Joe Burrow and LSU just keep making it look easy.
With a record-breaking performance, the Tigers have advanced to the College Football Playoff national championship game, dominating No. 4 Oklahoma 63-28 in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Saturday.
Next, the Tigers will play for a national title just 80 miles from their campus in Baton Rouge. The national championship game is January 13 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
LSU’s win in Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Stadium guarantees that two undefeated teams will play for the national title. LSU (14-0) next will face either No. 2 Ohio State (13-0) or No. 3 Clemson (13-0). Those teams are playing in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Entering the College Football Playoff, LSU, Ohio State and Clemson were seen as the elite teams, with Oklahoma coming in as the only one of the four with a loss.
And LSU, earning the top spot in the College Football Playoff rankings — and thus avoiding Ohio State and Clemson in the semifinals — took emphatic advantage of being the No. 1 seed. LSU’s 63 points is a record for a College Football Playoff semifinal game.
Burrow, this year’s winner of the Heisman Trophy and widely presumed the top pick in the upcoming NFL draft, is the first player in Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) history to have eight touchdowns in a bowl game.
In the first half, Burrow threw for seven touchdowns, tying the record in any bowl game for passing touchdowns thrown in a game. Four of those touchdown receptions went to wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who tied the all-time single-game bowl record with that tally.
To add to a stat line that looked like it came from a video game, Burrow also rushed for one touchdown. For the night, he completed 29 of 39 passes for 493 yards — and that includes sitting for most of the fourth quarter.
With his performance on Saturday, Burrow became the fifth quarterback to throw for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in a season.
LSU’s win, however, comes on a day of tragedy.
Carley McCord, a sports reporter at CNN affiliate WDSU and daughter-in-law of LSU offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger, was killed in a plane crash in Lafayette, Louisiana, on Saturday. Ensminger, who did coach on Saturday, was aware of McCord’s death earlier in the day.
“We heard the news,” LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said to ESPN before the game. “I told coach Ensminger our thoughts and our prayers went out to him. There’s not much we can say obviously. Steve and his wife and his family are very distraught. But Steve’s a Tiger, he’s a man, he knows how to handle things.”
The loss ends the season for Oklahoma (12-2) and senior Jalen Hurts, who became the first quarterback to start a College Football Playoff game with two different schools.
Hurts, who spent the previous three seasons at Alabama before transferring to Oklahoma, was in the College Football Playoff for a fourth time. When he was with the Crimson Tide, Hurts played in six College Football Playoff games, starting four, and won a national title in the 2017 season.
This is LSU’s first year in the College Football Playoff, which has been in use since the 2014 season. The Tigers last won the national championship in the 2007 season, defeating Ohio State 38-24 in the BCS championship game.