Joe Burrow cemented his 2019 season with an all-time great campaign on Monday with his six-touchdown effort to lead LSU to a 42-25 College Football Playoff championship game victory.
The Heisman winner completed 31 of 49 passes for 463 yards and rushed for 58 yards. Once he found his groove in the second quarter, Clemson had no answer for his arm.
Ja’Marr Chase was Burrow’s favorite target, catching nine passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns. It could have been even more had Chase not dropped a would-be touchdown late in the third quarter. Justin Jefferson also surpassed 100 receiving yards, while tight end Thaddeus Moss secured a pair of touchdowns.
Clemson began the game on the front foot, however: The Tigers’ blitz seemed to bother Burrow, but once he hit a couple of deep balls — most notably his first touchdown to Chase — Clemson struggled to keep up with LSU’s multi-pronged offensive attack.
Trevor Lawrence, who entered Monday having never lost in college, had flashes of brilliance for coach Dabo Swinney’s team, but failed to match Burrow in the second half. Lawrence ended up with 234 passing yards, 49 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. He also fumbled once.
To reach the national championship game, LSU throttled Oklahoma 63-28 in the Peach Bowl. Clemson, meanwhile, beat Ohio State 29-23. Sporting News tracked live scoring updates and highlights from LSU vs. Clemson in the 2020 College Football Playoff championship game. Here’s how LSU won:
LSU vs. Clemson final score
Highlights from LSU vs. Clemson in the 2020 college football championship
End of game: LSU 42, Clemson 25
12:12 p.m.: Final: LSU 42, Clemson 25. Burrow takes a knee and ends his Heisman season as a champion.
12:07 p.m.: Clemson fumbles. LSU recovers. That’s ballgame.
12:02 p.m.: LSU is in clock-chewing mode. It runs the timer under five minutes before finally being forced to punt.
11:56 p.m.: Burrow has accounted for more than 500 total yards and six touchdowns tonight.
11:49 p.m.: A controversial offensive pass interference wipes out a Clemson touchdown catch by Higgins. Clemson punts with 10:20 remaining in the game.
11:38 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, LSU. Clemson might be cooked. Terrace Marshall makes a leaping catch for the score. The pro-LSU contingent on hand is delighted. 42-25, LSU.
11:36 p.m.: Clemson punts. Right away, Burrow hits Moss for a first down past midfield.
End of third quarter: LSU 35, Clemson 25
11:27 p.m.: Kick is no good. LSU misses a 45-yard field goal attempt after Chase dropped a would-be touchdown. A break for Clemson with the third quarter winding down.
11:23 p.m.: LSU is threatening to make this a blowout. Back in possession, Burrow makes a throw on the run that picks up 35 yards.
11:10 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, LSU. Moss again. He baaaaarely broke the goal line before going out of bounds. Burrow gets his record with the score. 35-25, LSU.
Joe Burrow breaks the NCAA single-season record for TD passes (59).
He entered the College Football Playoff 11 TDs away from breaking the record. pic.twitter.com/SdhDrRdow9
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) January 14, 2020
11:08 p.m.: Key Clemson linebacker James Skalski has been ejected for targeting, and the penalty gives LSU first-and-goal.
10:59 p.m.: Clemson’s turn to punt. Pretty impressive that neither offense has had a giveaway yet considering the defensive talent on the field.
10:53 p.m.: LSU’s offense has not found its groove yet in the third quarter. A three-and-out forces its defense back on the field.
10:47 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Clemson. A power-running approach pays off for Dabo Swinney on that drive. Etienne finishes strong with a score on the ground. Two-point conversion is good. 28-25, LSU.
10:40 p.m.: Burrow, who came up wincing after his last throw of the first half, is sacked on third down early in the third quarter. Clemson gets the ball.
10:37 p.m.: The second half is (finally) underway.
10:15 p.m.: LSU finished the half with 21 unanswered points. Burrow has 270 passing yards and three passing touchdowns, plus 55 rushing yards and a score on the ground. LSU will get the ball first in the second half, but even though coach Ed Orgeron’s team is hot, Clemson still has plenty of time to stage a comeback. Should be a fabulous final 30 minutes of football.
Halftime: LSU 28, Clemson 17
10:12 p.m.: Halftime.
10:11 p.m.: Burrow’s touchdown tied him for the FBS record for most touchdown passes in a single season.
10:09 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, LSU. Burrow throws to Thaddeus Moss (son of Randy Moss) in the end zone. 28-17, LSU.
10:08 p.m.: Burrow surprises Clemson by scrambling with 20 seconds left in the half. He runs 29 yards to set up first-and-goal.
10:02 p.m.: Defensive pass interference on third-and-19 extends LSU’s drive.
9:57 p.m.: Clemson does not convert. LSU will have a chance to take a double-digit advantage, though it needs to drive about 95 yards to do so.
9:56 p.m.: With four minutes left in the half, Clemson faces third-and-12. Feels like a big play considering how good Burrow has been this quarter.
9:49 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, LSU. Chase is absolutely torching Clemson’s secondary. He hauls in his second score of the night. He has 147 receiving yards in the half. 21-17, LSU.
9:46 p.m.: Four straight plays now.
9:45 p.m.: After forcing a punt, LSU picks up first down on three straight plays.
9:33 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, LSU. Burrow finds the end zone on a designed quarterback run. 17-14, LSU.
9:26 p.m.: Burrow and Chase link up for another huge play. This one sets up first-and-goal. The offenses are red hot.
9:23 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Clemson. Higgins runs over a defender to finish a 36-yard receiver reverse play. 17-7, Clemson.
9:22 p.m.: Etienne accelerates to the edge, then cuts upfield into LSU territory.
9:18 p.m.: LSU’s drive stalls after Burrow’s sprint up the middle. It downs its punt inside the 5.
9:15 p.m.: Burrow scrambles for 20 yards.
9:14 p.m.: Lawrence has 137 passing yards so far, while Burrow is at 84. Each has seemed to grow more comfortable as the game has progressed.
9:11 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, Clemson. B.T. Potter good from a career-long 52 yards out. 10-7, Clemson.
End of first quarter: LSU 7, Clemson 7
9:01 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, LSU. Chase streaks down the sideline and keeps his balance to complete a 52-yard catch and run. 7-7.
8:54 p.m. Higgins goes deep and draws pass interference, but Clemson can’t get anything going after that. LSU regains possession with about four minutes left in the period.
8:52 p.m.: Man, this Clemson defense looks good. LSU is about to punt for the third time in the first quarter.
8:45 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Clemson. Lawrence takes it in himself on an option run. This is the first time LSU has trailed in a game since late-October. 7-0, Clemson.
8:42 p.m.: Lawrence has Clemson moving. A 9-yard run puts Clemson at the opposing 31.
8:37 p.m.: And now the punt team for LSU is out again. We have a defensive battle so far.
8:33 p.m.: Clemson goes three-and-out. That possession lasted fewer than three minutes of real time.
8:30 p.m.: LSU goes backward on its first drive. It will punt from inside its own 5-yard line.
8:27 p.m.: Burrow completes a crazy pass after breaking several tackles behind the line, but an illegal man downfield penalty wipes the big play away.
8:24 p.m.: Clemson decides against a long field goal, electing to punt the ball deep.
8:22 p.m.: Lawrence goes down under pressure on third-and-8.
8:20 p.m.: Lawrence takes advantage of a free play with LSU drawn offside, finding Justyn Ross for 35 yards through the air.
8:19 p.m.: Clemson gets the ball first. We’re underway.
8:15 p.m.: First loss of the night goes to this cameraman.
8:05 p.m.: We’re inching close to kickoff. The quarterbacks are on the field getting warm.
7:59 p.m.: Kyler Murray, recently Oklahoma’s College Football Playoff quarterback, laments never reaching the title game.
Not winning a National Championship… that hurts the most. Always wanted to play in this game.
— Kyler Murray (@K1) January 14, 2020
7:35 p.m.: The stage is set.