NEW ORLEANS — Behind the explosive connection of quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, LSU defeated defending national champion Clemson, 42-25, in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Monday night.
The victory secured LSU’s fourth national championship in program history as the Tigers previously won titles for the 1958, 2003 and 2007 seasons.
How It Happened:
Clemson struck first with its third drive of the contest as the Tigers needed only five plays to go 67 yards for the score. Trevor Lawrence hit Braden Galloway for a 42-yard completion on the first play of the drive. Clemson though was flagged for illegal block after the catch and that cost them 15 yards. That didn’t stop the drive as four plays later Lawrence ran it around the right side for a 1-yard touchdown.
LSU struggled offensively in the opening quarter.
Clemson’s defense successfully pressured Joe Burrow with its front seven, and blitzes, and the secondary blanketed LSU’s dynamic wide receivers. LSU’s first four drives netted them only one first down and a total of 20 yards.
Then came the fifth drive.
With the ball at their own 48-yard line, Burrrow hit Ja’Marr Chase for a 52-yard touchdown down the right sideline. In a just a matter of seconds, the game was tied 7-7.
Clemson responded with a 9-play, 40-yard drive but it stalled at the LSU 35-yard line. The orange and white Tigers had to settle for a 52-yard field goal by P.T. Potter. The kick by Potter was the longest field goal in College Football Playoff history.
With 13:43 in the second, Clemson led 10-7.
After forcing LSU to punt, Clemson would begin its next drive from its own 4-yard line. Lawrence got them quickly out of the shadow of their end zone with a 24-yard pass to Justyn Ross, followed by a 29-yard run by Travis Etienne which quickly put Clemson past the 50-yard line. After a 7-yard run by Etienne, Clemson scored again as Tee Higgins ran it from 36 yards out.
LSU answered right back as Burrow once again threw up a deep ball to Chase — this time for a 56-yard reception. A few plays later, Burrow scored on a keeper from three yards out. With 9:17 left in the first half, Clemson held to a 17-14 lead.
LSU would put together its best drive of the first half.
Burrow went 4-of-4 for 76 yards, added an 11-yard run, as the Tigers needed only 2:03 and six plays to go 87 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. Burrow found Chase for the 14-yard touchdown.
That touchdown catch gave Chase a total of 5 receptions for 147 yards and 2 touchdowns.
After forcing Clemson to punt, LSU added to its lead with another drive led by Burrow who showed off his running ability with three rushes for 36 yards on the long drive. Burrow capped off the 11-play, 95-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown pass to a wide open tight end Thaddeus Moss.
At halftime, LSU held a 28-17 lead.
Clemson dialed up pressure on LSU’s opening drive of the second half and were able to sack Burrow on third down forcing a punt.
Clemson then found the end zone with a 6-play, 50-yard drive capped with a 3-yard Etienne touchdown run. Clemson then converted the two-point conversion as Lawrence found Amari Rogers in the end zone.
Clemson had cut the lead to 28-25.
After the two teams traded punts, LSU responded with yet another touchdown drive that featured Chase beating the defensive back covering him with this one for a 43-yard reception. The drive was capped with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Burrow to Moss.
LSU’s defense would force Clemson to punt on its next possession, would then have a drive end with a Cade York 45-yard missed field goal and then force another punt by Clemson.
Headed to the fourth quarter, LSU held a 35-25 lead.
As Clemson’s offense continued to sputter against LSU’s defense, the Tigers who call Baton Rouge home kept pouring it on. LSU added a 8-play, 57-yard touchdown drive in the final quarter as Burrow threw a 24-yard touchdown to Terrace Marshall Jr.
Big Number: 726
With Monday night’s 42 points, LSU finished the 2019 football season by scoring 726 total points which set a new NCAA FBS single-season record. The previous record was 723 set by Florida State in 2013.
Players of the Game: Joe Burrow & Ja’Marr Chase
Burrow capped his storied record-breaking season by completing 31-of-49 passes for 463 yards and 5 touchdowns passes while also rushing for another. With his six-touchdown performance, Burrow broke Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan’s single-season records for most passing touchdowns in a single season (60) and touchdowns responsible for in a single season (65).
LSU’s sensational wide receiver and Biletnikoff Award winner had a monster game against Clemson on Monday. Chase had 9 receptions for 221 yards and scored 2 touchdowns. Even bigger than the numbers was how Chase’s catches, especially those in the first half, helped give LSU’s offense a spark after a sluggish start to the ball game.
Next Up: LSU will open up the 2020 season inside Tiger Stadium on Saturday, September 5th against UTSA.