Sam Darnold took home the Archie Griffin Award as the MVP of the 2016 college football season after his stellar performance in the Rose Bowl.
It wasn’t enough for Sam Darnold to lead USC to an epic victory in the 2017 Rose Bowl, completing a nine-game winning streak and improbable turnaround after a 1-3 start to the season.
The first-year starter capped his season winning the Archie Griffin Award, which goes to the most valuable player in college football.
Most college football awards are handed out at the end of the regular season, but the Touchdown Club of Columbus specifically holds back until the end of the bowl season to bestow the Archie Griffin Award.
As a result, Darnold’s record-setting performance in the Rose Bowl against Penn State helped elevate the Trojan quarterback.
In the Granddaddy Of Them All, Darnold tossed five touchdowns through the air and racked up 473 yards total, setting Rose Bowl records in each category.
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Calm and collected despite watching his team fall behind during a furious scoring stretch for the Nittany Lions, the quarterback generated two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to bring his team back with the chance to win the game at the end on a field goal.
His final pass of the game was an inch-perfect shot to Deontay Burnett over the middle of the field for the game-tying score.
Darnold is USC’s second winner of the award which goes back to 1999. Matt Leinart was a two-time winner in 2003 and 2004 while guiding USC to two BCS bowl victories and a national championship.
Though matching Leinart’s heights would be no easy task, Darnold is now set to enter his redshirt sophomore season with the national spotlight shining on him. Already he is being talked about as a Heisman Trophy favorite for next season.