Hometown heroes bring home the CFP Championship


Amelia Sheehan '20

Louisiana State University (LSU) defeated Clemson University in the 2020 College Football Playoff Championship January 13.

The 2020 College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship featured two award-winning quarterbacks and two veteran coaches, but only one winner.  January 13, Louisiana State University (LSU) stole the show in a victorious effort against Clemson University 42-25 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

To secure their spot in the championship, LSU first defeated Oklahoma University 63-28 in the annual Peach Bowl December 28, 2019.  Mr. Joe Burrow, senior quarterback, Mr. Justin Jefferson, junior wide receiver, and Mr. Ed Orgeron, head coach, led the team to the victorious semifinal game.  

Mr. Joe Burrow and his team take their first look at the CFP Championship trophy. Courtesy of bostonglobe.com

Mr. Burrow is the winner of the 2019 Heisman Memorial Trophy, an award that recognizes the most outstanding player in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football, according to heisman.com.  During his CFP semifinal performance, he broke the LSU school record for most passing touchdowns in a game, the Peach Bowl record for most passing touchdowns, the record for most touchdowns responsible for in a CFP game, among others, according to si.com.

Mr. Jefferson caught four touchdowns in the first half of the game, setting a new CFP record.  He entered the Peach Bowl after playing in 13 regular season games, recording 88 receptions, 1,207 yards, and 14 touchdowns, according to www.si.com.  This season designated Mr. Jefferson as one of twelve finalists for the Fred Biletnikoff Award, presented annually to the most outstanding receiver in college football.  Mr. Jefferson’s teammate, Mr. Ja’Marr Chase, sophomore wide receiver, won the award. 

Hours later, Ohio State University faced Clemson University in the 2019 Fiesta Bowl.  Clemson’s 29-23 victory over Ohio State secured their second consecutive spot in the CFP Championship.  Clemson held a national-best winning streak of 29 wins with the help of Mr. Dabo Swinney, their head coach, according to ncaa.com

Clemson trailed by 16 points late in the second quarter of the game, however, following the efforts of Mr. Trevor Lawrence, sophomore quarterback and Mr. Travis Etienne, junior running back, Clemson outshined Ohio State in the second half for a comeback victory. 

Mr. Thaddeus Moss stretches into the endzone for his second touchdown of the game. Courtesy of wmbfnews.com

The championship game offered the stars of both teams the chance to shine.  After a scoreless start to the first quarter, Mr. Lawrence ran into the endzone to give Clemson a 7-0 lead.  LSU evened the score to close out the first quarter, according to espn.com.  

The second quarter proved to be more eventful than the first.  After Clemson earned a 17-7 advantage, LSU rose to the occasion to steal a 28-17 lead entering halftime. 

In an interview with Ms. Maria Taylor, ESPN reporter, during halftime, Mr. Swinney described his team’s performance at the end of the second quarter as “sloppy” and thought that the team was “not playing smart,” according to espn.com

LSU returned after halftime and dominated the final 30 minutes of the championship game.  To add to LSU’s momentum, late in the third quarter, the officials removed Mr. James Skalski, Clemson junior linebacker, from the game after a targeting hit.  Mr. Skalski recorded 90 tackles and 3 sacks during the regular season, as well as five tackles and one sack during the championship game, according to espn.com

Entering the fourth quarter, LSU led Clemson 35-25, according to cbssports.com.  Adding a touchdown in the fourth quarter, Clemson secured their fourth CFP Championship. 

Adding to his many accolades, Mr. Burrow’s fourth touchdown against Clemson broke the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) single-season record, according to thescore.com.  This pass was his fifty-ninth touchdown of the season.  

Mr. Ed Orgeron, LSU head coach, leads his team out of the locker room for their championship game. Courtesy of cbssports.com

In addition to Mr. Burrow’s record-breaking performance, Mr. Thaddeus Moss, LSU junior tight end, added two touchdowns to his resume during Monday’s game, according to si.com.  Mr. Moss, who is the son of Mr. Randy Moss, former professional football player and Hall of Famer, had a decorated first season at LSU after transferring from North Carolina State in 2016. 

With a possession late in the fourth quarter following a tackle by Mr. Grant Delpit, LSU junior safety, LSU secured their first CFP victory since 2007.  LSU overcame Clemson 42-25 in a stunning comeback victory. 

Mr. Orgeron, originally born in Larose, Louisiana, shared his pride in his team and the state after their championship performance.

“I grew up wanting to be the head coach of LSU,” Mr. Orgeron said, according to The Wall Street Journal.   “I’m so proud of the state of Louisiana.”

Senior Peyton Lauricella, also a native of New Orleans, commented on LSU’s decorated football season, capped off by their CFP success. 

“After the last three years of heartbreak from the [New Orleans] Saints losing in the [National Football League] playoffs, the city and the state needed a championship trophy,” Peyton said.  “Although I’m not in the city physically, I know how much it means to all the people who have waited since 2010, when the Saints won the Superbowl, for a championship.”

Featured Image by Amelia Sheehan ’20