Countdown to Kickoff: CFP National Championship

Countdown to Kickoff: CFP National Championship

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Countdown to Kickoff: CFP National Championship

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LSU vs. Clemson

NEW ORLEANS — Clemson will attempt to earn its second straight national title and their third championship in four years today when they face LSU in the College Football Playoff National Championship.

Another Clemson championship would be Clemson’s fourth football title in school history, joining the 1981, 2016 and 2018 squads. No ACC team has ever won back-to-back national championships as a member of the conference.

Game Information

Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans

Records: Clemson 14-0, 8-0 ACC; LSU 14-0, 8-0 SEC

When: Today, 8 p.m. (ET)

TV: ESPN (Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Maria Taylor and Tom Rinaldi)

Radio: Clemson Tigers Network (Don Munson, Brad Scott, Reggie Merriweather)

Latest Line: LSU minus-6 points

Series History

  • OVERALL: LSU leads series, 2-1
  • HOME: NA
  • ROAD: NA
  • NEUTRAL: 1-2
  • LAST MEETING: Dec. 31, 2012 (25-24, Clemson)

Three story lines

Clemson attempting to become the first team to win back-to-back national championships with a perfect record since 1994-95, when Nebraska won championships with records of 13-0 and 12-0 respectively. The only other schools to do so in the AP Poll era were Oklahoma (195556), Army (1944-45) and Minnesota (1940-41).

Clemson attempting to become the third team in the NCAA’s list of consensus national champions since 1950 to win three national championships in four years, joining 2009-12 Alabama and 1994-97 Nebraska. Clemson would be the fourth team in the AP Poll era (since 1936) to do so, a list that also includes 1946-49 Notre Dame.

The upcoming game in Louisiana against LSU could bear witness to one of the state’s native sons becoming the most prolific running back in Clemson history. Etienne, a native of Jennings, La., enters the contest with 3,960 career rushing yards, seven shy of breaking the school record of 3,966 set by Raymond Priester from 1994-97. Etienne is only 40 rushing yards away from becoming the ninth 4,000-yard rusher in ACC history.

LSU’s three players to watch

Joe Burrow, QB: The Heisman Trophy winner is first player in SEC history to go over the 4,000-yard/40 TD mark and the 5,000-yard/50 TD mark. He’s the SEC single-season record holder for passing yards (5,208) and passing TDs (55). He leads the nation in passing TDs (55), completion percentage (77.6) and points responsible for (354), and he’s second nationally in passing yards (5,208), yards per game (372.0), and total offense (394.2). In 14 games, Burrow has completed 371-of-478 passes for 5,208 yards, 55 TDs and only six interceptions. He’s thrown at least one TD pass in 18 straight games and he’s gone over the 300-yard mark in 14 of the last 17 games.

Ja’Marr Chase, WR: The Biletnikoff Award winner is tied with Justin Jefferson for the SEC single-season record with 18 receptions, which ranks No. 1 nationally. Chase has 75 receptions for 1,559 yards, while Jefferson has caught an SEC record 102 passes for 1,434 yards.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB: He led the SEC in rushing TDs with 16 and he’s No. 4 in the league in total TDs (17). He rushed for 100+ yards in six of LSU’s nine SEC games. His 1,304 rushing yards are the third-most in the SEC.

Prediction:

Though LSU and Clemson have two of the best offenses in the country, the theme of this game will be whoever plays defense the best will ultimately win. Clemson’s defense is one of the nation’s best in almost every major statistical category. Though Burrow will get his, I think Clemson’s defense in the end will perform better overall than LSU’s and will get a few more stops.

Score prediction: Clemson 40, LSU 30

–Clemson’s Athletic Communication department contributed to this story

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