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Of all the quarterbacks in Ole Miss football history, Matt Corral is near the top of the list. Chad Kelly, Archie and Eli Manning, Jake Gibbs and Jevan Snead all made their mark on the program, but Corral was just built different.
The former four-star recruit, who is with the Carolina Panthers, led Ole Miss to its first-ever 10-win season in 2021 and etched his name in the history books. However, it took time to get to that point.
Two years prior, in 2019, Corral split time at the position with John Rhys Plumlee— who once ran for 212 yards and four touchdowns on 21 carries against eventual national champions Joe Burrow and the LSU Tigers.
Although Plumlee is the best rushing quarterback in school history, his passing typically left a lot to be desired. Corral was the better overall quarterback, but offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez refused to give him the nod after he was benched early in the season because of an injury.
Rodriguez, most famous for his time as the head coach of West Virginia, runs the spread option offense. Plumlee, being as fast as he is, saw more time in his system while Corral was relegated to the No. 2.
Apparently, though, Corral didn’t always listen to Rodriguez when he was on the field.
During Ole Miss’ Pro Day on Wednesday, wide receiver Jonathan Mingo shared his story of the Egg Bowl against Mississippi in 2019. He spoke to Elijah Moore’s infamous fake dog pee, which was an homage to D.K. Metcalf and set off a chain reaction that changed the entire landscape of college football, but focused on the lead-up to that moment.
Matt Corral ignored Rich Rodriguez.
For the first three and a half quarters of Ole Miss’ game in Starkville, Corral was on the sideline. Plumlee took every snap for the first 52 minutes and 30 seconds.
With 7:30 left in the fourth quarter, head coach Matt Luke turned to Corral to finish the job.
Corral came into the game and the Rebels trailed by a touchdown. And then, with 2:06 remaining, he had to lead the Ole Miss offense 82 yards and into the end zone to have a chance to win. So he did.
What would have been the game-tying drive (if not for the fake dog pee and proceeding events) was highlighted by a deep ball on 4th-and-25. Rodriguez did not call that play.
In fact, the offensive coordinator did not call any of the plays on that drive— which led to something of a screaming match with wide receivers coach Jacob Peeler on the sideline. Corral orchestrated the entire thing on his own.
Rodriguez was not invited to return as offensive coordinator when Lane Kiffin took over shortly after the Egg Bowl loss. Corral went on to become the winningest single-season quarterback at Ole Miss.
Coincidence? Most certainly not!