As overcast skies gave way to blue, Johnny Manziel was the last Aggie to jog onto the field for pregame warmups, the last to head back into the locker room and the final Aggie to emerge from the tunnel before Saturday's kickoff.
On a day reserved to honor the outgoing senior class, Manziel had the most memorable ending to the night.
Throughout the second half of Texas A&M's 51-41 win over Mississippi State, patches of the fans at Kyle Field yelled, "One more year! one more year!" acknowledging that Manziel and his favorite target Mike Evans could be playing their final home games for A&M.
In the last game played at Kyle Field before it undergoes a $450 million renovation, Manziel gave fans a lasting image of everything they've come to know him as — on and off the field.
The crowd's pleas for the redshirt sophomore to return for another season grew as the fourth quarter progressed, but it seemed impossible for the 88,504 in the stands to get coordinated enough for their yells to reach the field.
On A&M's final possession, as the Aggies attempted to run out the clock, Manziel sent the stadium into a frenzy by turning to the fans and pumping his arms up and down between downs, asking them to be as loud as possible. Finally, someone was able to get them in sync.
"It was really emotional and really awesome," Manziel said. "It really speaks volumes to how awesome this student body is and this fan base and how special everything about Texas A&M is. It's a really special place, and I love it here."
The crowd's anticipation of the clock hitting zero could be heard as they got louder and louder. As the final minute ticked away, Manziel received a pat on the back from likely successor Kenny Hill, hugged R. Bowen Loftin and when he realized he was on the Jumbotron, Manziel saluted Kyle Field. When the clock hit zero, Manziel sprinted to the east side of the field and jumped into a sea of maroon-clad fans to sing the Aggie War Hymn.
"Kyle Field is a special place," Manziel said. "Nothing will be the same about Kyle Field after today, and to leave that mark like we did today and to go out that way couldn't have been any better."
It's not unusual for Manziel to be last to leave the field after warmups or follow head coach Kevin Sumlin as the last out of the tunnel, but before Saturday's game, he made a detour on his way back to the locker room.
His parents Paul and Michelle and sister Meri waited for him behind the south end zone. He hugged his mom and said something to her. After her son jogged off, Michelle turned to the video screen behind her. She caught the Aggies' introduction video at just the right moment. Her eyes got glassy as her son appeared, making his Heisman Trophy acceptance speech a little less than a year ago.
During player introductions, A&M's seniors were each recognized. And Reveille led the rest of the Aggies' on to the field. When they were situated on the sidelines, Maziel emerged behind Sumlin out of the smoke from the tunnel.
Manziel finished Saturday's game just 7 yards shy of the seventh 500-total yard game of his career -- no other player in Southeastern Conference history has totaled 500 yards in a game more than once. He completed 30 of 39 passes for 446 yards.
During a third-quarter drive, Manziel spun past two advancing pass rushers on third and 25 and got as far to the sideline without being out of bound before throwing a laser to Derel Walker for a 26-yard gain down the left sideline, and then hit Malcome Kennedy for 12 more yards. But when he went for the home-run play on the next down, and instead ended up with his third interception of the night as Nickoe Whitley snatched the ball at the MSU 4.
This was a recurring theme. Manziel's backyard style helped him dazzle and tie his career-high with five touchdown passes, but also caused him to equal the most interceptions he's thrown in a game.
"There's times when I'll come back, and with the experience that I've gained over the last couple of years, I know that on the third pick to Mike, I knew better than that," Manziel said.
"Greed is a terrible thing. To sit there and really want to get that touchdown to Mike, I tried my best to look off that safety, but I still threw it to him anyway. As a football player and a quarterback, I know better than that. The pick against Ole Miss, throwing into triple coverage over the middle, I know better than that."
As the Bulldogs called timeout after each of the Aggies' three kneel-downs to run out the clock, Johnny combated it by being Johnny. Instead of taking a knee, he playfully danced and shook in the pocket in a game of chicken with the defensive line until he couldn't run any more time off.
For all of the mistakes that he makes by being "greedy" and wanting to do the impossible, his teammates recognize how great he is. Senior running back Ben Malena calls him "the best player in the nation." Kennedy credits his quarterback's skills for turning an ordinary dig route into a 12-yard touchdown because of his ability to "escape." Senior receiver Travis Labhart considers himself "lucky to catch passes from a guy like that."
Manziel said that he is focused only on winning A&M's last two games and has not thought "one bit" about whether or not he will elect to leave school early for the NFL.
Whether or not the fans' pleas during the game reached him or not, Manziel left them with a special game that summed up his time in College Station.