Matt Leinart Named A Semifinalist For The Davey O'Brien Award

Nov. 13, 2003

Sophomore Matt Leinart has been named 1 of 10 semifinalists for the Davey O'Brien Award, given to the nation's top collegiate quarterback.

Leinart had big shoes to fill replacing Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer. But with Leinart--who had never thrown a pass at USC before this year--in control, the Trojans have had little (if any) dropoff in passing production. He stats are similar to Palmer's at this stage last year. In fact, Leinart is even showing up in various media Heisman Trophy contender projections.

He has completed 165-of-268 passes (61.6%) for 2,366 yards with 24 TDs and just 7 interceptions in 2003. In his last 5 games (Arizona State, Stanford, Notre Dame, Washington, Washington State), Leinart has thrown for 1,442 yards and 16 TDs with just 1 interception on 63.9% passing (92-of-144). He has thrown at least 2 TDs in his last 8 games and at least 3 TDs in his last 4 contests. He has a current streak of 135 consecutive passes without an interception (the USC record is 147, set by Palmer in 2003).

He currently is ninth nationally in passing efficiency (160.1, first in Pac-10) and 25th in total offense (259.7, third in Pac-10). His 165 completions is 11th on the USC season list and 16th on the Trojan career ladder. His 24 TD passes is third on the USC season list (tied for 18th on the Pac-10 chart). His 2,337 yards of total offense is 10th on the USC season chart. He has passed for more touchdowns (24) than any sophomore in USC history, he is the first USC soph to have back-to-back 300-yard passing games and he is just the fifth USC soph to have thrown for 2,000 yards in a season (joining Palmer, Rodney Peete, Todd Marinovich and Rob Johnson)

Joining him as 2003 O'Brien Award semifinalists are Bowling Green's Josh Harris, Mississippi's Eli Manning, Michigan's John Navarre, North Carolina State's Philip Rivers, Miami of Ohio's Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh's Rod Rutherford, Michigan State's Jeff Smoker, Texas Tech's B.J. Symons and Oklahoma's Jason White. Leinart is the only sophomore semifinalist.

Three finalists will be announced on Dec. 1 and the winner will be named on Dec. 11.

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