Clemson vs. LSU: The National College Football Championship


Bree Soto, Writer

The 2020 College Football Championship was a back and forth battle between two fierce teams of tigers. The Clemson and LSU Tigers, two undefeated teams, faced off on Monday night’s championship. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence helmed Clemson’s offense, while Joe Burrow, the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner, led LSU’s. 

To start the big game, Clemson opened with a huge first drive but were unable to fully capitalize when LSU’s defense flared to life. Clemson quarterback, Trevor Lawerence, was sacked, forcing a turnover. LSU’s opening drive made little progress and was stopped around the five-yard line. Joe Burrow threw two incompletions before having to punt the ball away. Clemson had an equally quiet drive. Clemson’s defense put the pressure on Burrow, and although he made his first completion of the night, he was never allowed the space to control the field like he’s used to. 

Clemson’s next drive was filled with penalties on both teams. Wide receiver, Tee Higgins, negated a near-touchdown play with an illegal blindside block, but Lawrence corrected the error. He ran in the first touchdown of the night after LSU received a penalty for illegal use of hands. 

Burrow was unable to find anything after being sacked and throwing several incompletions. The LSU offense was stuck, but the team’s defense was able to make yet another stop. Burrow began showing signs of life and confidence once again, the likes of which made him the Heisman’s Trophy winner. He threw a fifty-two-yard touchdown to wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase before the end of the first quarter. 

Clemson had the ball to open the second. LSU’s junior safety, JaCoby Stevens, went down before the quarter started and had to be walked off the field by a staff member. Trevor Lawrence was nearly sacked but managed to toss the football to a teammate before being stopped only a few yards away. Clemson kicked a field goal, giving them a three-point lead. Burrow got a good run for a first down, eluding Clemson’s defense. However, Clemson linebacker, Isiah Simmons, shut down the offensive drive. 

Starting at the four-yard line, Clemson was able to carry the ball down the field ninety-six yards. Lawrence created space for his offensive line and he threw to Higgins, who straddled the sideline for a thirty-six-yard touchdown rush, making the score 17-7. This was the first time LSU had been down by double digits all season. Joe Burrow responded with a touchdown of his own, rushing three yards into the end zone. 

Tee Higgins continued to make explosive plays for the Clemson offense throughout the night, but the team was never able to capitalize on each of his plays. LSU’s Justin Jefferson made his first big plays of the night after making catches thrown by Burrow. Chase finished up the drive with a fourteen-yard touchdown reception, giving LSU their first lead of the game. Clemson’s Davis suffered an ankle injury during this drive. 

As the half drew to a close, LSU’s defensive line dismantled Lawrence’s offense, who didn’t find much to turn the tide for the remainder of the game. LSU moved the ball down the field after gaining fifteen yards when Clemson received a call for pass interference. Jefferson carried the ball to the field goal line, where Coach Orgeron was forced to use his last time out of the half to keep from getting a penalty for delay of game. Fortunately for LSU, Burrow threw an easy six-yard pass to Moss for a touchdown, further extending the lead ten seconds before halftime.

After halftime, it was LSU’s ball first and Burrow seemed to be injured. Clemson running back, Travis Etienne, rushed three yards for a touchdown and Lawrence delivered on a two-point conversion, leaving them behind only three points. This was Clemson’s first successful two-point conversion of the season.

Chase and Jefferson continued to make great gains for the LSU offense and eventually put Burrow in a position to throw a four-yard touchdown to Moss, increasing the lead to ten points. Clemson failed to respond, however, their defense made an important stop to Burrow and his offense. LSU’s kicker, Cade York, missed a forty-five-yard field goal. 

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, LSU scored another touchdown when Marshall caught a twenty-four-yard pass. Trevor Lawrence seemed to be out of sorts for the majority of the half, often overthrowing his receivers. 

A pass interference call on Higgins cost Clemson a touchdown early in the quarter. Clemson’s defense started to show signs of life as the game drew to a close, but their offense never capitalized on opportunities to score. Lawrence fumbled the ball after gaining several yards and LSU had the ball once again. LSU took victory formation and despite the rocky start to LSU’s offense, they secured the championship. The final score was 42-25, ending Clemson’s twenty-nine game winning streak and giving LSU their first championship title since 2007.

Coach Orgeron said that this season of LSU Tigers are “a team for the ages,” citing Joe Burrow as the reason for their success. “We couldn’t have done it without Joe. He’s a special young man,” Orgeron said. “He’s done so much for the state of Louisiana and LSU. We are so grateful for Joe Burrow.” 

Joe Burrow had previously declared for the NFL Draft and is now projected to be the number one pick.