Final score: LSU 42, Clemson 25
• Burrow threw for 463 yards as he set the single-season FBS record for touchdown passes and narrowly missed the record for best completion percentage in a season with a 31-of-49 passing effort for five scores and rushed for another.
• After an LSU punt and a Clemson drive to midfield, Trevor Lawrence fumbled the ball back and this thing appears to be over with just over two minutes left.
• Clemson forced to punt after Higgins’ controversial offensive pass interference penalty took away a long TD and moved the team back into its own territory.
• Two key pass interference calls — one on each team. An offensive pass interference call on Clemson’s Tee Higgins wiped what would have been a 49-yard touchdown catch of his off the board.
• The four coaches on ESPN’s “Coaches Film Room” broadcast of the game called out Terrace Marshall’s TD before it happened. It’s almost like they get paid to coach football.
The Coaches Film Room called this play before it happened. Amazing. pic.twitter.com/RygA3rPaJx— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) January 14, 2020
• Burrow hits Terrace Marshall for the wide receiver’s first touchdown of the night. It’s Burrow’s 60th TD pass of the season.
LSU 42, Clemson 25, 12:08 left fourth quarter
GO UP AND GET IT pic.twitter.com/2mAPcssOlN— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) January 14, 2020
• Clemson doesn’t capitalize on the missed field goal and punts the ball away after holding onto it for just 50 seconds. The Tigers are just 1-of-10 on third down.
• LSU kicker Cade York misses from 45 yards away. York is now 21-of-27 on field goals this season. There’s 1:40 to go in the third quarter.
• Clemson can’t do anything after the penalty and has to punt with less than four minutes to go in the quarter.
• LSU CB Kristian Fulton picks off Lawrence but he interfered with Justyn Ross before the pick so it doesn’t count. The penalty is LSU’s eighth.
• By the way, Chase is now up to 218 yards receiving and two touchdowns on eight catches. Burrow has 400 total yards. He’s thrown for 343 and rushed for 57.
• A play after Skalski was tossed for targeting, Burrow finds Moss again for a TD. That throw is Burrow’s 59th TD of the season and breaks the single-season record for passing TDs. The record of 58 was previously set by Hawaii’s Colt Brennan in 2006.
LSU 35, Clemson 25, 5:13 left third quarter
• Clemson linebacker James Skalski has been ejected for targeting on a hit on Justin Jefferson. Skalski has been one of Clemson’s best defenders all evening.
• Clemson had a near-interception on LSU’s previous drive and LSU has a near-interception on this Clemson drive. The ACC Tigers punt back to the SEC Tigers.
• A sack of Burrow on a first-down blitz puts LSU behind the chains and the Tigers punt for the second time in the third quarter. Can Clemson get a tying or go-ahead score?
• LSU has 358 yards and Clemson has 321 yards two possessions into the third quarter.
• Clemson is not going away. Travis Etienne sneaks into the end zone after a six-play drive and Clemson goes for 2 after the TD. Trevor Lawrence hits Amari Rodgers for the conversion.
LSU 28, Clemson 25, 10:49 left third quarter
• Clemson sacks Burrow on third down to start the third quarter. Huge stand for the defense and then LSU interferes with the Clemson returner on the punt. The Tigers will start at midfield.
• Clemson elects to just take it to halftime after the LSU TD. LSU will get the ball first to start the second half. A TD to start the half will have Clemson on the ropes.
• Joe Burrow finds Thaddeus Moss — he’s Randy’s kid — for a six-yard TD with just 10 seconds to go before halftime. Clemson’s defense had LSU stopped on this drive but a horrid pass interference penalty on a third-and-20 extended the drive.
LSU 28, Clemson 17, 0:10 left second quarter
• The LSU defense gets a stop again. The Clemson offense is just 1-of-7 on third downs so far despite racking up 288 yards of offense in less than 27 minutes of football.
• LSU’s offense has found its groove. Burrow to Chase. Again. Touchdown. Chase is just uncoverable in single coverage.
The Joe Burrow to Ja'Marr Chase combination is UNSTOPPABLE right now pic.twitter.com/j0odjPIjXm— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) January 14, 2020
LSU 21, Clemson 17, 5:19 left second quarter
• LSU forces Clemson to punt. This could be a big shift here halfway through the second quarter. Burrow has gotten more comfortable after the first few series.
• A long pass from Burrow to Chase again sets up an LSU TD on a Burrow run on third and goal. Not long after going down 10 points, LSU pulls back within three.
Take a look at this toss.
An absolute DIME from Joe Burrow 🤩 pic.twitter.com/fLArxU2HyM— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) January 14, 2020
Clemson 17, LSU 14, 9:17 left second quarter
• The long field did not matter at all for Clemson. The Tigers went 96 yards in four plays as Tee Higgins took a toss on a reverse for a 36-yard touchdown. Remember, Clemson hasn’t lost in over two calendar years.
Clemson 17, LSU 7, 10:38 left second quarter
TEE HIGGINS SAID "GET OFF ME" pic.twitter.com/BWwPSrwZS3— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) January 14, 2020
• LSU punts for the fourth time in five possessions and pins Clemson at the 4. The Tigers had something going with a Burrow scramble on first down but the drive stalled after that.
• B.T. Potter drains a 52-yard field goal for Clemson.
Clemson 10, LSU 7, 13:43 left second quarter
Dabo knew it was going in all along 😂 pic.twitter.com/LUnS2jUsos— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) January 14, 2020
• The quarter ends with Clemson having possession on LSU’s side of the field.
• The LSU offense is alive! Burrow finds Biletnikoff winner Ja’Marr Chase in single coverage for the 52-yard TD.
Clemson 7, LSU 7, 2:20 left first quarter
• Clemson punts. That’s six punts in seven possessions.
• LSU has to punt on its third possession. The Tigers offense looks all out of sync at the moment.
• Trevor Lawrence scores a 1-yard TD on Clemson’s third drive for the first score of the game. The Clemson drive was boosted by a long pass to TE Braden Galloway — he missed the playoff a year ago because of a PED suspension — and another pass to Tee Higgins.
Clemson 7, LSU 0, 6:34 left first quarter.
• LSU punts again. This is not a fake live blog.
• Second possession, same result for Clemson. Tigers go three and out and punt back to LSU.
• LSU goes three and out on its first drive after an ineligible man downfield penalty took away an incredible escape by Joe Burrow from a sack and a deep completion to tight end Thaddeus Moss.
This play was called back due to an ineligible man downfield, but this is Joe Burrow in a nutshell pic.twitter.com/vCuSwYxrrl— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) January 14, 2020
• Clemson’s first drive quickly got into LSU territory but Grant Delpit blitzed late on third down and sacked Trevor Lawrence. The sack pushed Clemson out of field goal range and forced the Tigers to punt.
• Clemson won the toss and received.
• President Donald Trump took the field for the national anthem. He did not sing along like he did in 2018.
How the crowd reacted when President Donald Trump walked in to the National Championship Game. pic.twitter.com/1a0nyLrYNV— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) January 14, 2020
More on the College Football Playoff title game:
HOW THESE TEAMS GOT HERE
LSU: LSU ascended to new heights in its third season with Ed Orgeron as full-time head coach. And it took a major shift in offensive philosophy for the Tigers to take off. All offseason, Orgeron talked up his decision to hire New Orleans Saints assistant Joe Brady to run the offense alongside longtime confidant Steve Ensminger. It wasn’t just lip service. LSU went from the 69th-best offense in college football in 2018 to the No. 1 offense in 2019, earning Brady the Broyles Award, given to college football’s top assistant.
Brady’s influence on the team was evident early in the year, but so was the progression of quarterback Joe Burrow. Burrow transferred to Baton Rouge from Ohio State, but was average in his first year as the team’s starter. It was pretty clear when Burrow threw for 471 yards and four TDs in a Week 2 win over Texas that things would be different this year.
From there, LSU cruised through non-conference play and beat four top-10 SEC opponents — Florida, Auburn, Alabama and Georgia — en route to its first conference title since 2011. The win over Alabama halted an eight-game losing streak in the series and launched Burrow to the top of the Heisman conversation. Burrow ended up winning the award in a landslide, becoming the first LSU Heisman winner since Billy Cannon in 1959.
In the CFP semifinal against Oklahoma, Burrow put forth a Heisman-worthy performance, throwing for 493 yards and seven TDs in a 63-28 win. Now the Tigers get to compete for the national title in New Orleans for the fourth time (2003, 2007 and 2011) in the last 20 years.
Clemson: The Tigers are returning to the site of their last loss. Clemson lost 24-6 to Alabama on Jan. 1, 2018 in the Sugar Bowl, a CFP semifinal, as the Crimson Tide advanced to play and beat Georgia for the national title. Clemson’s been on a 29-game win streak since then, a streak that’s aligned with the arrival of Trevor Lawrence. The sophomore QB has thrown for over 6,700 yards and 66 touchdowns over those 29 games and running back Travis Etienne has rushed for over 3,000 yards and scored 48 touchdowns.
The Tigers destroyed Alabama a year ago to cap a 15-0 season and win the national title. They continued that run this season and have outscored opponents by an average score of 45-11. There were a couple of close calls, however.
Clemson beat North Carolina 21-20 in September and only held on when the Tar Heels went for two in the final seconds and didn’t get it. From there, Clemson easily marched through ACC play, capped off by a 62-17 win over Virginia in the ACC title game. The CFP semifinal game against Ohio State presented much more resistance. OSU led at halftime before Clemson stormed back to win 29-23 and advance to play LSU. A win on Monday night would stretch Clemson’s win streak to over two calendar years and 30 games and establish the program as the de facto best of the playoff era.