Cody Kessler Named Finalist For Manning Award|
Dec. 3, 2014
USC junior quarterback Cody Kessler has been named one of 11 finalists for the Manning Award, presented to the nation's top quarterback.
Sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl in honor of the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning, the award's winner will be announced after the bowls in January, taking into consideration the candidates' bowl performances.
Joining Kessler as finalists are Ohio State's J.T. Barrett, TCU's Trevone Boykin, Marshall's Rakeem Cato, Colorado State's Garrett Grayson, UCLA's Brett Hundley, Oregon's Marcus Mariota, Baylor's Bryce Petty, Mississippi State's Dak Prescott, Alabama's Blake Sims and Florida State's Jameis Winston.
Kessler, who 3 times this season has been named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week, earlier was named one of five finalists for the Unitas Golden Arm Award, given to the nation's top senior or fourth-year quarterback.
On the year, Kessler has completed 292-of-413 passes (70.7%) for 3,505 yards with 36 TDs and just 4 interceptions. He currently is second nationally in both completion percentage and passing TDs, as well as fourth in passing efficiency (168.8), sixth in points responsible for (19.2), eighth in completions (24.3) and 10th in passing yards (292.1).
His 70.7% completion percentage in 2014 currently is above the USC season record (69.1% by Matt Barkley in 2011). His 168.8 passing efficiency in 2014 currently is above the USC season record (164.6 by Mark Sanchez in 2008). His 0.97 interception rate currently is better than the USC season record (1.34 by Rob Johnson in 1003).
Against Power 5 opponents, Kessler's passing efficiency (161.6) is second best in the nation, his completion percentage (69.9%) is second and his passing TDs (26) is third. No quarterback in the nation has thrown as many passes as Kessler and had only 4 interceptions, and only 1 besides Kessler has thrown at least 30 TDs with just 4 or fewer interceptions. He has thrown just 5 interceptions in his past 17 games. He has thrown 25 touchdowns in the last 6 games.
He already is fourth on Troy's career TD pass list (39), sixth on the career passing chart (530 completions), sixth on the career passing yardage list (6,482) and sixth on the career total offense chart (6,277 yards). He has thrown for at least 300 yards in a game 7 times in his career (6 in 2014, including once for 400 yards) and twice he has done it back-to-back. He has thrown at least 1 TD pass in 22 of his 26 career starts, at least 2 scores 14 times in his career and at least 4 TDs 7 times (6 in 2014).
His current career completion percentage of 68.3% and interception rate of 1.42 are better than 2004 Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart's USC career records (64.8% and 1.85%).
His 36 TD passes in 2014 is tied for third on USC's season ladder, his 292 completions in 2014 is fourth on the USC season list, his 3,505 passing yards is sixth on the USC season list and his 3,356 yards of total offense is sixth on USC's season chart.