Joe Burrow completes season for the ages, marching LSU past Clemson for NCAA football championship
|Toronto Star 14 Jan 2020 at 08:49|
NEW ORLEANS—From small-town Ohio kid to Louisiana legend, Joe Burrow capped his record-breaking, Heisman-winning season by bringing a national championship to LSU.
Burrow threw five touchdown passes, ran for another score and finished off one of the most accomplished seasons in college football history by leading the top-ranked Tigers to a 42-25 victory against No. 3 Clemson on Monday night in the playoff final.
“He’s one of the greatest players in LSU history,” Tigers coach Ed Orgeron said. “He’s done so much for the state of Louisiana and LSU. We are so grateful to Joe Burrow.”
The senior quarterback from The Plains, Ohio, led the Tigers (15-0) to their first national title since 2007 and fourth overall, breaking a few more records along the way in what was already an historic season. His five TD passes and 463 yards passing are the most for a BCS or College Football Playoff title game as were his six total touchdowns.
“This is what I wanted to do from the time I was 5 years old, was hoist this trophy, and bringing it back to Louisiana,” Burrow said, then caught himself. “I guess we’re in Louisiana, but staying in Louisiana, we weren’t going to let someone come in here and steal this from us in our home state.
“We have a great fan base that came out and supported us. We were going to keep this thing right here.”
Under a shower of sparkling white, gold and purple confetti, Burrow raised the CFP championship trophy toward the Superdome roof. The party was on — no doubt already raging on nearby Bourbon Street.
Burrow became the first major college quarterback to throw 60 touchdown passes in a season as LSU snapped defending national champion Clemson’s 29-game winning streak. For the first time in his college career, Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence was on the losing team.
“I hate how it finished,” Lawrence said. “But man, we did some really amazing things.”
The Tigers (14-1) had won his first 25 starts.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve stood in front of a team after a loss,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said.
On this night, Lawrence (18 for 37 for 234 yards) was no match for Burrow — the Ohio State transfer who threw all of 16 TD passes last season with LSU.
His ascent has been dizzying and unprecedented. Running a version of the New Orleans Saints’ offence that was brought to LSU by 30-year-old assistant coach Joe Brady, Burrow and an array of talented receivers transformed these Tigers into one of the most prolific offences college football has ever seen.
The Saints’ Drew Brees, Burrow’s idol growing up, could not have done it better.
This was Orgeron’s vision for LSU when he was promoted from interim coach in 2016. There was plenty of skepticism when LSU tabbed the Cajun who had failed in his first crack as a head coach with Mississippi.
Orgeron has proved to be the perfect fit for LSU. Just like Burrow.
After tossing his fifth touchdown pass of the night, a perfectly placed jumped ball to Terrace Marshall Jr. from 24 yards out to make it 42-25 with 12:08 left in the fourth, Burrow signalled TD and strolled to the sideline.
The Superdome is LSU’s dome away from home, about 80 miles from the Tigers Baton Rouge campus, and it was rocking.
The LSU band broke out its unofficial anthem, “Neck,” and as the Tigers bounced and waved towels on the sideline, Burrow just sat on the bench, bobbing his head and waving one arm.