Four teams entered the College Football Playoffs on December 28, 2019, but on the second Sunday of the new Decade, the final two teams went head to head a the Mercedes Benz Super Dome. LSU and Clemson came into the game with immaculate records of 14-0 to see who would be deemed champion.
Coming into the matchup were two NFL caliber quarterbacks. One being the Heisman winning Phenom Joe Burrow, and the other an undefeated starter in Trevor Lawrence who had taken down the beast Alabama his freshman year.
When two players with high volume offenses get together in such a big matchup you would expect high scoring, which is why the Las Vegas over/under for the game was set at 70 by the time kickoff was away. However, this game got off to a rocky start for both teams who punted a combined six times in just the first quarter.
Clemson did open up the game with the first scoring drive of the game on a five-play 67-yard drive that was capped off with a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Lawrence. Burrow was able to quiet the doubters a few possessions later with a quick four-play 70-yard drive which saw a 52-yard TD to receiver Ja’marr Chase.
With the score at 7-7, the long first quarter was up and the deficit was the same as it was when the game began. Clemson took its second lead of the game on a career-long 52-yard field goal by kicker B.T. Potter. Now down by three LSU was unable to answer giving Clemson a chance to extend the lead to double digits. Which of course they did in Clemson fashion, pushing down the field 96 yards in only four plays. Tee Higgins got the call for a 36-yard touchdown run to put Clemson up 17-7.
The Heisman winner would not allow the bleeding to continue for long as he would take the pressure and turn it into six-yard touchdown run coming off of a long 11-play 95-yard drive to bring LSU within three. The LSU Tigers would then go on a three drive streak with all of them ending in touchdowns. To take the lead Ja’marr Chase would catch a 14-yard touchdown making the score 21-17. The final score of the half would also belong to LSU on another 95 yards 11 play drive finishing on with a touchdown pass to Thaddeus Moss, son of Hall of Fame receiver Randy Moss.
With a lead of 11 for LSU, they had a chance to extend their lead even more, but the Clemson defense was able to stop LSU’s momentum but allowing negative yardage on a three and out. Clemson goes back to their scoring ways by taking advantage of a very good field position. It was Running back Travis Etienne who broke the seal in the second half with a three-yard run followed by a successful two-point conversion pass to Amari Rodgers.
A pair of punts led to LSU having the ball. This possession would go on to virtually seal the game and take up all of the momenta that Clemson could have hoped to have. LSU went down the field in six plays and scored on a Burrow to Moss connection putting LSU up 35-25. LSU had another opportunity but came up short missing a 45-yard field goal that kept Clemson’s hopes alive.
The final nail came early in the fourth quarter when Burrow hit receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. for a 24-yard score that pushed the lead to 17. Clemson would not score again and the game finished off with a Clemson fumble by Lawrence that led to kneel-downs and a fourth National Championship for the LSU Tigers.
Burrow would finish the game with 463 yards on 31-49 passing and five touchdowns. Burrow also set a new record for touchdowns in a season for College quarterbacks. Chase was the
leading receiver for LSU with nine receptions that totaled 221 yards and 2 touchdowns. Edwards-Helaire was the workhorse on the ground with 110 yards rushing.
Clemson came up short but Lawrence was still able to chalk up 234 passing yards. 76 of those yards were completed to receiver Justyn Ross. Etienne led the Clemson Tigers in rushing with 78 yards and a touchdown.
The LSU Tigers were the favorite for a large portion of the season for good reason. Coach O along with a cast of coaches that will most likely find themselves in head coach positions in the next couple years. Burrow had a near-perfect Heisman and it only made sense that he finished his college career as a National Champion.