Kessler threw for 187 yards and a touchdown, running in another in the loss.
Justin Davis rushed for 130 yards for the Trojans, while Ronald Jones II became the top freshman rusher in USC history.
Cody Kessler completed 30 of 41 passes for 248 yards and two scores for USC.
Ronald Jones II, Justin Davis and Soma Vainuku rushed for scores
USC wins 42-14
2016 Senior Bowl
Dec. 30, 2015
USC falls to Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship, on December 5, 2015.
NCAA Football: USC faces UCLA in rivalry match at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
NCAA Football: USC squares off against Oregon at Autzen Stadium.
CAREER: He has completed 553-of-815 passes (67.9%) for 6,803 yards with 59 TDs and just 12 interceptions in his career. He is fourth on Troy’s career TD pass list (59) and sixth on the career passing chart (553 completions), the career passing yardage list (6,803) and the career total offense chart (6,527 yards). He has thrown for at least 300 yards in a game 8 times in his career (including once for 400 yards) and 3 times he has done it back-to-back. He has thrown at least 1 TD pass in 23 of his 27 career starts, at least 2 scores 15 times in his career and at least 4 TDs 7 times. He has thrown just 6 interceptions in his past 18 games. He has thrown 28 touchdowns in the last 7 games. His current career completion percentage of 67.9% and interception rate of 1.47 are better than 2004 Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart’s USC career records (64.8% and 1.85%). He also has 3 rushing touchdowns. He also has 7 pooch punts for a 33.0 average in his career.
2015: Heisman Trophy and All-American candidate Kessler, a senior who is the nation’s most accomplished quarterback in 2015 after having the most efficient passing season in USC history, returns for his third season as the starter.
2014: Kessler had a record-setting season in his second year as the starting quarterback as a junior in 2014. Overall in 2014 while starting all 13 games, he completed 315-of-452 passes (69.7%) for 3,826 yards with 39 TDs and just 5 interceptions, plus he had 2 rushing TDs and averaged 33.0 yards on 7 pooch punts.
He made 2014 All-Pac-12 honorable mention, as well as the Phil Steele All-Pac-12 third team and CollegeSportsMadness.com All-Pac-12 third team. He was one of 11 finalists for the Manning Award (top quarterback) and one of 5 finalists for the Unitas Golden Arm Award (top senior/fourth-year quarterback). He won USC's Trojan Way Leadership Award and Player of the Notre Dame Game Award. He was third nationally in completion percentage (69.7%, first in Pac-12), fourth in both passing efficiency (167.1, second in Pac-12) and passing TDs (39, second in Pac-12), eighth in both points responsible for (19.1, third in Pac-12) and in completions (24.3, fourth in Pac-12), 12th in passing yards (294.3, fourth in Pac-12) and 24th in total offense (282.6, sixth in Pac-12).
In 2014, he set USC season records for completions (315), completion percentage (69.7), passing efficiency (167.1) and interception rate (1.11) and tied USC season marks for TD passes (39) and 300-yard passing games (7). His 39 TDs tied for second on the Pac-12 list. Against Power 5 opponents, his passing efficiency (160.2) was third best in the nation, his completion percentage (68.8%) was second and his passing TDs (29) was second. No quarterback in the nation threw as many passes as Kessler and had only 5 interceptions, and only 1 besides Kessler threw at least 35 TDs with just 5 or fewer interceptions. None of his first 190 passes in 2014 were intercepted (he had a streak of 195 extending to 2013) and only 5 of his 452 throws in 2014 were picked off. He threw 28 touchdowns in the last 7 games. He threw for at least 300 yards in a game 7 times in 2014, including once for 400 yards, and twice did so back-to-back. He threw at least 4 TDs 6 times in 2014. His 3,826 passing yards was second on the USC season list and his 3,674 yards of total offense was third on USC's season chart.
He threw for a career-high 394 yards versus Fresno State while hitting 25-of-37 passes with 4 TDs (all tying career bests) and he also opened the game's scoring with a 1-yard sneak as part of his 28 rushing yards (in the first half, he threw for 309 yards on 21-of-30 passing) to earn Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honors. He hit 15-of-22 passes for 135 yards at Stanford, then was 31-of-41 (both career highs) for 317 yards with 4 TDs at Boston College. He completed 75% of his passes (24-of-32) for 261 yards with 2 TDs (including a 48-yard Hail Mary at the halftime gun) and no interceptions against an Oregon State defense that was leading the nation in pass efficiency defense (holding opposing quarterbacks to 42.3% completions and not allowing a passing TD). He was 28-of-45 (a career high attempts) for 273 yards against Arizona State and he also had an 8-yard rushing TD and averaged 33.8 yards on 4 pooch punts. He completed 20-of-30 passes for 185 yards and a TD at Arizona, but threw his first interception to snap a string of 190 straight passes without a pick in 2014 (and 195 dating to 2013). His 7 TD passes against Colorado set a USC game record and tied a Pac-12 regulation game record and his 5 TDs in the first half tied a USC mark (he had 4 TD tosses in the first quarter) as he averaged a TD pass every 2.7 completions and 3.7 attempts (he was 19-of-26 in the game for 319 yards with no picks, all in 3 quarters of play) to earn Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week, Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week, College Football Performance Awards National Performer of the Week and National Quarterback of the Week and College Sports Madness National and Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honors. He completed 75% of his passes (24-of-32) at Utah for 264 yards and 2 TDs with 1 interception. He threw for a career-best 400 yards with 5 TDs (including a career-long 87-yarder) on 21-of-32 passes and also had a 23-yard punt at Washington State to earn College Sports Madness Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honors. He hit 73.8% of his aerials (31-of-42, a career-tying best for completions) for 371 yards and 4 TDs against California, his second consecutive 300-yard outing. He was 22-of-34 for 214 yards with a TD and an interception at UCLA and he also had a 38-yard punt. Against Notre Dame, he threw an Irish opponent record 6 touchdown passes while hitting 80% of his passes, completing a career-best 32 on 40 attempts (including 16 consecutive at one point) for 372 yards and no interceptions (his 5 scoring TDs in the first half tied a USC record and were the most ever thrown in a half against Notre Dame) and he also had a 35-yard punt to earn Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week and College Sports Madness Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honors. Against Nebraska, he was the Holiday Bowl Offensive MVP as he completed 23-of-39 passes for 321 yards with 3 TDs and an interception.
2013: Kessler started all season at quarterback as a sophomore in 2013 and showed considerable progress. Overall in 2013 while starting all 14 games, he was 236-of-361 passing (65.4%) for 2,968 yards with 20 TDs and 7 interceptions, plus he had 1 rushing TD. He was named the starter after sharing the job for USC's first 2 games of 2013 with Max Wittek. He hit 70.8% of his passes (114-of-161) in the last 6 games with 11 TDs and just 2 interceptions. He is 10th on USC's season passing list (236 completions) and 13th on USC's season total offense chart (2,844 yards). He made 2013 CollegeFootballNews.com Sophomore All-American honorable mention. He made 2013 All-Pac-12 honorable mention. He won USC's Bob Chandler Award (athletics/academics/character).
He made his first career start and was 10-of-19 for 95 yards with a TD and an interception at Hawaii while playing through the first series of the second half. He started against Washington State and was 8-of-13 for 41 yards with an interception while playing the first half and he also had a 4-yard scoring bootleg run. He started against Boston College and completed 15-of-17 passes (88.2%) for 237 yards and 2 TDs (with an 80-yarder), hitting 14 consecutive passes at one point, while playing until early in the fourth quarter. He completed 13-of-26 passes for 164 yards, with a 30-yard TD, against Utah State. He was 20-of-29 for 295 yards with 2 TDs and 2 interceptions at Arizona State. He was 15-of-30 for a career-high 297 yards with 2 long TDs (62 and 63 yards) against Arizona. He was 20-of-34 for 201 yards with an interception at Notre Dame. He was 21-of-32 (a season best for completions) for 230 yards with a 30-yard TD pass against Utah. He hit 81.0% of his passes (17-of-21) for 247 yards with a TD (71 yards) and an interception at Oregon State. He hit 82.3% of his passes (14-of-17) for 170 yards and 2 TDs (12 and 57 yards) at California while playing until midway through the third quarter. He was 25-of-37 (67.6%), a season best for completions and attempts, for 288 yards with a short TD toss against Stanford to earn Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honors. He was 19-of-28 for 184 yards with a pair of TDs (20 and 10 yards) in 3 quarters of work at Colorado. He was 17-of-28 for 174 yards with a 22-yard TD against UCLA. He threw a career-best and Las Vegas Bowl-record 4 touchdowns while hitting 73.3% of his passes (22-of-30) for a career-best 345 yards against Fresno State to win Las Vegas Bowl MVP honors.
2012: Kessler was a backup quarterback as a redshirt freshman in 2012 and also was the holder on all placekicks (beginning with the Utah game). Overall in 2012 while appearing in 10 games (all but Syracuse, Stanford, California), he was 2-of-2 (100.0%) for 9 yards. In his only 2 games seeing action at quarterback, he took the game's final snap against Hawaii and hit both of his passes for 9 yards late in the Colorado game.
2011: Kessler, who enrolled at USC in the spring of 2011 after graduating a semester early from high school, redshirted as a freshman quarterback in 2011, his first year at USC. He served as the backup quarterback.
HIGH SCHOOL: His 2010 honors included Super Prep All-American, Prep Star All-American, U.S. Army All-American, USA Today All-USA second team, Rivals 100, Prep Star Dream Team, Super Prep All-Farwest, Prep Star All-West, Orange County Register Fab 15 second team, Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first team, Tacoma News Tribune Western 100, Gatorade California Player of the Year, Cal-Hi Sports All-State first team, Max Preps All-State Division I first team, Bakersfield California All-Bakersfield Player of the Year and All-Yosemite League Offensive MVP as a senior quarterback at Centennial High in Bakersfield (Calif.). He completed 175-of-251 (69.7%) of his passes for 2,831 yards and 36 TDs with just 2 interceptions in 2010 and rushed for 324 yards on 75 carries (4.3 avg.) with 8 TDs. He also averaged 36.4 yards on 32 punts in 2010, with a 13 pinning opponents within the 20-yard line and a long of 60 yards. Centennial was 10-2 in 2010.
As a 2009 junior, he was named Cal-Hi Sports All-State Underclass first team and Bakersfield Californian Area Player of the Year as he completed 188-of-312 passes (60.3%) for 2,195 yards with 14 TDs and 6 interceptions and also ran for 12 TDs. Centennial was the 2009 CIF Central Section runnerup.
As a sophomore in 2008, he completed 133-of-288 passes (63.6%) for 1,878 yards with 10 TDs and 7 interceptions and he also ran for 373 yards with 13 TDs.
He also played basketball at Centennial, where he averaged 29.5 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists and was named the Bakersfield Area Player of the Year (becoming the first player to be so honored in both football and basketball).
PERSONAL:He is a sociology major at USC and he is also working towards a master’s degree in communication management. He and 15 of his USC teammates spent 5 days in Haiti in the spring of 2012 building homes and assisting those in need.
GAME-BY-GAME WITH CODY KESSLER
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT CODY KESSLER
Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times: "Cody Kessler has stepped strongly and squarely into the role of The Next Great USC Quarterback...He is living it, unleashing his best for the biggest of national moments, just as former Trojan stars Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer did during their Heisman Trophy-winning seasons."
Matt Leinart, USC's 2004 Heisman Trophy quarterback: "(His performance in the 2014 Notre Dame game) makes him a pre-season Heisman Trophy candidate for 2015. His stats are amazing and he's just getting better and better."
USC head coach Steve Sarkisian: "At some point, people are going to recognize him. Those are some ridiculous numbers he is putting up...He can make and see things extremely well and make decisive decisions quickly. I think that comes from his basketball experience, playing point guard, having him make those types of decisions. For us, that's vitally important. He has really quick hands and throws accurately."
Jim Mora, UCLA head coach: "He's very, very impressive. He can extend plays and throws with tremendous accuracy. Makes all the throws you need to make. He's a big-time player."
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame head coach: "His efficiency is outstanding. He's smart and he plays well within the offense. On merit, his numbers stand up with all the quarterbacks in the country."
Sonny Dykes, California head coach: "Kessler is really doing a nice job executing that offense and taking care of the ball and not making mistakes."
Matt Hinton, Grantland ESPN.com: "When Kessler heats up, opposing secondaries go up in flames very, very quickly...Even more impressive than the big plays may be the almost suspicious absence of bad plays."
Lindsay Schnell, SI.com: “In a sport loaded with too-serious 21-year-olds who treat football like a job, Kessler is a big kid, interjecting hearty laughs into every conversation and covering his mouth to hide giggles. It’s part of why teammates rally around him. He plays with a freedom that allows him to thrive, not crumble, on one of college football’s biggest stages.”
Kevin Ryan, 247 Sports: "A USC quarterback with Kessler’s numbers on a highly ranked team will warrant a lot of Heisman consideration.”
Steve Bisheff, ESPN.com: “What is most impressive about the gritty quarterback is his penchant for avoiding turnovers. This kid throws interceptions about as often as Madison Bumgarner gives up runs. He treats the football as if it were some sort of precious gem, and that is a great trait to have in a quarterback at any level.”
USC CAREER PASSING LEADERS
(Based on Number of Completions -- Includes Bowl Games)
USC CAREER TOTAL OFFENSE LEADERS
(Includes Bowl Games)