Lane Kiffin speaks on Matt Corral and the Heisman race

Published 8:55 am Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Matt Corral is having a Heisman-caliber season through seven games, but not a lot of national attention is being paid to the junior quarterback outside of the Vegas oddsmakers.

At the beginning of the season, Corral spoke about not paying attention to any outside chatter of potential accolades he might earn at the end of his 2021 campaign. But following No. 10 Ole Miss’ 31-17 victory over LSU last Saturday, Corral started to acknowledge the conversation is getting a little too loud to completely drown out.

“It’s definitely a blessing, but as the weeks go on it’s hard to ignore,” Corral said post game. “Just me being focused about what I’m doing, sending the message to the team that I’m not worried about that. I’m really not. I’m doing what I’m preaching. I’m worried about getting better tonight when I go to treatment. … It’s just worrying about the little thing, because every little thing matters. Because that’s that going to domino effect into the big things.”

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Corral currently has nearly a 68 percent completion rate (140-of-207) this season for 1,913 yards, 15 touchdowns and one interception. The lone interception came during the Tennessee game on Oct. 16, snapping a stretch of 233 pass attempts without a turnover. Corral has ran for 474 yards and nine touchdowns.

Against LSU, Corral had pedestrian 185 passing yards and a touchdown. He entered last week’s game with a cloud of uncertainty, to some, about his status after suffering an injury against the Volunteers the week prior. Corral played and even rushed for 24 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries a week after carrying the ball 30 times in Knoxville.

When asked about Corral’s Heisman campaign and the apparent national silence, relatively speaking, around it, head coach Lane Kiffin acknowledged it the voting is tough to paint a true picture.

“I’m not being critical but it’s hard for anybody to watch all the games. They play at the same time and all that,” Kiffin said on Monday. “I think a lot of those people read stats, so they don’t know who’s injured, who he’s not playing with, what he has to do, how he has to make plays. That’s just part of it. The thing that usually has to happen is you have to keep winning too, which is sometimes out of his control if we’re not playing good defense or something. There’s a lot of good variables that go into that, that does not necessarily every year make it the best player in college football.”

Vegas Insider currently has Corral projected with the second-best odds in the Heisman race at +250. Alabama quarterback Bryce Young’s is the current projected favorite to hoist up the hardware in New York City at +180 odds.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper has Corral sitting at No. 20 on his latest draft board for the 2022 NFL Draft and the second quarterback projected to be taken behind Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett.

Corral can continue to enhance his stats and force people to pay attention to him when it comes to the Heisman race when the Rebels (6-1, 3-1 SEC) travel to No. 18 Auburn (5-2, 2-1) on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CT on ESPN.