Feb. 22, 2005
SportsLine.com wire reports

NEW ORLEANS -- Southern California quarterback Matt Leinart accepted the first Manning Award from Nokia Sugar Bowl officials Tuesday night.

The Manning Award, designated for the nation's top college quarterback, is named in honor of former New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning and his sons, Peyton and Eli -- both NFL quarterbacks.

Leinart, also the Heisman Trophy winner for two-time defending national champion Southern Cal, was selected in voting by a media panel, the Mannings and a former Sugar Bowl MVP quarterback.

"It's an honor to be selected the inaugural Manning Award winner," Leinart said. "It's a surreal moment. I grew up watching these guys play and now I finally get to meet them. It's also a special moment for me because I get to enjoy this with my family."

The Associated Press News Service

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