College Football National Championship Recap

Louisiana State University (LSU) defeated Clemson on Monday, January 13 by a score of 42-25. For many Clemson fans this was a shock as it was the first game they had lost in two years. For LSU, it seemed like destiny.

Coach Orgeron discussed the effect of the championship being played in New Orleans. “It was magical,” said Coach O.

LSU’s campus is only one hour and thirty minutes from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, so many fans made the journey to NOLA. As I sat in the designated Clemson section of the stadium, I saw three fourths of the stadium being taken up by purple and gold.

This strength in numbers proved effective at rattling highly- touted Clemson quarterback, Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence had a quarterback rating of 38.1, by far his lowest of the season, and accounted for only one rushing touchdown. Contrarily, Joe Burrow had a quarterback rating of 85.6, accounting for 6 touchdowns (5 pass, 1 rush).

Clemson’s defensive gameplay was effective in the first quarter at slowing Burrow and the prolific LSU offense, limiting them to seven points. Burrow said after the game that Clemson came in playing man defense when they were expecting them to play zone defense.

Clemson’s man defense proved effective early, but it was quickly figured out by Burrow and LSU offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger. They began throwing early and often to wide receiver Ja’marr Chase who was named the top wide receiver in college football this year. He torched Clemson’s defense with 9 receptions for 221 yards and 2 touchdowns. The most receiving yards by any player in a national championship game during the BCS/College Football Playoff’s history. In addition, LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran wild with 164 total yards.

LSU’s offensive numbers were somewhat expected, but what was not expected was LSU’s defensive play. They held Lawrence to 234 yards passing, and Clemson running back Travis Etienne, a Louisiana native, to 78 yards rushing and 36 receiving. Lawrence’s sub-par performance meant Clemson was unable to utilize what was perceived to be their biggest advantage: their wide receiver corps. Justyn Ross only had 5 catches for 76 yards while Tee Higgins had 3 catches for 52 yards, showing LSU’s defense could back up their explosive offense.

One quote from the television show The Wire stayed with me as I left the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Monday. “If you come at the king, you best not miss.” Well, LSU came at the defending national champs, and they did not miss. As Joe Burrow caps off his historic season and leaves LSU for the NFL, he will forever be remembered in Louisiana as the hero that won LSU the 2020 national championship.