By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
It was the Tigers vs. the Tigers. But in the end, it was the Bayou Bengals from LSU who turned up the heat and dominated Clemson, 42-25 to bring home the national championship trophy in front of 76,885 (most of whom were wearing purple & gold), in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Saturday night. It was the first time in the five year history of the CFP, that the #1 seeded team would be crowned national champions. The victory by LSU, also ended Clemson's 29 game winning streak, which was the longest active streak in college football.
The Tigers won the toss and elected to defer. Clemson took the opening kickoff and drove to the LSU 25 yard line. To end the drive, the LSU defense would make a huge play, sacking Trevor Lawrence on 3rd & 8 for a 10 yard loss. Dabo Swinney chose to take a delay of game penalty and punt, instead of trying a long field goal. Clemson would down the punt at the LSU seven yard line. The Tigers looked sluggish and struggled to move the ball. They would quickly go three and out and would need to punt out of their own end zone. Both teams would trade punts again, before Clemson would mount their first scoring drive of the game. Trevor Lawrence came out firing away, as he would first hit Galloway on a 42 yard pass. Then two plays later found Tee Higgins for 19 yards down to the LSU 12 yard line. The drive covered 67 yards in five plays, as Trevor Lawrence would score on a 1 yard sweep. B.T. Potter added the PAT, putting Clemson up 7-0, with 6:34 to go in the first quarter. After each team traded punts again, It was LSU's turn to flex their muscles and put points up. Starting at their own 30 yard line, the Tigers struck quickly. On the fourth play of the drive, Joe Burrow would hit Ja'Marr Chase streaking down the near sideline for a 50 yard touchdown pass. Cade York pushed through the extra point, tying the game at 7-7.
Clemson would start their next drive and take it into the second quarter. They would go 40 yards in nine plays, eating up 3:37, as B.T. Potter would drill a 52 yard field goal to give the Tigers the lead back at 10-7. LSU moved the sticks a couple of times, but Clemson stopped the drive, forcing a punt. LSU punter, Zack Von Rosenberg, would place a nice punt, downed at the Clemson four yard line. However, the Tigers wasted little time, moving the ball on the LSU defense quickly down field. Clemson would go 96 yards in only four plays, scoring a touchdown on a 36 yard reverse sweep by Tee Higgins, extending their lead to 17-7 with 10:36 to go in the first half. In a game that so far was everything that everyone hoped it would be, LSU responded with a quick scoring drive of their own. It took the Tigers five plays to go 75 yards, highlighted by a 56 yard completion from Joe Burrow to Ja'Marr Chase down to the Clemson three yard line. Two plays later, Burrow would scamper into the end zone for the score on a quarterback draw, pulling LSU within three, 17-14. Clemson would need to punt it back to LSU with 7:22 to go in the half. The Tigers would put together a nice drive, going 87 yards in six plays, ending with Joe Burrow hitting Ja'Marr Chase in stride in the back corner of the end zone for a 14 yard touchdown. 21-17, LSU Tigers, with 5:19 left on the clock. The LSU defense, still playing well, held Clemson to a short five play drive, getting the ball back to the red hot LSU offense. Clemson would down their punt at the LSU five yard line. From there, Joe Burrow showed why he won the Heisman Trophy as he made play after key play, driving LSU 95 yards in 11 plays, taking 3:28 off the clock. On first and goal at the Clemson six yard line, Burrow found Thad Moss in the end zone for the score. The touchdown pass was Heisman Jeaux's third of the game. York converted the PAT, putting the Tigers up 28-17, with only ten seconds left on the clock. Lawrence would take a knee, ending the first half. Joe Burrow would end the half, 16/28, 270 yards passing, three touchdown passes. He would also lead LSU in rushing, picking up 67 yards on eight carries with a scoring run. Ja'Marr Chase finished the first half with 162 yard on six catches. The defense picked it up in the second quarter, confusing Lawrence and the Clemson offense. LSU would take the momentum into the locker room and will receive the ball to start the second half.
LSU would go three and out to start the third quarter. Clemson would start their first drive of the half at mid-field. Trevor Lawrence would drive his Tigers 50 yards in six plays, with Travis Etienne taking it in for the score from three yards out. Swinney would choose to go for two, and his team would convert, as Lawrence would hit Amari Rogers for the two points. With 10:49 to go in the quarter, Clemson closed the gap to 28-25. LSU would go three and out, punting the ball right back to the revived Clemson offense. LSU would extend their lead after forcing Clemson to punt, as Burrow Would drive the Tiger offense 68 yards in six plays, completing a four yard touchdown pass to Thaddius Moss. 35-25, LSU, with 5:13 to go in the third quarter. The LSU defense would stand strong against Lawrence and the Clemson offense again, stopping them after four plays, forcing them to punt it away again, back to Burrow. The Tigers drove 41 yards in four plays before the drive stalled at the Clemson 27. Cade York attepmted a 45 yard field goal, but missed. Clemson took over, but went three and out, giving it back to LSU as the 3rd quarter came to a close, with the score standing at 35-25.
LSU started the final quarter with another scoring drive that drove several more nails into the Clemson Tigers' coffin. The drive covered 57 yards, took eight plays, 3:42 off the clock, as Joe Burrow threw his 5th touchdown pass of the game, hitting Terrace Marshall Jr. from 24 yards out. Marshall was well covered, but made an outstanding grab for the score. The score gave LSU a commanding 42-25 lead. From this point on, the LSU defense was swarming and dominate. Clemson never threatened again as the defense in purple and gold shut them completely down. LSU would only have two more possessions in the game. One was an eight play drive that ate 5:24 off the clock. Then the last, was the final possession of the game, as the offense gave the Clemson defense a nice dose of Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who grinded for tough yardage while running out the game clock. As Joe Burrow took two final kneels in victory formation to end the game, the purple and gold confetti began to fly, and the celebration began.
Heisman Jeaux would finish the game 31/49, 463 yards passing, five touchdown passes, adding 84 yards on the ground with a rushing touchdown. Clyde Edwards-Helaire had 115 yards rushing on 16 carries. Ja'Marr Chase finished with 221 yards with nine grabs, and two touchdown catches. Justin Jefferson quietly had a good night catching nine balls for 106 yards. Thad Moss had 36 yards receiving and two touchdown in the game. The defense held Clemson in check late in both halves, as they continued to play like they have a huge chip on their shoulders, after being criticized all season long as LSU's weak link.
The 2019 LSU Fighting Tigers finish the season 15-0, SEC Champions, and National Champions. As Coach O would say.... "GEAUX TIGERS!!"
LINKS TO PHOTOS::
1 - Link to David Chivatero Pictures:
2 - Link to Jonathan Mailhes Pictures:
3 - Link to my photos from the press box:
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By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!