College Football

Matt Corral injured, Bears hold off Rebels

Photo via Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

The 2022 Sugar Bowl between the Baylor Bears and the Ole Miss Rebels was set to be a great college football game. And then every Ole Miss fan had to see the headline “Matt Corral injured”. The projected first round quarterback suffered a right leg injury with 2:13 to go in the first quarter. While many different NFL-bound players opted out of their bowl games, Corral wanted to play with his teammates. Despite a great effort from the Rebel’s defense, the Corral-less offense failed to get much going. The Bears held off the Rebels 21-7.

Key Moments of the First Half

With 2:13 to go in the first quarter, the Baylor Bears brought pressure on 3rd and 20. Defensive tackle Cole Maxwell got home with pressure and sacked quarterback Matt Corral. Unfortanetly, on the same play Corral’s leg got caught under Maxwell’s body. After being evaluated by the training staff Corral returned to the sideline of crutches.

Ole Miss’ next drive was led by backup quarterback Luke Altmyer. Altmyer was able to lead the Rebels all the way down to the Baylor 12 yard line. Faced with a 3rd and 7, Altmyer through an out-breaking route. The route was jumped by defensive back Al Walcott. Walcott ran back the interception all the way to the endzone to put Baylor up 7-0.

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Key Moments of the Second Half

Following the pick six by Walcott, the Bears and Rebels exchanged 8 punts (excluding the end of the half). With little working for the Rebels’ offense, Altmyer through a deep pass. After some hesitation, Ole Miss was awarded a 15 yard pass interference. Thanks to some good runs by running back Snoop Conner, Ole Miss was faced with a 3rd and 1. Head coach Lane Kiffin dialed up a deep pass that was caught for a touchdown by wide receiver Braylon Sanders. This score tied the game at 7-7.

Despite their defense playing well, Baylor struggled to throw the ball all game. With Ole Miss beginning to load the box with more and more defenders, Baylor needed to change up the play calling. Clearly Baylor realized this as they ran a jet sweep to wide receiver Monaray Baldwin. Not only was Baldwin able to make defenders miss, but he also was able to find his way into the endzone. This score put the Bears up 14-7.

Following a Baylor touchdown, Ole Miss needed to respond with points of their own. Especially without star quarterback Matt Corral, this was easier said than done. After two negative plays, Ole Miss needed to convert on 3rd and 17. Despite being given time, Ole Miss was intercepted again. Not only was Ole Miss intercepted again, but JT Woods also returned the ball to the Rebel 15 yard line. Along with an interception, Baylor was able to score a touchdown 5 plays later to take a commanding 21-7 lead.

Key Players

Abram Smith: Baylor needed production out of running back Abram Smith in order to win. Obviously Smith understood this assignment as he rushed for his second highest total of the season. His 172 yards rushing on 25 carries were able to ice away the game for the Bears.

JT Woods: While Al Walcott did have a pick 6, JT Woods play was absolutely incredible all day. Not only did Woods cover wide receivers like a blanket, he also had 2 interceptions. His final pick was the game sealing one that clinched a Sugar Bowl victory for the Bears.

Final Thoughts

Baylor was able to cap off what was arguably their best season in school history. Not only did Baylor win the Allstate Sugar Bowl, but they also won a Big 12 title. Despite going just 2-7 the previous season, head coach Dave Aranda was able to lead the Bears to a school record 12 wins. Be that as it may, Aranda has his sights on more for the 2022-23 season.

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  1. Pingback: Chase's Historic Day Helps Bengals Upset Chiefs - Championship Sports Media

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