LSU Wins the SEC Championship

LSU senior quarterback Joe Burrow (9) runs down the field during the Tigers' 37-10 victory over Georgia on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Mercedes Benz Stadium.

ATLANTA, Ga. – The disparity between No. 1 LSU and No. 4 Oklahoma was so great a LSU starter, senior guard Adrian Magee, sent out a tweet during halftime.

The Tigers (14-0) were in the midst of routing Oklahoma and clinching a spot in the National Title Game with 63-28 win in the Peach Bowl. It’s the first time LSU has reached the 14-0 mark, and the Tigers have a chance to join the 2018 Clemson Tigers as the only teams to go 15-0 in a single season.

Heisman Trophy winner and senior quarterback Joe Burrow led LSU to its first College Football Playoff win in school history. Burrow, who was named offensive most valuable player, and LSU’s offense were unstoppable, quickly carving up Oklahoma (12-2) and scoring at ease.

Burrow completed 29-of-39 passes for 493 yards and seven touchdowns to go along with a rushing touchdown. Burrow threw for 403 yards and seven touchdowns in the first half alone as LSU raced out to a 49-14 lead over Oklahoma (12-2).

And with Oklahoma focused on stopping sophomore wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, Junior wide receiver Justin Jefferson was the primary beneficiary of Burrow’s arm. Jefferson set multiple bowl records with 14 catches for 227 yards and four touchdowns.

"When someone's hot, why not keep going to them," Jefferson said. "So Joe just kept finding me on the field, just making those big plays. Just like Coach said, on the big plays, feel the emotion. So just going out there, doing what I got to do."

LSU’s offense had no problem moving the ball with junior running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire sidelined most of the day with a hamstring injury. The Tigers finished with 692 yards and 31 first downs. Sophomore Chris Curry filled in admirably for Edwards-Helaire and rushed for 89 yards on 16 carries.

LSU offense was also hit with tragic news prior to the game. Local media member Carley McCord died in a plane crash in Lafayette, Louisiana, on her way to Atlanta early Saturday.

McCord is the daughter-in-law of LSU offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger. Ensminger remained with the team in Atlanta and still called the plays, but he was seen wiping away tears in pregame warmups as multiple LSU players offered their condolences to the former LSU quarterback and longtime coach.

LSU coaches were told of the news a few hours before kickoff, but the news was withheld from most players while some had found out from friends and family.

"It was tough. It was tough," said LSU coach Ed Orgeron, who broke the news to Ensminger. "I didn't want the team to know. I didn't want it to affect the team, the mindset of the football team, the energy of the football team. Neither did Steve. We tried to keep it from them. I think they found out before the game. There was a little concern they might be a little low, but it sure wasn't the way we started. Give credit to your football players.

On the opposite side of the ball, defensive coordinator Dave Aranda and his unit put together one of its best performances of the season. Oklahoma entered as sixth-ranked scoring offense with 43.2 points per game and second in yards with 554.4 per game, which only trailed LSU at 554.5 yards per game.

LSU forced three-and-outs and gave up negative seven yards combined on Oklahoma’s first two series. Quarterback Jalen Hurts was ineffective, throwing for 217 yards and an interception on 15-of-31 passing and 43 yards on 14 rushing attempts.

Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb was the lone spark for the Sooners offensive, catching four passes for 119 yards.

Sophomore linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson was named defensive MVP after finishing with six tackles and two sacks. Junior linebackers Jacob Phillips and Patrick Queen both finished with eight tackles each as well.

When asked what to put the season in perspective so far, Burrow refused to look back. His focus was on what's next.

"I think that will be a question after January 13th," Burrow said. "I'm not reflecting on anything right now. We're full steam ahead, getting back to work."

With the win, LSU will play the winner of No. 2 Ohio State (13-0) and No. 3 Clemson (13-0) in the National Championship game on Jan. 13. The Tigers won’t have to travel far and have a chance to win its fourth national title in New Orleans.

LSU previously won the 2003 and 2007 National Championships in New Orleans but lost in to Alabama in 2011, which was also in New Orleans.

 

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