Back Corral one of College Football’s Leading Names

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Corral one of College Football’s Leading Names

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Clearly, Matt Corral returns as one of the biggest stars in the game, with the Rebels poised for another step forward.

Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral had a stunning sophomore season, ranking third in the SEC, behind only a pair of Heisman Trophy finalists, in both passing yards per game with 333.7 and touchdowns with 29, and second in the league with 10.2 yards per attempt and 70.9% passing, trailing only the player who just set college football's new single season passer rating record. It was a historic year for Corral in his own right, who is now the leading SEC signal caller, one of the premier players nationally and a likely candidate for top pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

What Corral did really was remarkable: 3,337 passing yards and 29 scores, 506 rushing yards and four more touchdowns on the ground. All for the most productive offense in the SEC at nearly 556 yards per game. He is one of just three Power Five quarterbacks this millennium with at least 3,000 passing yards, 70% completions and 500 rushing yards, joining Robert Griffin III and Colt McCoy.

For players with at least 20 pass attempts, there were ten games last season where quarterbacks compiled a passer rating of 250 or higher; Corral had two of them. Incredibly, he completed 31-of-34 passes for 412 yards and six touchdowns in a win over Vanderbilt. Corral, for an encore performance, went 28-of-32 for 513 yards and five total scores in a victory over South Carolina in his very next game. Both showcases were among the most proficient efforts in recent college football history, with ten total passing touchdowns compared to seven total incompletions in those two outings. 

Milestones, a year ago, were many. There was Corral's 395 passing yards against Florida, his 365 more versus Alabama and 342 against Indiana in the TaxSlayer Bowl. Facing those three top ten foes, Corral completed over 70% of his throws for 1,102 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception. The 48 points scored on the Crimson Tide were the most all season. Corral threw for 385 yards in an Egg Bowl win. Even in a turnover-filled game against defending national champion LSU, he ran for 158 yards, compiled over 400 and scored four times.

The postseason saw Corral throw a game-wining touchdown pass to Dontario Drummond with just over four minutes remaining. Those late game heroics were nothing new as Corral found Elijah Moore on a game-winning touchdown pass in a one-point overtime triumph at Kentucky in the first road game of the year. Statistically, Corral was at his best in the third and fourth quarters. Ole Miss was unstoppable offensively and never out of a game. 

In all, Corral finished the season 5th nationally in passing yards per game and completion percentage, 7th in touchdown passes and yards per attempt and 9th in passer rating. He also helped Ole Miss win four out of five to end the year, the bowl game triumph in Jacksonville included.   

Clearly, Corral returns as one of the biggest stars in the game, with the Rebels poised for another step forward. His rhythm with head coach Lane Kiffin and offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby has come at a record-setting pace. Corral, with a number of marks within his reach, should be considered one of the Heisman Trophy favorites for 2021. He is one of the names to know ahead of this upcoming college football season. The NFL has his full attention.

Corral was one of the nation's best players a season ago. With that momentum, he is ready for more.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports