2004 Manning Award Winner – Matt Leinart
(1/5/05) – The Sugar Bowl Committee announced today that University of Southern California quarterback Matt Leinart was named the inaugural Manning Award winner presented to the nation’s best quarterback.
Leinart, a junior from Santa Ana, Calif., and this year’s Heisman Trophy winner, cemented his selection with a 18-of-35 performance, including 332 passing yards and a FedEx orange Bowl record five touchdowns, in the Trojans’ 55-19 rout of Oklahoma in the BCS National Championship game. He finished his junior season with 3,322 yards and 33 touchdowns.
The Manning Award is the only quarterback award which takes into consideration the individual’s bowl performance.
The 10 finalists for the inaugural award were Leinart, Brock Berlin (Miami), Jason Campbell (Auburn), David Greene (Georgia), Chris Leak (Florida), Stefan LeFors (Louisville), Kyle Orton (Purdue), Aaron Rodgers (California), Alex Smith (Utah) and Jason White (Oklahoma).
The Manning Award was created in honor of the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning and will be presented to Leinart at an upcoming banquet. The winner is determined by a select panel of national media covering college football, the Mannings and a former Sugar Bowl MVP quarterback, which will rotate annually.