NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Joe Burrow threw five touchdown passes, ran for another score and capped one of the greatest seasons in college football history by leading No. 1 LSU to a 42-25 victory against No. 3 Clemson Monday night to win the national championship.
The loss ended Clemson’s 29-game winning streak and denied the Tigers consecutive national championships and a third in four seasons.
The small-town Ohio kid turned Louisiana legend delivered the Tigers their first national title since 2007 and fourth overall, breaking a few more records along the way. The five TD passes and 463 yards passing set records for a College Football Playoff title game as did his six total touchdowns.
LSU outgained Clemson 602-384 and limited the Tigers to 1-11 on third down tries, significantly below their 46% season average.
Clemson led 17-7 in the second quarter on the strength of a Lawrence one-yard touchdown run, a 52-yard field goal by B.T. Potter, a Clemson postseason record, and Tee Higgins’ 36-yard touchdown run on an end around.
But Burrow scored his rushing touchdown and threw for two more before the half for a 28-17 lead at the break.
Travis Etienne’s three-yard touchdown run, which may have been the last of his ACC record 56 career rushing touchdowns, and a two-point conversion pass to Amari Rodgers, brought Clemson within three at 28-25 in the third quarter.
Etienne’s 78 rushing yards pushed him past Raymond Priester for the school’s career rushing record as he stands at 4,038. The junior may have played his final game for Clemson with the option to leave early for the NFL Draft.
But after a targeting penalty against Clemson linebacker Jamie Skalski led to his ejecting, Burrow found T.J. Moss on a short TD toss to built the lead to 35-25 and Clemson never seriously threatened after that.
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