NEW ORLEANS (KFDX/KJTL) — The Tigers of Louisiana State University are National Champions for the first time in over a decade and the 3rd time in school history after a 42-25 win over reigning champion Clemson Tigers.
Although LSU had never trailed by double digits all season, they fell behind early with Clemson jumping out to a 17-7 lead by the beginning of the second quarter.
Joe Burrow took over the game from that point on. He threw for 463 yards and 5 touchdowns and rushed for 58 yards and another score.
Burrow’s six total touchdowns earned him an MVP honor, lived up to the Heisman hype and led the Tigers to a National Championship.
Both Tigers teams had previous experience in this game. Since 2000, both LSU and Clemson have played for the National Championship, winning twice.
LSU won in 2003 and 2007, while falling short in their most recent championship game in 2011.
Clemson has had a great deal of success in recent years under head coach Dabo Swinney. They’ve been to the National Championship in 2015, 2016, and 2018, winning the latter two games and entering tonight’s showdown as reigning champions.
Both Tigers teams featured elite quarterbacks in Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and LSU’s Heisman winner, Joe Burrow. While there is some debate among scouts which quarterback will be drafted first overall in April, there’s no doubt these two will be the first picked.
Both Tigers teams entered the championship game with a record of 14-0. Both teams won their conference decidedly.
LSU won the SEC with a 37-10 routing of 5th ranked Georgia, while the ACC was won by Clemson, who demolished 24th ranked Virginia 62-17.
LSU entered the College Football playoff as the number one seed. They faced off against fourth seed Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 28 and came away victorious, crushing the Sooners 63-28.
Clemson ended the season as the third seed and faced second ranked Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, where they edged the Buckeyes 29-23.
But only one Tigers team can claim the title of National Champions of College Football.
After each team possessed the ball twice and punted twice, it was the Tigers of Clemson who got on the board first, after QB Trevor Lawrence ran it in from a yard out to take the lead 7-0.
LSU responded shortly thereafter, with Joe Burrow completing a 52-yard touchdown pass to WR Ja’marr Chase to bring the score back to even at 7-7.
That score would carry on thru the first quarter.
Just :40 into the second quarter, however, it would be the leg of sophomore kicker B.T. Potter that would put Clemson back in the lead, 10-7, hitting from 52 yards out.
With 10:38 left in the first half, Clemson capped a 96-yard drive with a 36-yard reverse to Tee Higgins to extend their lead 17-7.
But the Tigers of LSU came roaring back on the heels of a 56-yard reception by Ja’marr Chase from Joe Burrow. Burrow would run it in form 3 yards out to cut Clemson’s lead to 3.
Louisiana State took the lead 21-17 with 5:19 left in the half on Burrow and Chase’s second TD connection of the night.
Then, with 10 seconds left in the half, Burrow found Thaddeus Moss, son of NFL legend Randy Moss, for another touchdown pass, sending LSU into the locker room with a 28-17 lead at the half.
Clemson drew first blood in the second half. After holding LSU to a 3-and-out, two costly LSU penalties set up a RB Travis Etienne 3-yard TD rush. A successful 2-point conversion brought Clemson within three, trailing 28-25 early in the 3rd quarter.
LSU came roaring back with another touchdown from Burrow to Moss, giving LSU it’s second double-digit lead of the game.
They’d cap the scoring and add to the lead early in the 4th quarter, with Burrow completing a touchdown pass to Terrance Marshall, Jr for his fifth touchdown pass of the night.
- Total Offense – LSU 628 yards, Clemson 394 yards
- Passing Yards – LSU 463, Clemson 234
- Rushing Yards – LSU 165, Clemson 160
- Time of Possession – LSU 34:45, Clemson 25:15
- Turnovers – LSU 0, Clemson 1
- Penalties – LSU 11 for 118 yards, Clemson 7 for 65 yards
- First Downs – LSU 29, Clemson 23
- Third Down Conversions – LSU 4-14, Clemson 1-11
- Fourth Down Conversions – LSU 1-1, Clemson 0-0
- Joe Burrow (LSU) – 31-49, 463 yards, 5 TD
- Trevor Lawrence (CLEM) – 18-37, 234 yards, 1 fumble
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire (LSU) – 16 carries, 110 yards
- Travis Etienne (CLEM) – 15 carries, 78 yards, 1 TD
- Ja’marr Chase (LSU) – 9 catches, 221 yards, 2 TD
- Justyn Ross (CLEM) – 5 catches, 76 yards