. (We) got to stop that.”
Just like he did all those years ago.
“(I’m) going to try to beat him again. I’m 1-0 against him, so I’m going to try to beat him again,” Purifoy said.
Game time is 11 a.m. with the Green Zone pregame show beginning at 9 a.m.