Joe Burrow and the LSU Tigers have had quite the storybook season. Burrow’s Heisman-winning season and Ed Orgeron’s excellent coaching has led the Tigers to emerge as 21/50 odds-on favorites in the National Championship against Clemson. Both teams enter Monday night’s game with perfect records (14-0). LSU’s season includes wins over No. 5 Georgia, No. 9 Florida, Auburn and Alabama.
The Tigers have been led all season by Burrow. The redshirt senior has 5,208 passing yards, 55 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions. He broke the records for most passing yards and touchdowns in SEC history. Burrow has won numerous awards. Most notably, the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award, the Walter Camp Award and the AP College Football Player of the Year. He is widely projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson have all been instrumental in leading one of the best offenses in the country. LSU became the first team ever to have a 5,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers, all at the same time. Chase and Jefferson also broke the school record for touchdowns with 18 each.
Much of their offensive success is attributable to assistants Joe Brady and Steve Ensminger. The duo became the first co-recipients of the Offensive Coordinator of the Year Award after coming aboard and transforming an anemic offense to one of the best in all of college football.
Their defense has not been nearly as dominant as their offense. But it has improved marginally, enough to give LSU the edge as the overall complete team.
The Tigers cemented their top-ranking with a 63-28 destruction over No. 4 Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl to reach the title game. Burrow had 493 yards on 29-of-39 completions and seven touchdowns, which ties the FBS record for most touchdowns in a bowl game.
On the other side, No. 3 Clemson has the capability and firepower to defeat them. The defending champs have been underdogs all year due to their softer schedule. They overcame a huge deficit in a come from behind victory over No. 2 Ohio State 29-23.
The Buckeyes’ talent-level came closest to matching that of LSU’s. Clemson should be considered extremely dangerous in this matchup. Coach Dabo Swinney has called out the media for not giving his Clemson Tigers team enough credit. As if the guys needed any extra motivation, the Tigers will go out and try to silence its detractors and cap off a perfect season.
Trevor Lawrence leads Clemson into the title game after a stellar sophomore season. He has 3,431 passing yards, 36 touchdowns, and just 8 interceptions. Lawrence is proven in the National Championship game as he dominated Alabama last year and will likely do the same against LSU. He is already projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Travis Etienne had a strong season on the ground for Clemson with 1,536 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns. Justyn Ross was also impressive with 789 yards and 8 touchdowns. Tee Higgins led the receiving corps with 1,115 yards and 13 touchdowns. Higgins is listed as questionable (head injury) for the title game.
Clemson’s No. 2 overall defense ranks first in scoring defense and against the pass. Anchored by one of the best defensive coordinators in Brent Venables and linebacker Isaiah Simmons, who had 7 sacks and 3 interceptions on the season.
Their defense will have its work cut out for them against the explosive LSU offense. If Clemson’s defense can keep this game close, it’ll set up their offense to pull off the upset.
These two teams have earned their spot in the title game. Burrow and LSU have an advantage on offense, but Clemson has a much stronger defense and a respectable offense with Lawrence and company. It’ll be a must-watch showdown with lots of fireworks and lead changes. In the end, it will come down to the final possession with LSU coming out on top to win its first championship since 2007.
The game kicks off on Monday at 8 p.m. on ESPN. The teams are playing at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.