It took USC Head Coach Lane Kiffin a while to decide on a quarterback for the 2013 season, but his choice of Cody Kessler is starting to pay dividends. Kessler is finding his footing as leader as the Trojan offense, guiding his team to a 2-1 record as they prepare to face Arizona State this Saturday.
Kessler came to USC as a highly touted prep standout. As a senior in 2010, he earned an assortment of honors: 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 and Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first team, among others.
Kessler was a backup quarterback as a redshirt freshman in 2012 and also was the holder on all placekicks. In his only two games seeing action at QB, he took the game’s final snap against Hawaii and hit both of his passes for nine yards late in the Colorado game.
This year, Kessler got off to a slow start in the opening game against Hawaii and was ineffective in the first half against Washington State. He answered by completing 15 of 17 passes against Boston College with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Against Utah State last Saturday, Kessler completed 13 of 27 passes for 164 yards and a touchdown. However, he struggled in the second half, completing just four of his 15 pass attempts. His one-yard sneak on a fourth-and-inches play from the Aggie 25-yard line with two minutes remaining enabled USC to run out the clock for a 17-14 win.
Kessler injured his right hand in the Utah State game, but Kiffin expects him to play against Arizona State.
USC is 19-10 against ASU. The Sun Devils ended the Trojans’ 11-game winning streak in the series with a 43-22 home victory in 2011.