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National Championship Game: #1 LSU tackles defending champion #3 Clemson (Bayou Tigers game notes)

Mercedes Superdome By Nwill21 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

2020 College Football Playoff

Semifinals Championship
December 28 – Peach BowlMercedes-Benz StadiumAtlanta
1 LSU 63
4 Oklahoma 28 January 13 – National ChampionshipMercedes-Benz SuperdomeNew Orleans
1 LSU
December 28 – Fiesta BowlState Farm StadiumGlendale 3 Clemson
2 Ohio State 23
3 Clemson 29

 

LSU Tigers

14-0 Overall

SEC

Ed Orgeron, head coach

1 AP Poll 1 Coaches Poll 1 College Football Playoff

TO GET TO THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

ATLANTA — LSU dominated the contest from the start.

Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Joe Burrow tied an NCAA record with seven first-half touchdown passes, as top-ranked LSU imposed its will on No. 4 Oklahoma to advance to the College Football Playoff National Championship, 63-28, in the 2019 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

LSU (14-0) earned its first College Football Playoff National Championship berth in the sixth season of the current format. The Tigers will face No. 3-seed Clemson in the title game scheduled for Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. CT in New Orleans. LSU has won three football national championships (1958, 2003, 2007).

Burrow, who won virtually every major college football award earlier this month, finished 29-of-39 passing for 493 yards and an SEC-record tying seven touchdowns – all in the first half. He added another rushing touchdown in the second half, as LSU built a 49-14 halftime advantage and never looked back.

With 71 passing touchdowns in two seasons in Baton Rouge, Burrow also passed Tommy Hodson (1986-89) for LSU’s career record.

The Tigers outgained Oklahoma (12-2), 692-322, and set countless program postseason, Peach Bowl, New Year’s Six and CFP records along the way.

LSU held Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts to 15-of-31 passing for 217 yards with an interception. Hurts ran 14 times for 43 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb led the Sooners with four catches for 119 yards including a 51-yard reception.

LSU’s road to the national championship game hasn’t come easy, as the Tigers recorded a record sixth victory over an AP Top-10 opponent in 2019.

LSU IN THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS HISTORY

LSU defeated Georgia in the SEC Championship Game on December 7, and received a bid to the Peach Bowl with the release of final CFP rankings on December 8. The Tigers defeated Oklahoma, 63–28, in the CFP semifinal Peach Bowl on December 28, which was LSU’s first CFP semifinal appearance. The Tigers enter the championship game with a 14–0 record (8–0 in conference). LSU’s most recent loss was to Texas A&M on November 24, 2018; a seven overtime contest. This is LSU’s first appearance in a CFP National Championship game; their last national championship game appearance was a loss to Alabama in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game.

GAME PREVIEW

NEW ORLEANS — Twelve years since its most recent national championship – and in the same city where it’s finished all three title-winning seasons – No. 1 LSU looks to cap off a perfect campaign in the College Football Playoff National Championship, as the 14-0 Tigers take on No. 3 Clemson in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

LSU is on the verge of completing a historic season which already includes six top-10 wins, an SEC Championship, and a Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl title. A win over Clemson would establish a new record for top-10 victories in a season and would mark LSU’s third-straight win over a top-five foe away from home, following wins over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game and Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl.

Leading LSU’s charge has been a record-setting offense highlighted by Heisman winning quarterback Joe Burrow. Burrow, who won the award by the widest margin in its history, has completed 371-of-478 (77.6%) of his passes this season, with 55 touchdowns – including a CFP record seven in the first half of the Tigers’ win over Oklahoma – and just six interceptions. He could set the national mark for completion percentage and passing touchdowns (Burrow needs three to tie Colt Brennan’s record of 58 and four to break it) on Monday.

Burrow is armed with a number of targets, including three receivers who have already matched or surpassed the previous LSU record for touchdown catches in a season, which stood at 12 before the 2019 campaign. Biletnikoff winner and Unanimous All-American Ja’Marr Chase (75 catches, 1,559 yards, 18 touchdowns) and Justin Jefferson (102 catches, 1,404 yards, 18 touchdowns) share the national lead with 18 scores, while sophomore Terrace Marshall Jr. (43 catches, 625 yards, 12 touchdowns in 11 games) ranks in the top five in the SEC.

Also powering the Tiger attack are running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (199 caries, 1,304 yards, 16 touchdowns) and tight end Thaddeus Moss (42 catches, 534 yards, 2 touchdowns). Both Moss and Edwards-Helaire (50 catches, 399 yards) set school records for receptions at their respective positions.

Paving the way up front is the best offensive line in the country. Led by center Lloyd Cushenberry III and right guard Damien Lewis – who is expected to play after picking up an injury against Oklahoma – the Tiger front five won the Joe Moore Award as the best offensive line in the country. They do the dirty work in front of an attack that ranks first nationally in scoring offense (48.9 points per game) and total offense (564.1 yards per game).

The LSU defense is playing its best football of the season in its last three games. Against two top-five opponents and an SEC rival, the Tigers have allowed just 182 passing yards per game and 76 rushing yards per game. Holding down the trenches is a six-man rotation of defensive linemen spearheaded by senior captain Rashard Lawrence.

On the edges, redshirt sophomore K’Lavon Chaisson is providing pressure on opposing offenses, with five sacks and 15 pressures in his last three games, both of which rank tops in the country over that stretch. Senior Michael Divinity Jr. will return to the lineup to offer more pressure off the edge, while linebackers Patrick Queen (77 tackles, 9.5 for loss) and Jacob Phillips (105 tackles) look to slow down Clemson’s run game.

The Tiger secondary has proven it’s the best in the country. Thorpe Award winner Grant Delpit and three-time SEC Defensive Player of the Week JaCoby Stevens (85 tackles, 8.5 for loss) anchor the back at safety, while all-Americans Kristian Fulton and Derek Stingley Jr. (21 passes defended, six interceptions) lock down the outside at cornerback. Nickel Kary Vincent Jr. has emerged as a stopper in the slot, as well, intercepting four passes for LSU.

 

GAME PREVIEW WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF LSU ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS INFORMATION COURTESY OF WIKIPEDIA COMMONS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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