Legions of Ole Miss fans are getting used to seeing quarterback Matt Corral’s name atop the statistical leaders in college football this season. His Rebel teammates are becoming accustomed to seeing something that can only be seen from the field – a leader.
During the Alabama game – a 62-48 loss to the Tide – Ole Miss was driving for what could have been a game-tying touchdown. On a crucial third down, Corral lined up under center instead of in the shotgun formation. Then Rebels’ center did not realize where his quarterback was and snapped the ball as if Corral were lined up deep in the backfield. The result was a fumbled snap that hindered Ole Miss’ scoring opportunity.
When asked about the play after the game, Corral assumed the role of leader and took the blame for the miscommunication upon his own shoulders.
“He (the center) thought I was in shotgun, and I take responsibility for that.” Corral said. “In practice, I always told him and that one time I didn’t tell him, and it backfired on me. I put that on myself, that was my fault.”
WATCH: Ole Miss QB Matt Corral talks after the Rebels’ loss to No. 2 Alabama. https://t.co/HrNZ0WRzlV
— The Rebel Walk (@TheRebelWalk) October 11, 2020
While critics point to the Rebels’ defense, as Ole Miss is giving up 51.67 points per game, Corral will have none of the negative talk about his teammates on that side of the ball.
“Regardless how our defense plays, we (the offense) need to do our job,” Corral said.
As for the job Corral is doing, his head coach is pleased with the signal-caller’s performance thus far this season.
“He’s played lights-out, which is difficult,” Lane Kiffin said after the ‘Bama game. “I don’t know many people would’ve expected that having no spring and in a quarterback competition. It’s not like he’s an established starter in the third year of a system. This is all new for him.”
Corral’s success is no surprise
What is not new for Corral is statistical success. As a high school star at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly, he always put up big numbers. Corral was responsible for over 11,000 yards and 123 touchdowns in his prep career. His college numbers are impressive as well.
Corral leads the nation in total offense, accounting for 407 yards per game. Against Alabama, he threw for 365 and ran for another 54. He leads the nation in ESPN Total QBR, slightly ahead of Tide QB Mac Jones. (Click here for our “QB Film Room” article.)
Corral is also second nationally in passing efficiency at 210.7 and fifth in passing yards per game at 360.
In only three games this season, he is 67-0f-88 for 1,080 yards and nine touchdowns. Corral has also rushed for 141 yards.
Saturday evening when the media attempted to turn the conversation back to the performance of the defense, Corral deftly shifted it back to the Ole Miss offense.
“You can’t have turnovers. We had a fumble and a crucial (one) when we needed to score. We can’t have those little mistakes. Like Coach Kiffin said, a team like that, when you make mistakes, you can’t make many of them. When they make mistakes you need to capitalize on it, and we didn’t do that tonight,” said Corral.
That is exactly how a leader speaks.
Ole Miss is 1-2 as the Rebels head to Fayetteville, Ark., to take on the 1-2 Razorbacks Saturday. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. and the game can be seen on the SEC Network.