NEW ORLEANS — Joe Burrow went to LSU as a journeyman searching for a home and leaves two years later as a legend.
It’s no surprise then that he capped his storied career with one more record-setting night at the office.
Burrow threw five touchdowns and ran for another one to lead No. 1 LSU to a 42-25 win over No. 3 Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship at the Superdome on Monday night.
The stat line is simply staggering for Burrow, as it has been all season for the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. He completed 31 of 49 passes for 463 yards and those five scoring strikes. He made pivotal plays with his legs, too, especially as Clemson dialed up cover-zero blitzes.
“It feels good,” smiled Burrow, who emerged from the LSU locker room smoking a victory cigar. “I don’t know what else to say. I couldn’t have done it with a better group of guys. I just feel blessed to be a part of it.”
Led by Burrow, LSU scored 726 points this season, the most ever by any team dating to 1936. Burrow also rewrote the NCAA’s single-season record book by throwing his 59th touchdown pass and accounting for his 64th total touchdown.
Burrow threw one more touchdown to finish with 60 and 65, respectively. No quarterback in LSU history even came close to producing those kinds of gaudy numbers, and it might be an awfully long time before any quarterback anywhere matches them.
“This is special,” Burrow said. “This doesn’t happen often. This doesn’t come around every year. This is a special group of guys who came together.”
LSU got off to an uncharacteristically slow start because of bad field position and that ultra-aggressive Clemson defense. But Burrow and the brain trust of Steve Ensminger and Joe Brady made the necessary adjustments, as they have all season.
It started with feeding the ball to sophomore receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who drew single coverage for most of the night. Burrow hit him for a 52-yard touchdown down the sideline to get LSU on the board and then found him deep again to set up his own rushing score.
“I didn’t think there was any way they were going to play man-to-man with Ja’Marr, so I wasn’t even looking his way at first,” Burrow said. “We started going to him heavy and he just played so well. That’s just the kind of guy he is.”
Burrow connected with tight end Thaddeus Moss for two touchdowns to keep Clemson at arm’s length. His fourth-quarterback touchdown to Terrace Marshall was the moment when LSU knew it was about to win a national championship.
There will come a time when Burrow sits back and reflects on the amazing things him and his teammates accomplished. But first, he had a cigar to finish and some more partying to do.
“Not yet,” Burrow said. “We’re still celebrating. Give us a couple days. We’ve got tonight and the rest of this week, and we’re going to enjoy this one.”