January 2, 2021
Tampa, Florida, USA
Raymond James Stadium
Ole Miss Rebels
Ole Miss 26, Indiana 20
Q. Matt, when you realized that you're going to win this game, what were the emotions going through your head at that point when you've worked so hard for a win like this and you finally get it?
MATT CORRAL: You know, I was very excited. A lot of people stepped up, not only on the defensive side but offensive-wise, too, from the slots to the tight ends. They're playing a lot. We had maybe five receivers, six receivers that were in rotation, probably four, and they sucked it up. They were tired, they were hurting, but so was Indiana, and I think that's just what kept them going, just knowing that they're not the only ones tired. They really pushed through and just trusted the coaching and really just got their confidence within a week. JR was out there in the slot for a week and then he's out there just the third play of the game against a Division I defense. So just hats off to those guys, really stepping up.
Q. How do you feel like your game matured throughout this season?
MATT CORRAL: Really just not being surprised by anything. Being better at reacting to what's happening instead of just thinking about what's happening, and just taking what they give you. You have a bad game; it is what it is, learn from it, go on to the next. Knowing that my teammates got my back, my coaches got my back, I can't lose.
Q. Can you contrast what you're feeling today versus what you were feeling when last season ended, not only for the team but you as an individual as you're widely considered to be one of the top quarterbacks returning in the college game going into next year?
MATT CORRAL: You know, it's a blessing to get the accolades or just to be in that conversation. But really it's going to come down to 2021 Ole Miss football dot-dot-dot. Again, and just like this year was 2020 dot-dot-dot, how do you guys want to be remembered, what type of team do you guys want to be known as, and it starts January 18th when we come back and get ready to work.
Q. You were named Outback Bowl MVP, and you're coming off a game that was really tough and against a team that was one of the best interception teams in the country. What was this game like for you as far as management and what were you seeing out there to have a more controlled game?
MATT CORRAL: You know, they were bringing the same thing every single time. They do bring a lot of pressure. They do a really good job of disguising it, and they're very well-coached. But I mean, we didn't know what they were doing every single time, but the majority of the time we did know who was plugging, who was coming from the -- like they were either bringing a corner cat or the Mike or boundary backers plugging or you get the field fist. Based an what type of blitz it was, you would know what coverage it is, and our coaches did a heck of a job.
Hats off to Lebby. Just really -- I don't know, something happened with his family, and he could have easily just left this game, and we all would have understood, but he didn't want to leave us. We're really thankful for him.
Q. This is kind of a strange follow-up, but John Rhys Plumlee as a wide receiver, what's your evaluation of him when you saw him running routes?
MATT CORRAL: I trusted John just because he's a quarterback, and he thinks like one, as well. Just because he's at receiver doesn't mean he's not thinking like I am. He knew what I was looking for. He knew he was in the right spots and went at the right spots at the right time. He held his own for sure, and he's only going to get better. It's really only up for him because I know he's a hard worker and I know when it's a want-to, JR is going to do it.
Q. So many times this year you guys have had the ball late with the lead or with the score tied and it didn't go your way. What was different with this last drive this time?
MATT CORRAL: The difference was that the defense stepped up and they made the stop. The defense won us that game. It's plain as simple. They finished it for us. We didn't need to go out on the field again. We did, but we just needed to take a knee, and that's the easiest play in football.
Q. It seemed like after the game you tried to high-five every single person in the stands, every single person on the field. What did it mean to you to get to be the leader and kind of celebrate this one?
MATT CORRAL: It meant a lot. You know, God is good for putting me in this position and putting me on this type of platform that I have. My family was here. A lot of my family was here, and I'm very thankful that they got to make this game.
First thing I thought about for one is where's Lebby. It was an emotional after the game, but it was good emotion. It was happy. It was happy tears. I've never felt this type of relationship on a team before, ever in my entire life.
Q. Coach Kiffin gets a contract extension, you win a bowl game in kind of dramatic fashion, the defense rises up at the end. What kind of excitement does that provide for you guys going into next year?
MATT CORRAL: You know, it's really only up from here. We know what we have to do. We know what to get better at from this season 100 percent, and it's just going to come down to working and how bad you want it. The coaches are going to give us everything, the tools we need and the guidelines to get to where we want to get to. It's going to come down to us and how hard we want to work and how badly we want it. Not only my leadership, but every leader in every room, every position room is going to step up, and I will make sure of that.
Q. Casey Kelly might have surprised a few folks today with the impact he had, six catches I think in the first half, some key blocks thrown. What have you seen from him in practice, and what was your take on how reliable of a target he was for you today?
MATT CORRAL: Casey is a hard worker. He shows it. Always asking questions, always locked in, not a big -- doesn't mess around a lot, really. He's really -- he's a serious person. I trusted him just based on how he prepares for a game and just in practice, always asking me questions on certain routes and what am I looking at, and I just know that he's always locked in, and I know that he's a hard worker, so that really helped with the trust out there. I couldn't think about if I could trust him or not; I was just going to give him a shot and let them play. That went for 17, that went for 5 and 81 out there today.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about what that Outback Bowl MVP means to you personally?
MATT CORRAL: You know, it means a lot. I wouldn't have done this without the guys stepping up. They started -- they were a little discouraged after a few drops, and the O-line, a few loafs here and there, but I wasn't perfect at all, and I told them that. I told them that I need them to be -- I need them to execute for us to win. I need them to win the route. I need them to win that play for us to win, and I told them that. "You four are the only ones I've got." I looked them in the eye and I said, "You guys are the only ones I've got." I need you guys to make this happen for me, for us, and that was the conversation. They looked back at me, and they said, "Matt, I've got you." All four of them did.
Q. Talk about the quick pace that you guys played with. It seemed to catch IU off balance.
MATT CORRAL: I mean, that's just our philosophy, moving the ball -- moving fast, snapping the ball really fast and getting them tired, getting them winded. Around the first series you could tell they were getting tired, and it showed with all the injuries, I guess, falling on the floor and then trying to get a break.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports