Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow threw for five touchdowns and ran for another on Monday to lead Louisiana State University to a 42-25 triumph over Clemson in US college football’s championship game.
On a night that began with rousing cheers for US President Donald Trump, attending the game at the Superdome in New Orleans with First Lady Melania Trump, Burrow completed the rare trifecta of winning the Heisman Trophy as the country’s top college player, completing an undefeated season and capturing the championship.
“This is just so special, I’m kind of speechless,” said Burrow, whose five touchdown passes and 463 passing yards were the most for a Bowl Championship Series or College Football Playoff title game.
His fifth passing TD finally sent defending champions Clemson to their first defeat since January 1, 2018, ending their streak of 29 victories.
Burrow connected with Terrace Marshall Jr for a 24-yard TD that capped the scoring with 12:08 remaining.
With little more than 10 minutes left, Clemson had a chance to trim the deficit as Tee Higgins caught a deep pass from Trevor Lawrence for a touchdown – but Higgins was called for offensive pass interference and Clemson eventually had to punt.
Clemson, trying to complete a second straight perfect season, took a 7-0 lead when Lawrence scored from one yard out.
They pushed their lead to 17-7 as Higgins scored on a 36-yard run.
But Burrow responded with a three-yard touchdown run, then connected with Ja’Marr Chase – the nation’s top receiver in 2019 – with a 14-yard touchdown pass that put LSU in front.
Louisiana State took a 28-17 half-time lead after Burrow found Thaddeus Moss with a six-yard TD pass seconds before the break.
“We never flinched,” Burrow said. “We knew what we had.
“Once we figured out what they were trying to do, our coaches put together a good game plan at half-time and we started to roll.”
Burrow absorbed a big hit shortly before half-time, but said there was never any question he’d stay in the game.
“There’s no other option,” said Burrow, who will almost certainly be the top pick in the next NFL draft. “This is a national championship, that’s all. I wasn’t going to go sit on the sideline that’s for sure.”
The Superdome offered an ideal venue for Louisiana State’s coronation, its location less than 100 miles from the university’s campus in Baton Rouge.
The presence of Trump was an added spur to celebration before the game. He and the first lady took the field for pre-game ceremonies – including the national anthem – and received a huge ovation.
Trump answered with a wave as fans chanted “U-S-A”.