- Tony Thomas
LSU has dominated in 2019. LSU (14-0), champions of the SEC, will face Clemson (14-0) for the National Championship on January 13 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Kickoff is set for 7:15 pm on ESPN.
Success vs. Top 10 Teams
Six of LSU’s 14 wins have come against Top 10 teams. Clemson is the seventh Top 10 team LSU will face this season, the most of any team in college football history. Dating back to 2018, LSU has won 10 games, including seven straight, over Top 10 teams.
LSU has won 15 straight games dating back to last year and is coming off a 63-28 win over #4 Oklahoma in the CFP National Semifinal/Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl.
The Tigers have been ranked as a Top 25 team in 43 of 48 games under coach Ed Orgeron, who was selected as National Coach of the Year.
Coach O brings a 39-9 record with the Tigers into the title game. LSU is 15-2 vs non-conference opponents under Orgeron. And since 2001, the Tigers are 80-9 vs non-conference opponents. 20 of those wins have come against Top 25 teams.
Of Orgeron’s 39 wins, 11 have come against Top 10 teams, and 17 have come against Top 25 teams. His 39 wins are second-most in school history (behind Les Miles) over 48 games, and 30 of those wins have been won by double-digits.
Under Coach O, LSU is 22-1 when having a 100-yard rusher, including 6-0 this year. And, the Tigers are 37-2 when reaching the 20-point mark.
“Jeaux Burreaux”-Efficient, Explosive, and a Clutch Player
QB Joe Burrow became only the second LSU player in the last 60 years to win the Heisman, and he won it in a landslide.
In 14 games, Burrow has had one of the most efficient and productive seasons for a quarterback in college football history:
- 5, 208 yards passing (2nd nationally), 311 rushing yards.
- 55 passing touchdowns, 6 INTs, four rushing touchdowns.
- 77.6% completion percentage (NCAA record). The best of any Heisman winner.
- 204.6 passer rating.
- Completion percentage on 1st down= 78.8%
- Passer rating on 1st down= 222.5
- 1st downs on 1st downs= 116
- Deep passing completion % (20+yards)= 56.5%
- Deep passing TD’s= 23
In the red zone, Burrow has thrown 31 touchdowns and ZERO interceptions. And in tie games, he has a passer rating of 234.5.
He has thrown a touchdown pass in 18 straight games and has gone over the 300-yard mark in 14 of 17 games.
Burrow was the first quarterback in the SEC to go over 4000 yards/40 TDs and the 5000 yards/50 TDs mark.
Best Receiving Corps in the Country
Biletnikoff Award winner Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson are tied for the SEC single-season record with 18 receiving touchdowns. Chase has 75 catches for 1559 yards, while Jefferson has 102 receptions (SEC record) for 1,434 yards.
Jefferson is coming off a record-setting performance against Oklahoma in the National Semifinal Game. He caught 14 passes for 227 yards and four touchdowns.
TE Thaddeus Moss holds the single-season record for receptions (42) and yards (534) by a tight end.
Clyde Offers an Extra Dimension
RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire led the SEC in rushing touchdowns with 16. He is #4 in the league in total touchdowns with 17. Clyde’s 1,304 yards are the third-most in the SEC.
But, he also has caught 50 passes for 399 yards out of the backfield. This adds an extra dimension to his game that opposing defenses must account for. Edwards-Helaire is now 100% healthy after suffering a hamstring injury in practice earlier in the month of December during preparations for the national championship game.
A Much Improved Defense
The Tigers are much improved on defense and are peaking at the right time. Over the last four games, LSU has allowed 65 points, 27 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, and six interceptions. Over that span, LSU is allowing 270 yards of total offense, allowed 10 points in the first quarter, and allowed 23 points in the first half. The Tigers held Oklahoma to under 100-yards rushing.
LB Jacob Phillips leads the team in tackles with 105 (he had 6 vs Oklahoma). CB Derek Stingley has six interceptions on the season, with two coming against Georgia in the SEC title game. LB K’Lavon Chaisson has 6.5 sacks and 13,5 tackles for loss on the season, with 4.5 sacks coming in the last three games.
At Home in a Dome
LSU will be making its 42nd overall appearance in a domed stadium against Clemson in the title game. At the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, LSU is 6-1 since 2000.
The Tigers have won nine straight in domed venues since a 37-27 win over TCU at AT&T Stadium in 2013.
LSU is 33-8 all-time in domed stadiums.
Playing to Stay Ahead
The Tigers are currently riding a streak of 25 quarters without trailing an opponent, and they haven’t trailed in the fourth quarter all season.
In fact, they have trailed in only five games in 2019: at Texas, vs NW State, at Vanderbilt, vs Florida, vs Auburn. The Auburn game on October 26 is the last time LSU has trailed in a game.
Scoring Points, and a Lot of Them
LSU has set a new school record for most games scoring 40 points or more with 11. Over 14 games, the Tigers have scored a record 684 points and are averaging 48.9 points per game. That surpassed the previous record of 38 points per game set in 2007.
Re-writing the Record Books
The Tigers have re-written nearly every school record in 2019. They have combined for 2,337 yards rushing and 5,561 yards passing. They currently sit at 7,898 yards of total offense (surpasses the previous record of 6,125) and has scored 68 touchdowns, surpassing the record of 66 in 2007.
Against Ole Miss, LSU gained 714 yards, the most in an SEC game in school history.
The title game vs Clemson will be LSU’s 52nd bowl appearance and the Tigers own a 27-23-1 record all-time in bowl games.
Since 2000, LSU has played in 20 straight bowl games and has a 13-7 record over that span. That streak ranks fourth nationally.
The main reason for LSU’s offensive turnaround in 2019 has been the hiring of Joe Brady as Passing Game Coordinator and his installation of the RPO-Spread offense.
Brady was hired away last February from the New Orleans Saints and is the architect of the most prolific offense in college football history. This is a style of offense that was coveted by Coach O when he became the permanent head coach in 2017.
But the unsung hero in all of this success has to be veteran Offensive Coordinator Steve Ensminger. His setting aside of his ego for the betterment of the team, working seamlessly with the 29-year old Brady, has contributed just as much if not more to the Tigers magical run to the National Championship Game and to their success in 2019.
LSU has dominated in 2019. Can they do it one more time? Will LSU’s high-powered offense move the ball against Clemson’s vaunted defense? We will see.
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