NEW ORLEANS — For the first time since 2014, someone other than Clemson or Alabama has won the national championship in college football. Joe Burrow and the LSU Tigers concluded their magical season with a 42-25 victory over Clemson Monday to win the 2019 National Championship.
The loss also snapped Clemson’s 29-game winning streak, which tied an ACC record. It was their first loss since losing to Alabama in the Superdome in the 2018 Sugar Bowl.
Clemson had no answer for Burrow or his wide receivers, Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson. Burrow completed 31-49 passes for a championship game record 463 yards and five touchdowns. He also ran for a score and rushed for 58 yards.
Chase, who did most of his damage in the first half, finished the game with 221 yards on nine catches and scored two touches, while Jefferson had nine catches for 106 yards.
LSU finished with a CFP Championship record 628 total yards.
While it seemed everything went right for LSU, it was just the opposite for Clemson. Especially from the second quarter on.
LSU scored 21-unanswered points in the second quarter after Clemson took a 17-7 lead with 10:38 to play in the game. Burrow threw two touchdown passes and ran for another as the Bayou Bengals embarrassed Clemson’s defense with 269 total yards and three touchdowns in the second stanza.
Clemson did not give up three touchdown passes to any quarterback all season, but 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. Chase caught 6 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, 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 with 10:38 to play in the second quarter 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 yards. He also ran for 58 yards on seven carries in the second, including a 34-yard run a third-and-14 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. LSU led 28-17 at the break.
Clemson tried to get back in the game and cut LSU’s lead to three points, 28-25, following a Travis Etienne 3-yard touchdown run and a Trevor Lawrence to Justyn Rodgers’ conversion with 10:49 to play in the third quarter.
But later in the quarter, Clemson lost starting linebacker James Skalski to a targeting call, which led to an LSU touchdown and then in the fourth quarter, Tee Higgins was called for an offensive pass interference penalty which wiped away a 48-yard touchdown pass. Replay revealed that Higgins perhaps should not have been called for pass interference.
But Clemson was it’s own worst enemy, though. It converted just 1-11 third downs, while LSU was just 4-14, but converted big ones when they needed them the most, especially in the second quarter.
Lawrence finished the game 18-37 for 234 yards. He ran for a 1-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Monday night’s loss was the first of his Clemson career and just third ever counting high school. He is now 25-1 as a starting quarterback at Clemson.
Etienne finished the game with 78 yards and one touchdown.
Clemson finishes its season 14-1, while LSU joins the 2018 Clemson Tigers as the only two 15-0 teams of the modern era.