FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. • Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral survived a quarterback competition with John Rhys Plumlee during preseason camp.
Saturday against Arkansas, he survived a benching while throwing six interceptions.
In a run-dominated offense Plumlee ran for 1,023 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2019. He led the SEC with 113.7 rushing yards per game.
The Arkansas game was the first in which Plumlee took no snaps at quarterback.
He was used in a short-yardage situation last week against Alabama. He has previously lined up at wide receiver and running back though his play count wasn’t high in any of the previous three games.
Corral began the day ranked No. 2 in the nation in pass efficiency with a 210.7 rating.
Against Arkansas he was 20 for 38 for 200 yards with two touchdowns and six interceptions and an efficiency rating of 82.6.
Two of his interceptions were returned for touchdowns.
“We stayed the same because of what (Arkansas) was doing,” Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin said. “I told the same thing to John. I’ve said before I don’t believe you pull quarterbacks quick. It affects confidence and rhythm. The same guy for the last three weeks people have said was one of the best in the country.”
While Arkansas either dropped eight defenders or got pressure to Corral, there were also dropped passes and other issues to complicate things for the Ole Miss offense.
Slot receiver Elijah Moore took a hit to the head early. He was out of the game and being checked for concussion symptoms when receiver Braylon Sanders went in motion and made contact with a shotgun snap that resulted in a Corral fumble at the 1.
Moore returned to the game and finished with 11 catches for 113 yards and a touchdown. He’s had at least 10 catches in every game this season.
The most noticeable absence in the Ole Miss offense was tight end Kenny Yeboah who did not have a catch. He came in with 15, including four touchdowns.
“Coach told me that he had my back, and that’s all a quarterback in my position today can ever ask for,” Corral said.