National Championship Preview: LSU vs Clemson

After another year of College Football, the championship is finally set. It’s number 1 LSU taking on number 3 Clemson. Both teams have the same record, 14-0, but both teams have gotten here differently. Clemson had a very weak schedule due to the ACC’s lack of depth, and LSU was the total opposite. Playing teams like Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Auburn, and Texas. Now, let’s dissect these two teams for a more in-depth analysis. 

LSU 

Joe Burrow taking off in a game against Alabama

LSU had an amazing season, and it came as a surprise. LSU always had a good defense, but lacked offensive success. The prior year, LSU shocked many with a respectable 10-3 record. Although the success, not many could predict what was to come. Week 1 against Georgia Southern, LSU showcased their new high-powered offense. From that point on, LSU kept on showing that they were legit week in and week out. Taking down teams like Texas, Auburn, and Florida in the regular season. And that doesn’t even include the Goliath; Alabama. LSU had not beaten Alabama in 8 years, and many did not see it coming considering that Tua Tagovailoa was still in control of the reins. But, LSU shocked the world, beating Alabama by a score of 46-41 in one of the best games of the season. The final stretch of the season, including the SEC championship, was a walk in the park for LSU, leading to a 13-0 season going into the postseason. Many of their players had phenomenal years, highlighted by Joe Burrow. But anyway, he won the Heisman along with many other awards. Because of LSU’s strong resume, the committee ultimately made the decision to give LSU the number 1 seed over Ohio State, which set up a matchup against Oklahoma. LSU was favored heavily going into the game and it was clear why. LSU demolished Oklahoma by a score of 63-28. Joe Burrow displayed why he won the Heisman as he was responsible for 8 total touchdowns. LSU is a very complete team, and has many star players. Some players to look for on the offensive side are: Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. On the defensive side, look for Derek Stingley and Grant Delpit in coverage and K’Lavon Chaisson at pass rusher. 

Clemson

Clemson getting ready for a game against Texas A&M

Clemson comes in the game as the reigning national champions. Although they had another 14-0 season, they entered the playoffs as the 3 seed. This is in part to the fact that the ACC was very weak this year. Outside of Clemson, the second best team mounted a 9-3 record, and the notable wins that Clemson racked up came against Virginia, Texas A&M, and North Carolina. Early in the season, Trevor Lawrence struggled heavily and it showed in the North Carolina game. In that game, Clemson only managed to beat the team by 1 point. Due to these reasons, Clemson faced a lot of criticism which made both players and coaches angry. This anger drove them to finish the season very strong, including winning the ACC championship against a strong Virginia team by a score of 62-17. Since it was a decent season for the Tigers, they were set to play Ohio State in the 2 v.s 3 game. In the first quarter, Ohio State got off to a very quick start, taking a 10-0 lead and then scoring 6 more points in the early stages of the second quarter. But, in the final minutes of the first half, Clemson scored two touchdowns including a 67-yard run by Trevor Lawrence. The third quarter was very quiet, outside a long Travis Etienne touchdown which gave Clemson their first lead of the night: though this lead didn’t last long, as Ohio State scored early in the fourth quarter. From that point on, all offense stalled until the final 2 minutes. With 1:49 left in the game, Clemson scored a touchdown and took a 29-23 lead. Ohio State tried to mount a comeback, but miscommunication between Justin Fields and wide receiver Chris Olave led to an interception in the endzone. In an interview, Olave stated this,”It’s a mistake from me because I thought he was scrambling but that ball was supposed to go to me and I was supposed to run out the post and I believe it would’ve been a touchdown. Definitely put it on me, definitely put the game on my shoulders”. Clemson won the game and is now looking to defend their title this Monday. On the offensive side of the ball, look for Tee Higgins, Trevor Lawrence, and Travis Etienne. They also have a couple of other strong receivers such as Justyn Ross. On the defensive side, look for Isaiah Simmons to be a major factor. 

Prediction

National Championship Trophy

Clemson will keep it close in the beginning of the game, but in the second half, LSU’s offense starts to find its stride. Joe Burrow will throw for at least 3 touchdowns and will make some key plays on the ground. Trevor Lawrence throws a late interception, and LSU prevails by 14 points. 

Score: LSU-45  Clemson-31

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