A ti­tle for Coach O

LSU tops Clem­son in cham­pi­onship

Antelope Valley Press - - SPORTS - By RALPH D. RUSSO

NEW OR­LEANS — From small­town 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 topranked 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 of Bur­row. “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, lead 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. The five TD passes and 463 yards pass­ing are the most for a BCS or Col­lege Football Play­off ti­tle game as are 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. 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.

But 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’ of­fense 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 of­fenses col­lege football has ever seen.

The Saints’ Drew Brees, Bur­row’s idol grow­ing up, could not have done it bet­ter.

It 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 proven 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 sig­naled 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.

Joe Cool. Just do­ing his thing. Next stop: The NFL draft, where he will likely be the first pick in April.

The fi­nal score was lop­sided, but it was far from easy for LSU and Bur­row.

Clem­son pushed LSU into the deep­est hole it has had to climb out of this sea­son in the first half. Two weeks af­ter Lawrence ran for a ca­reer-best 107 yards against Ohio State, he opened the scor­ing with a 1-yard jaunt around right end in the first quar­ter.

Af­ter B.T. Pot­ter kicked a ca­reer-long 52-yard field goal for Clem­son to make it 10-7, the Tigers sprung re­ceiver Tee Hig­gins on a re­verse and he raced 36 yards through tack­lers for a score to make it 17-7.

It took LSU 5:19 to wipe that out and take the lead, with Bur­row and his fa­vorite re­ceiver, Ja’Marr Chase do­ing most of the dam­age. The Heis­man win­ner hit the Bilet­nikoff Award win­ner with a long ball to set up a quar­ter­back draw from 3 yards out to make it 17-14.

Bur­row and Chase hooked up for a 14-yard touch­down with 5:19 left in the sec­ond quar­ter and LSU fans erupted as their Tigers took the lead for the first time, 21-17. They never looked back.

Chase fin­ished with nine catches for 221 yards.

The SEC Tigers weren’t done. Bur­row led LSU on a 95yard drive, tak­ing a hard shot on a long run be­fore find­ing Thad­deus Moss, son of former NFL star re­ceiver Randy Moss, stand­ing alone in the end zone. That made it 28-17 with 10 sec­onds left in the half.

Af­ter Clem­son’s de­fense flummoxed LSU for most of the first quar­ter, with tight cov­er­age and hard-to-de­ci­pher blitzes, Bur­row, Chase and Co. put up 269 yards in the sec­ond quar­ter.

As­so­ci­ated Press

COV­ETED TRO­PHY — LSU head coach Ed Org­eron, left, and quar­ter­back Joe Bur­row, cen­ter, hold the tro­phy be­side safety Grant Del­pit af­ter the Col­lege Football Play­off na­tional cham­pi­onship game against Clem­son on Mon­day in New Or­leans. Bur­row threw five touch­down passes and LSU won 42-25.

As­so­ci­ated Press

SOFT HANDS — LSU wide re­ceiver Ja’Marr Chase catches a touch­down pass in front of Clem­son cor­ner­back A.J. Terrell on Mon­day.

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