Monday huddle: Did Malik Willis hurt his draft stock in loss at Ole Miss?

Willis throws 3 interceptions in front of 16 NFL teams at Ole Miss

Liberty quarterback Malik Willis (7) is tackled for a loss by Mississippi defensive lineman Sam Williams (7) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) (Rogelio V. Solis, Copyright 2021. The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Huddle up! Here’s a look back at this weekend on the gridiron, with three key takeaways from the state’s football scene.

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Top NFL quarterback prospects go head-to-head.

The matchup certainly lived up to the hype in terms of NFL scouts in the press box.

Representatives from 16 NFL teams, including Washington Football Team general manager Martin Mayhew, were on hand at Ole Miss on Saturday to watch the two top quarterback prospects in next spring’s NFL Draft, Liberty’s Malik Willis and Matt Corral of Ole Miss, perform on the same field.

Corral and Ole Miss ended up prevailing, 27-14, but the real question is whether one of the prospects distinguished himself more than the other.

Of course, scouts won’t fully reveal what they saw, but judging by the stats, Corral had the much better day.

Corral went 20-of-27 passing for 324 yards and a touchdown, while Willis went 16-of-25 for 173 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions.

In fairness, Willis was going up against a much better defense in Ole Miss.

The Rebels sacked Willis seven times in the first half alone and nine times for the game, so Willis was running from pressure throughout the game.

But given it was going up against better competition than Liberty normally sees on its schedule, the coming months will determine whether Willis hurt or helped his stock.

A great opportunity for the Cavaliers.

After a bye week, Virginia will have quite an opportunity to make a statement in the national spotlight this week when it hosts No. 7 Notre Dame in a 7:30 p.m. contest Saturday.

The Cavaliers are already bowl-eligible at 6-3, but have never beaten Notre Dame in three previous meetings.

The only other time Notre Dame played in Charlottesville was in 2015, when the Fighting Irish earned a 34-27 win.

The big question for Virginia is the status of quarterback Brennan Armstrong, who is the nation’s leading passer with 3,557 yards.

Armstrong suffered a rib injury in Virginia’s last game at BYU and had to leave in the fourth quarter.

His status is unclear, but even if he does play, how well he can function with banged-up ribs is another issue.

Burmeister suffers injury for Hokies in an ugly loss.

Virginia isn’t the only state school dealing with an injury to its starting quarterback.

Virginia Tech quarterback Braxton Burmeister suffered an upper-body injury during Saturday’s game at Boston College and didn’t return.

The offense for the Hokies has often struggled this year with Burmeister, and without him, it completely sputtered in a 17-3 loss.

Unless Burmeister can make a quick recovery, the injury might seal the fate of head coach Justin Fuente, who has been on the hot seat.

The Hokies are 4-5 entering a home game against Duke on Saturday, and with games at Miami and Virginia to end the season, bowl eligibility is in major doubt.

About the Author

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.

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