NEW ORLEANS — Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow shrugged off a slow start to have a record-setting performance as he led the LSU Tigers to a 42-25 win over Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship.
Burrow, who’s expected to be the top pick in this year’s NFL Draft, threw for 463 yards and 5 touchdowns—both championship game records--against a very good Clemson team. The Tigers of South Carolina gave up a season high 628 yards of total offense, uncharacteristic for this defense.
His counterpart, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, played fairly well too, finishing with 264 yards passing, but it ultimately became too much for he and his teammates to keep up with LSU’s record setting offense which was ranked number one this season. (Burrow also set the all-time single-season record for touchdown passes with 60.)
In doing so, Burrow led LSU to a 15-0 season, becoming just the second team in modern college football to win that many games. The only other team? Last year’s Clemson Tigers.
It's the fourth national championship in school history for LSU and their first since 2007.
"Tonight was about LSU. I thought they played a beautiful game," said Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney. "Joe Burrow was tremendous and their receivers made incredible plays. Give them credit, they played a great game and deserved to win. I’m very happy for Coach O [Ed Oregeron]. This was their night."
The loss stopped the 29-game winning streak for Clemson (14-1), which was an all-time record for Clemson’s program, and the 12th longest in college football history. Their last loss was January 1, 2018, 742 days before.
There were, of course, controversial plays. Clemson fans were not happy about a long LSU touchdown pass where the receiver appeared to step out of bounds. LSU were flagged for pass interference on a Trevor Lawrence to Justyn Ross pass play. And Clemson linebacker James Skalski was ejected for targeting, an always controversial call.
Clemson started off well early, building a 17-7 lead in the second quarter. But LSU rattled off 21 unanswered to take the lead.
They wouldn't relinquish it for the rest of the contest.
Still, there's no hanging of the head for Clemson. They won two titles in three years, nearly won a third, and will be one of the top contenders next year with Trevor Lawrence coming back.
SCORING UPDATES FROM THE GAME:
11:41 PM - Clemson extends to largest lead of the game
Joe Burrow throws yet another bomb. 24 yards to a leaping Terrace Marshall Jr.
LSU 42, Clemson 25 - 12:08 4th QTR
11:35 PM - Very, very true
11:32 PM - END OF 3RD QTR
LSU 35, Clemson 25
11:25 PM - LSU misses a chance to extend lead
LSU missed a 45-yard field goal after a promising drive stalled. Still remains:
LSU 35, Clemson 25 - 2:15 3rd QTR
11:16 PM - Burrow sets all-time record
With his last TD pass, LSU's Joe Burrow set the all-time record for touchdown passes in a season, with 59
11:13 PM - LSU takes advantage again in the red zone.
LSU's Joe Burrow tosses a short pass to Thaddeus Moss, who barely squeaks it past the goal line for the score.
LSU 35, Clemson 25 - 5:13 3rd QTR
11:09 PM - Clemson star linebacker ejected
Clemson linebacker James Skalski was penalized by the referees and ejected for targeting, after he hit an LSU player's shoulder with his helmet.
11:01 PM - Clemson fans exited over last TD
This was the reacton back home in Clemson at the last Tiger TD
10:45 PM - Clemson roars back
After LSU rattled off 21 straight points, Clemson returned to the endzone with a 3-yard power run by Travis Etienne. Clemson went for the 2-point conversion and got it.
LSU 28, Clemson 25 - 10:49 3rd QTR
HALFTIME - LSU 28, Clemson 17
10:12 PM - LSU extends the lead right before the half
LSU stretches the lead right before the half Set up by a gutty Joe Burrow run, he then throws a TD pass to Moss
LSU 28, Clemson 17 - :10 2nd QTR
9:50 PM - Joe Burrow really likes Ja'Marr Chase
Burrow tosses a 14-yard pass to Ja'Marr Chase in the endzone. Chase has over 150 receiving yards, and it's not even halftime.
LSU 21, Clemson 17 - 5:19 2nd QTR
9:35 PM Joe Burrow runs in a score
LSU QB Joe Burrow matches Trevor Lawrence with a rushing TV of his own.
Clemson 17, LSU 14 - 9:17 1st QTR
9:28 PM - GROWN MAN TD
That's what ESPN called Tee Higgins score
9:24 PM - Tee Higgins making LSU defenders look foolish
After catching the pass, Clemson's Tee Higgins ran around and through the LSU defense for a 36-yard touchdown score.
Clemson 17, LSU 7 - 10:38 2nd QTR
9:15 PM - Tigers fans celebrate the latest score
Checking back in at the Esso club in Clemson, fans celebrate the last Clemson score
9:11 PM - Clemson kicks through a long one
Clemson's B.T. Potter sends a 52-yard field goal sailing through the uprights
Clemson 10, LSU 7 - 13:43 2nd QTR
9:07 PM - Joe Burrow, bombs away
LSU strikes back with a perfect pass from Joe Burrow to Ja'Marr Chase
9:00 PM. LSU finally arrives at the game
After struggling for most of the first quarter, LSU finally found its mojo.
Joe Burrow threw a 52-yard touchdown bomb to Ja'Marr Chase.
Clemson 7, LSU 7 - 1:36 1st QTR
Another look at Trevor Lawrence's score
8:45 PM - Clemson strikes first
Trevor Lawrence capped a 5 play, 67 yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run of his own.
Clemson 7, LSU 0 - 6:34 1st QTR
8:37 PM - Offenses struggle early
Clemson and LSU are known for offense, but not on their first few plays.
The first four drives (2 for Clemson, 2 for LSU) all end in punts.
8:23 PM - Clemson doesn't score on the first drive of the game
Clemson got the ball first to start the game. They didn't get any points, but they did have this nifty pass from Trevor Lawrence to Justyn Ross for a big first down.
8:12 PM - President Trump, Melania Trump take the field.
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump stand for the national anthem.
8:14 PM -Clemson's Denzel Johnson takes the field
Last game in orange for A.C. Flora product Denzel Johnson.
7:40 PM - Dabo and the Tigers take the field
Clemson's coach waved to fans one last time before the game began
7:02 PM - Catching up with the First lady of Tiger Football
Kathleen Swinney, wife of Dabo Swinney, spoke to News19's Reggie Anderson before the national title game.
6:14 PM - The Clemson Tigers arrive at the stadium
Coach Dabo Swinney, quarterback Trevor Lawrence, and the rest of the team enter the Louisiana Superdome
5:42 PM - Fans gather in Tigertown
Not every Clemson fan could make it to New Orleans, of course. Some of those who couldn't go area in Clemson and gathered at the Esso Club.
5:30 PM. - The locker rooms are ready for both teams