Perhaps Saturday’s matchup between #18 Auburn football and #10 Ole Miss at Jordan-Hare Stadium holds the most stakes for a non-Tiger.
Unlike usual, Bo Nix isn’t the one with the most weight on his shoulders this weekend in the SEC West.
Instead, that would be Rebels QB Matt Corral, who holds the weight of an entire program on his shoulders.
It’s not hyperbole to say that this is the most important season since the days of Eli Manning gracing the Grove. For the first time since the younger Manning brother, Ole Miss has a Heisman caliber quarterback.
Manning had the talent to win it, but ultimately never did, finishing third in the voting behind Larry Fitzgerald and winner Jason White in 2003. That was the closest he got to college football’s highest honor.
Corral has the talent and a legitimate shot at becoming the first Ole Miss representative to hoist the Heisman trophy in New York City because of the monster year he is having, which include just over 2,000 all-purpose yards, 24 touchdowns (passing and rushing) and just one interception through seven games.
So you have being the torch-bearer for a Rebels fanbase that has never seen an individual talent quite like Corral, who’s a threat all over the field in a way Eli Manning could only dream. Then you also have the fact that the success of 2021 Ole Miss could determine the results of future recruiting efforts for the school.
If Corral has individual success but lacks team accolades, perhaps that could make the decision to leave easier for head coach Lane Kiffin, who as ESPN 105.9 Mississippi radio host Bo Bounds says, may have only stuck around this year because of Corral and the team around him at the moment (transcript via Saturday Down South):
…17 starters, losing Corral — all he talks about is how special Corral is.
“And I think he’s made a great play — I’m talking about Lane — in that he has really talked to the fan base the last 5 or 6 weeks and he has expressed and let them know, ‘Hey, this guy’s special, and don’t take this for granted. Because this type of player just doesn’t come along.’
This type of player doesn’t just come along. Bounds isn’t out of bounds in making such a statement.
Corral holds the keys to the future of the Ole Miss football program in his hands, and you best believe that Auburn football will do everything possible to knock them, and the football, out of them this Saturday night.