Joe Burrow capped an already historic college football season in emphatic fashion, rewriting a flurry of records as LSU defeated Clemson 42-25 to win the College Football Playoff national championship in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Monday night.
The newly-crowned Heisman Trophy winner threw five touchdown passes and ran for another, as the Tigers clinched a first national title in 12 years and completed a perfect 15-0 season.
Having thrown for seven touchdowns in the first alone as LSU trounced Oklahoma 63-28 in the CFP semifinal last month, Burrow faced an altogether different challenge in the biggest game of his career as the Tigers found themselves in the unusual position of trailing halfway through the second quarter.
Down 17-7 in the second period, Burrow connected with his favorite receiver Ja’Marr Chase to set up a quarterback draw to make it 17-14, before the wide receiver gave LSU its first lead of the game with just five minutes left before halftime.
Expertly piloted by Burrow, the Tigers never relinquished the lead, stopping Clemson’s winning streak at 29 games.
In the third quarter, Burrow’s four-yard pass to Thaddeus Moss brought his tally of touchdown passes for the season to 59, breaking the record set by by former Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan in 2006.
The Tigers signal caller added a further touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, finishing the game with five touchdown passes and completing 31 of 49 passes for 463 yards.
Burrow’s performance in New Orleans means he set single-season records for both touchdown passes and touchdowns responsible for with 60 and 65 respectively. He also became only the 16th player in history to win the national title and the Heisman Trophy in the same season, after landing the latter in a landslide last month.
“It’s years of hard work paying off,” Burrow told ESPN’s Maria Taylor after the game. “This is an incredible moment for our program, for Baton Rouge, for Louisiana. This is just so special—I’m kind of speechless.”
After throwing his fifth touchdown of the night, Burrow pointed to his ring finger in celebration and later revealed the team had already been fitted for championship rings.
The 23-year-old, who transferred to LSU from Ohio State in May 2018, has racked up records at a rate of knots during what has been a breakthrough season for him.
Burrow became the first player in SEC history to throw for at least 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in the same season, setting a new school and conference record with 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns.
The Tigers quarterback also set school single-season records for passing yards per game, completions and total offense.
LSU’s head coach Ed Orgeron was understandably full of praise for Burrow, who is widely expected to be selected with the first overall pick at the NFL draft in April.
“He’s one of the greatest players in LSU history,” he said. “He’s done so much for the state of Louisiana and LSU. We are so grateful to Joe Burrow.”