NEW ORLEANS — Maybe no quarterback defines “proper place on the proper time” greater than LSU’s Joe Burrow. And he proved that with excellent timing on the largest stage.
Burrow accomplished 31 of 49 for 463 yards and 5 touchdowns, including 58 yards and one other rating, in No. 1 LSU’s 42-25 victory in opposition to No. three Clemson within the School Soccer Playoff championship recreation on Monday. But to quantify what Burrow achieved primarily based merely on his astronomical statistics would oversimplify the journey that acquired him there.
There isn’t any equation that explains how Burrow represented his hometown, residence state and his remaining faculty vacation spot.
“I do not know what else to say,” Burrow mentioned within the postgame information convention. “There’s been so many individuals which have come into this — that helped me alongside my journey from Ohio, Louisiana, in all places. We could not have finished it with a greater group of men.”
MORE: The place Burrow’s season ranks amongst all-time greats
That is quintessential Burrow. The previous Mr. Ohio Soccer transferred from Ohio State after three years and endured a tricky first season at LSU in 2018 earlier than erupting in a brand new offense crafted by offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger and first-year passing coordinator Joe Brady, who came visiting from the New Orleans Saints.
That was a part of a complete transformation for Burrow, who completed with 5,671 passing yards and 60 passing touchdowns in 2019. It resulted in a Heisman Trophy. It resulted in New Orleans, of all locations, in such storybook style that Burrow was left “speechless.” But it was Burrow’s phrases that may without end be felt in his hometown of Athens, Ohio — particularly after the unforgettable speech throughout the Heisman ceremony that raised greater than half 1,000,000 to native meals pantries.
Burrow was placed on the spot within the Playoff, and he opened with 515 whole yards and eight whole touchdowns in a 63-28 romp in opposition to Oklahoma within the Peach Bowl semifinal on Dec. 28. Within the encore, he delivered in a battle of 14-Zero groups in opposition to a Clemson program that had gained 29 straight video games and had future No. 1 choose Trevor Lawrence on the opposite sideline. It’s the best two-game stretch in School Soccer Playoff historical past: even higher than what Deshaun Watson pulled off throughout his time at Clemson.
Burrow did that with excellent timing within the championship recreation. After Clemson took the 7-Zero lead and compelled three-and-outs on LSU’s first three possessions, Burrow responded with a 52-yard landing go to Ja’Marr Chase on a vertical shot play down the appropriate sideline. When Clemson took a 10-point lead within the second quarter, Burrow led a pair of landing drives.
The defining play got here when LSU confronted a third-and-10 with 21 seconds left within the half at Clemson’s 35-yard-line. LSU coach Ed Orgeron referred to as a timeout.
“Joe was going to take the ball in his arms,” Orgeron mentioned. “A few of these performs had been passes referred to as that Joe ran. A few of these performs had been runs that Joe handed. Simply give the good gamers a chance to make performs, and he did.”
Burrow scrambled 29 yards up the center for a primary down, then threw a 6-yard landing to Thaddeus Moss on the subsequent play. That gave LSU a commanding 28-17 halftime lead.
MORE: The place did Joe Burrow switch from?
When Clemson made another push to shut the result in 28-25 within the third quarter, Burrow led two extra landing drives. The final rating – a 24-yard landing with 12:08 left within the fourth quarter, despatched the LSU partisan crowd went into early Mardi Gras mode.
“Callin’ Baton Rouge” blared from the loudspeakers. The JumboTron minimize to Burrow, who inspired the LSU band because it performed “Neck” by waving his arm up and down. Then, he broke out that assured smile that contaminated Baton Rouge, La, this season.
It got here on the excellent time, and left his counterpart impressed. Lawrence — whose arrival got here in final yr’s 44-16 romp in opposition to Alabama within the championship recreation — completed 18 of 37 passing for 234 yards and no passing scores.
“I imply he is nice,” Lawrence mentioned of Burrow. “He is unbelievable. I’ve acquired quite a lot of respect for him, and simply his journey.”
Burrow strolled into the information convention after tossing an unfinished cigar. He was requested about what the min meant for the state of Louisiana, a second residence full with quite a few balconies that carried banners that merely learn “Geaux Jeaux.” It’s the identical neighborhood help he felt when he led Athens Excessive Faculty to the Division III state championship recreation as a senior.
“This does not occur,” Burrow mentioned. “This does not come round yearly. It is a particular group of men that basically got here collectively, and it is as shut a bunch as I have been round.”
MORE: Joe Burrow, Sporting Information’ 2019 Participant of the 12 months
It is a group that will likely be remembered, too, with Burrow within the lead position. He is the one who remodeled LSU from a program that was second place to Alabama to a staff that will likely be thrust into the conversations concerning the all-time best groups.
With that comes everlasting superstar. Burrow will likely be positioned within the debate of best seasons in faculty soccer historical past, and his subsequent residence could be again in Ohio because the No. 1 choose of the Cincinnati Bengals within the 2020 NFL Draft. At the least, he ought to be. Burrow could be the appropriate quarterback on the proper time for that franchise, too.
Within the second, Burrow was requested if it was time to mirror on the aftermath of what he achieved at LSU.
“Not but,” he mentioned. “We’re nonetheless celebrating. Give us a pair days. We have tonight. We have the remainder of this week. We will get pleasure from this one.”
With that, Burrow exited the rostrum, returned to the locker room and put out the victory cigar earlier than trying on the No. 9 that may reside on without end in LSU lore — as soon as once more, with excellent timing.