LSU Clinches Their Spot in National Championship

LSU Clinches Their Spot in National Championship
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 28: Quarterback Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers post the "LSU" sticker on the oversized bracket to indicate advancing to the National Championship in New Orleans after winning the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl 28-63 over the Oklahoma Sooners at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 28, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

LSU Clinches Their Spot in National Championship

During pre-game interviews in the week leading up to the Peach Bowl, the LSU Tigers exuded an aura of confidence. At many times, it seemed downright strange. LSU openly belittled and disrespected the Oklahoma Sooners. Ordinarily, one might consider this talk bulletin board material. But in just over thirteen minutes, the Tigers proved the Sooners were no match. To say that Tigers won convincingly would be an understatement, but they certainly proved their worth as the top seed in 2019’s college football playoff. After a 63-28 victory that somehow proved even more lopsided than the final score, LSU clinches their spot in the national championship.

Burrow Proves His Heisman Trophy Well-Deserved

The numbers from this game are simply eye-popping. Through the first half alone, Joe Burrow accumulated 353 passing yards and seven touchdowns. Both numbers broke bowl game records. They also shattered college football playoff records. And the latter broke Burrow’s own record for passing touchdowns in a single game for any LSU quarterback. For good measure, Burrow even added a few yards with his legs.

Behind the best offensive line in the country, Burrow shredded the Sooners defense with poise and precision. “Video game numbers” is an overused phrase, but, if ever there were a time to use it, this performance fits nicely. Or maybe it doesn’t. 49 points, seven passing touchdowns, and 353 yards through two quarters would prove elite even in video games.

But LSU did just that. Behind Burrow’s performance, the Tigers continued their open disrespect for their opponent. To them, it simply did not matter who the opponent was. They played their game like there was no team lined up against them.

And, by the final whistle, Burrow added to that total. In sum, he racked up 493 passing yards, 22 rushing yards, seven passing touchdowns, and one rushing touchdown.

Burrow’s Supporting Cast

Justin Jefferson proved to be every bit the complementary receiver to Burrow’s efforts. He finished with 227 yards on 14 receptions. He caught four touchdown passes in the game, all in the first half. That, too, set a record for receiving touchdowns in a half in the college football playoff.

For good measure, Terrace Marshall, Jr., added a pair of touchdowns and 80 yards on six receptions. Not bad for a second option for Burrow. Then, Thaddeus Moss added a touchdown and 99 yards on four receptions.

As we wrote in our preview, questions remained about Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s availability as recently as Friday. As it turns out, LSU needed little production from its superstar running back. Instead, Chris Curry shouldered the majority of the carries for the Tigers.

Tigers’ Defense Played Elite Football

Even if overshadowed by the offensive show put on by the Tigers, LSU’s defense played elite football, too. They surrendered only 28 points and 322 yards to an Oklahoma team led by the offensive genius of Lincoln Riley and the outstanding play of Jalen Hurts. Hurts, by the way, had been undefeated against the Tigers coming into the game. But he reminded the media earlier this week that not a single down or victory he earned while at Alabama mattered. He could not have been more accurate.

Going into the game, the Sooners averaged 554 yards and 43 points per game. They did so with the mind-boggling efficiency they’ve established under Riley, averaging over eight yards per play. The Tigers held them to just five yards per play. All of these numbers landed well below Oklahoma’s regular production. Simply, LSU shut down a perennial offensive powerhouse, and they did so quite convincingly.

LSU Clinches Spot Convincingly

Like that, LSU clinched their spot in the national championship in record-breaking fashion. As we recapped in our preview, Ed Orgeron set out to overhaul an old-school offense. He has done so convincingly. His Tigers’ squad buried a few handfuls of school records and all-time bowl records in the process. Best of all, that offensive output was matched step-for-step by a defense that proved, yet again, its billing as “DBU.” Now, LSU will take its product just down the road to New Orleans, where they will face off against defending national champions Clemson for all the glory. As Burrow said in the post-game interviews, “We go into every game thinking nobody can stop us.” Dabo Swinney’s Tigers will definitely have their hands full with these Tigers from the bayou.

 

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