QB Film Room: Ole Miss 43, Louisville 24
OXFORD, Miss. — Here we go with our first “QB1 Film Room” for 2021, and it begins with a bang as Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral and the Rebels defeated Louisville, 43-24, Monday night in Atlanta at Mercedes Benz Stadium.
Corral finished 22-of-32 for 281 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 55 yards and one touchdown. He completed passes to eight different receivers, with Dontario Drummond leading the way with nine receptions for 177 yards and one score.
Let’s start out with the pregame segment of ESPN’s GameDay where Lee Corso makes his declaration that quarterback Matt Corral will win this season’s Heisman Trophy. (Those who have followed the QB1 Film Room know that we’ve been on Corral for far, far longer than Corso.)
QB1 Film Room: Ole Miss vs. Louisville
Here we go at the 5 yard line to begin the 2021 season, and as I sat in the stands in Atlanta, I said to my friend, “Well, we may as well open with a 95-yard touchdown drive,” and I meant it.
On the first play, the Louisville DB covering Dontario Drummond, who is the second receiver from the top, inexplicably bites on the run fake and the throw is dead on the money. It’s a 25-yard completion and this potentially historic season is underway.
This is the first third-down play of the season and the Rebels convert. Already, the Cardinals’ defense appears disorganized and as the receivers head down into the secondary, Jerrion Ealy slips out of the backfield for the check-down throw and a drive-sustaining first down.
This is a pass play to Jerrion that’s identical to the play in the Outback Bowl to John Rhys Plumlee that got the Rebs down close for the winning touchdown. It’s very well executed with Jerrion coming out of the backfield, his presence camouflaged by the motion and wide receiver routes surrounding him.
Here’s something not seen in college football since the 20th Century — the Power I. Running it is almost like cheating in short yardage and goal line situations. The Cardinals are thinking here, “These sorry dogs have thought of everything.” At FB is 230 pound linebacker Mark Robinson and No. 83 is TE Chase Rogers at the Power back. They’re running what I call “Blast at 6” and it serves its purpose with the score by Ealy.
Many times as we learn what’s going on with a play, we begin to believe it’s easy to execute. I never want to leave anyone with that impression, but you won’t think that about this one.
This next pass by Matt goes through the tightest of slots where there’s zero room for miscalculation, tempting disaster to go big. Again, the defender he’s keying steps up for the handoff. Matt reads it and disconnects the ball, then throws with high velocity the perfect pass that creates a big play for the dazzling Drummond and the Ole Miss offense.
Here’s another nicely designed pass play from a one-back tight end set, with twins (two wide receivers) to the right. Matt motions Braylon Sanders to the second receiver slot and snaps the ball. The right guard pulls to block the play-side DE and the tight end stays in to block. Matt finds Braylon on a deep crossing route, beautifully executed.
Here’s a quick break in live action for some commentary by the always excellent Kirk Herbstreit.
Folks, here we have either an outstanding read of the defensive end by the quarterback on the handoff key, or an excellent fake with the long ride before running the naked bootleg to the right. Either way, we’re not telling. Let’s just say this: Matt’s quick.
You want to give us some space? Scared of the deep ball? How about we fake the run to the right and hit Mingo on a 3-step stop route? Then watch him force a missed tackle and almost take it to the house. We’ll take that.
Here’s another well-thrown ball good for close to 25 yards. The Rebels line up in Twins to their left. Drummond is the second receiver and you’ll see him widen and turn up the field, a route commonly known as the “wheel” route. (I always thought it was a “rail” route in high school, but that may have been because of our Cajun accent.) Notice how Matt squeezes the ball in between two defenders playing Cover 2 a considerable distance downfield.
We’ve got a really nice throw and catch just before halftime to set up a field goal here. Drummond runs a deep turnout patten against soft coverage. What’s really noticeable is the timing, with the ball’s arrival within an instant of the receiver making his break. It takes a ton of work.
Here’s a play you’ll recognize from earlier in the game with a little twist. It’s the one to Ealy out of the backfield but this time the Rebs fake the jet sweep. We see another beautiful throw that’s right on the money. Rarely do we see a receiver break stride running down one of Matt’s throws.
4th and 6, no sweat. Against a heavy rush, Matt finds Drummond on the quick slant to his right, easily getting the first down.
This one didn’t count and the only reason it didn’t is because the double-team block on the nose tackle was so powerful, he got driven back 10 yards. Regardless, it’s a heads-up play by the quarterback and Ealy in a literal run-pass option for the QB.
Here we’re back in the one-back tight end set with two receivers wide left and Braylon Sanders the single receiver to the right. We have maximum protection and it’s perfect timing for it. Braylon’s guy slips down and when he regains his feet, he collisions with Braylon, disrupting his route. Matt quickly redirects his attention to the middle of the field and to the night’s No. 1 target. Dontario makes another nice grab just before the end of the 3rd quarter.
This one’s like stealing. We’ll send Drummond in motion to the right, fake the run away from him, then set up the receiver screen back to him with an excellent block leading the way by Sanders.
Snoop. OUR brand of football.
Midway through the 4th quarter with a 19-point lead, and we’re still playing football. Here, the Rebs overload the right side, then pull their tight end around the left corner and it’s QB rollout all the way. I was impressed by the quickness and the toughness of our quarterback here. Kind of old-schoolish.
The final play is reminiscent of the across-the-formation routes Evan Engram once ran here. This time it’s Drummond going across the ball into the left flat for the easy six, completing yet another outstanding drive.
Ole Miss hosts Austin Peay Saturday at the Vaught. We’ll have your QB1 Film Room next week, so stay tuned!