NEW ORLEANS — With 10:38 to play in the first half, Clemson had a 10-point lead. At halftime, they trailed 28-17.
Joe Burrow threw two touchdown passes and ran for another as the Bayou Bengals embarrassed Clemson’s defense in the second quarter with 269 total yards and three touchdowns as they scored 21 unanswered points to close the quarter.
Clemson did not give three touchdown passes to any quarterback all season and Burrow had three in the opening half. The Heisman Trophy winner completed 16-28 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns in the first half.
The Clemson defense was embarrassed by Burrow and his receivers. Ja’Marr Chase got 6 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns, including a 52-yard pass from Burrow that tied the game at 7 with 2:20 to play in the half.
After Clemson took a 17-7 lead on a B.T. Potter 52-yard field goal and a 36-yard touchdown run on a reverse by Tee Higgins, Burrow started his assault on the Clemson defense.
After going just 6-11 for 84 yards in the first quarter, he was 10-17 in the second quarter for 186. He also ran for 58 yards on seven carries in the second, including a 34-yard run a third-and-long play to set up his 6-yard touchdown pass to Thaddeus Moss with 10 seconds left in the half.
Clemson appeared to have had LSU stopped on its last scoring drive, but Derion Kendrick was called for a critical pass interference penalty that kept the drive alive.
The ACC’s Tigers had 286 total yards in the first half and controlled the game for much of the half. Trevor Lawrence completed 12-22 passes for 176 yards, while Travis Etienne ran for 64 yards on 10 carries.
However, Clemson was 1-7 on third down and several drives at or around midfield. LSU was 3-7 on third down.
Clemson got on the scoreboard first when Lawrence ran around the right side on second-and-goal from the 1-yard line with 6:34 to play in the first quarter.
LSU tied the game just before the end of the first quarter when Burrow hit Chase for the 52-yard touchdown. Burrow also ran 3 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.