NEW ORLEANS — The crowd at the Superdome greeted President Donald Trump with thunderous applause when he walked onto the field before the playing of the national anthem.
It was the second time President Trump attended an LSU game. He was in Tuscaloosa for LSU’s win at Alabama, but even the crowd at Bryant-Denny Stadium wasn’t as welcoming as the one in New Orleans on Monday night.
• STREAK SNAPPED: LSU was forced to punt from its own end zone on its first possession. That snapped a streak of six consecutive games in which LSU had scored a touchdown on its opening possession.
It was also the second time all season that LSU went three-andout on its first drive of a game. The other occurrence was against Auburn.
• SURPRISE RETURN: Injured safety Todd Harris dressed out and did some light work during pregame warm-ups.
The junior defensive back was lost to a season-ending knee injury during LSU’s win over Northwestern State in September. He underwent surgery and has been spotted on crutches for most of the season.
Harris began the season as LSU’s starting free safety in most of the three-safety looks with Grant Delpit and JaCoby Stevens. Harris registered three tackles in three games before hurting his knee.
• FACES IN THE CROWD: National championship games tend to attract celebrities, and this one was no different.
Movie star Vince Vaughn was strolling along the sidelines prior to kickoff. Hall-of-Fame receiver Randy Moss was hanging out on the LSU sideline wearing a shirt with a picture of his son, LSU tight end Thaddeus Moss. Saints quarterback Drew Brees was walking around in an LSU hat.
Among the many former Tigers in attendance were Tyrann Mathieu, Devin White, Greedy Williams, Danielle Hunter, Tre’Davious White, Foster Moreau, Will Clapp and John Battle. That doesn’t count Ryan Clark and Marcus Spears, who were on hand for ESPN.
• ZEBRA WATCH: The officials for the game were from the Pac-12, a decision that was made before the semifinals were played. With that in mind, it was likely because the Pac-12 was the one Power Five league with no team in the four-team playoff.
It was an “all-star” crew from the conference in that the officials were a collection considered the best from the Pac-12 rather than a crew that worked together all season.
But three of the officials have come under scrutiny in the last two years, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Head referee Chris Coyle was criticized by Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnett after the 2019 Citrus Bowl for ejecting UK star running back Benny Snell. Coyle appeared to be leaning down to help Snell up, but when Snell touched Coyle’s forearm, he was ejected.
Line judge Dale Keller and field judge Kevin Kieser were downgraded by the Pac-12 earlier this season for mistakes in the Cal-Washington State game.
• DOUBLING DOWN: Tight end Thaddeus Moss had two touchdown receptions through LSU first 14 games. He had two Monday and three of his four for the season came in the last two playoff games.
• NO.1 FOR A REASON: In the six years of the College Football Playoff, LSU became the first No. 1 seed to win the championship. The No. 3 seed, which Clemson was, has still not won it.
• EVERYBODY EATS: LSU won its fourth national championship under a fourth head coach. The last three have all won one — Nick Saban (2003), Les Miles (2007) and Ed Orgeron. The other was Paul Dietzel in 1958.
• BIG APPLE SALUTE: The winning Tigers had their school colors illuminating the top of the Empire State Building in New York City after the game.
• BOTH SIDES: LSU offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger was Clemson’s offensive coordinator from 1997-98.
• FLIPPING: LSU captains for the final game were quarterbback Joe Burrow, center Lloyd Cushenberry, defensive end Rashard Lawrence and Delpit. The Tigers honorary captain was color analyst Booger McFarland.