Clemson and LSU are meeting for the fourth time when the two Tigers face off in the College Football Playoff National Championship next Monday in New Orleans.
So far, the first three meetings in this series have all been close. The three games have been decided by seven points or less with the average margin of victory standing at 3.7 points.
The last time Clemson and LSU played the ACC’s Tigers rallied for a 25-24 victory. Clemson kicker Chandler Catanzaro made a 37-yard field goal as time expired in the 2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl at the old Georgia Dome.
Catanzaro’s winning kick, of course, was due to Tajh Boyd converting a fourth-and-16 pass to Deandre Hopkins for 26 yards. The Boyd-to-Hopkins play is considered one of the most famous plays in Clemson history and was the catalyst for the Tigers’ current run.
Since the 2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl, Clemson has become one of the elite programs in college football, beating other traditional powers such as Ohio State (3 times), Oklahoma (twice), Alabama (twice) and Notre Dame in postseason bowl games.
Of course, the two wins over Alabama came in the national championship, including last year’s 44-16 victory.
Clemson got beat 10-7 by the Bayou Bengals in the 1996 Peach Bowl. Though the score was close, the game was anything but exciting. Raymond Priester set a Clemson bowl record for rushing yardage with 151 yards during the 1996 Peach Bowl. On the defensive side of the ball, defensive lineman Trevor Pryce had three tackles for loss and one sack in addition to a caused fumble.
LSU scored its only touchdown of the game during the second quarter when Kevin Faulk ran three yards for a touchdown to tie the game, 7-7. LSU scored again during the quarter with a 22-yard field goal which gave LSU the lead for good. Neither team scored in the second half, as both defenses dominated.
Both defenses dominated the 1959 Sugar Bowl, too, which was the first meeting between the two programs.
Clemson moved to the LSU 27-yard line on its first drive of the second half, but a fumble gave the ball back to the other set of Tigers. On Clemson’s next possession, LSU got the break it had been looking for. On fourth down, the ball slipped out of snapper Paul Snyder’s hands and hit up-man Doug Cline in the leg, and Duane Leopard recovered for LSU at the Clemson 11.
LSU picked up two yards on its first three tries, but on fourth down, halfback Billy Cannon hit tight end Mickey Mangham in the corner of the end zone for the only score of the game. Cannon kicked the extra point and LSU led 7-0.
That turned out to be all the scoring in the game.
With Trevor Lawrence leading Clemson and Joe Burrow guiding LSU, next Monday’s national championship game has the potential to be the best of all the meetings. There will also be a lot more scoring, too.
Clemson is going back to the national championship game after once again winning the Fiesta Bowl over Ohio State. Get your official national championship and Fiesta Bowl champs gear right here!