Cody Kessler Named Finalist For Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award

    Cody Kessler
    Nov. 10, 2014

    USC quarterback Cody Kessler has been named one of five finalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, presented to the nation's top senior or fourth-year junior quarterback.

    The winner will be announced on Dec. 8 and the award will be presented at a ceremony on Dec. 12 in Baltimore, Md. The award is presented by the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation and Transamerica.

    Joining Kessler as finalists are UCLA's Brett Hundley, Oregon's Marcus Mariota, Baylor's Bryce Petty and Mississippi State's Dak Prescott.

    USC has had three winners of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award: Rodney Peete in 1988, Carson Palmer in 2002 and Matt Leinart in 2005.

    Kessler has completed 207-of-297 passes (69.7%) for 2,548 yards with 25 TDs and just 2 interceptions in 2014. He currently is fourth nationally in both passing efficiency (168.2) and completion percentage (69.7%), eighth in passing TDs (25), 11th in points responsible for (16.5), 15th in completions (23.0) and 19th in passing yards (283.1).

    His 69.7% completion percentage in 2014 currently is above the USC season record (69.1% by Matt Barkley in 2011). His 168.2 passing efficiency in 2014 currently is above the USC season record (164.6 by Mark Sanchez in 2008). His 0.67 interception rate currently is better than the USC season record (1.34 by Rob Johnson in 1003).

    Against Power 5 opponents, his passing efficiency (164.7) is second best in the nation, his completion percentage (70.0%) is third and his passing TDs (21) is fourth. No quarterback in the nation has thrown as many passes as Kessler and had only 2 interceptions, and only 1 besides Kessler has thrown at least 25 TDs with just 2 interceptions. None of his first 190 passes in 2014 were intercepted (he had a streak of 195 extending to 2013) and only 2 of his 297 throws in 2014 have been picked off. He has thrown just 3 interceptions in his past 14 games. He has thrown 14 touchdowns in the last 3 games.



    He already is seventh on Troy's career passing chart (445 completions), seventh on the career passing yardage list (5,525) and eighth on the career total offense chart (5,381 yards). He has thrown for at least 300 yards in a game 5 times in his career (4 in 2014, including once for 400 yards). He has thrown at least 1 TD pass in 19 of his 23 career starts and at least 2 scores 12 times in his career. His current career completion percentage of 67.4% and interception rate of 1.37 are better than 2004 Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart's USC career marks (64.8% and 1.85%).

    His 7 TD passes versus Colorado in 2014 was a USC game record, as well as tied a Pac-12 regulation game record.