Ja’Marr Chase

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LSU makes a strong case for best college football season ever

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It may sound almost unorthodox to throw LSU in the conversation for the best team in college football history, but the Tigers certainly left their mark on the college football world during the 2019 season. It may take years to truly realize just how special a season those in Baton Rouge experienced this past season, but the record books and accomplishments along the way will be tough to beat.

As far as individual accomplishments go, LSU players rewrote the school record book, the SEC record book, and etched their places in the NCAA record books. It started with Joe Burrow turning in a truly historic season. Burrow ran away with the Heisman Trophy and a handful of other college football awards. And that was before Burrow set a new NCAA record for most touchdowns thrown in a single season (60) with his five-touchdown performance in the national championship game against the defending national champion Clemson Tigers, who a year ago had shredded Alabama.

Burrow didn’t do it all alone. He had a Biletnikoff Award winner in Ja'Marr Chase to throw too. Chase set his own individual record in the national championship game with 216 receiving yards. Justin Jefferson also had over 1,400 receiving yards, giving LSU one of the most lethal 1-2 wide receiver combos college football has seen. The addition of Broyles Award winner Joe Brady to the staff from the New Orleans Saints was a game-changer, and a program-changer, for LSU. And of course, Ed Orgeron managed to silence any remaining doubters who have crossed his path.

Put aside the individual accolades though, of which there were plenty, and you will find an LSU team that built one of the most impressive seasons to date. At the time the games were played, each of LSU’s seven ranked opponents during the season were ranked inside the top 10, including each of the last three on the schedule. LSU made their first national championship noise with an early road win against No. 9 Texas, in which Burrow had one of his many Heisman Trophy moments in sealing the game with a touchdown pass.  LSU later pummeled No. 7 Florida in Death Valley, 42-28. In late October and into November, LSU faced No. 9 Auburn and then No. 2 Alabama in Tuscaloosa and managed to win each game. Those were the closest calls for LSU all season long.

LSU then put up 50 or more points in each of their next three games, dominated No. 4 Georgia in the SEC Championship Game (37-10) and then put up a playoff record 63 point son Big 12 champion Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl for the semifinal round. And to put the cherry on top, LSU overcame a sluggish offensive start to pull away from Clemson, 42-25, to claim the national championship game. Seven games against top 10 teams, won by a cumulative score of 298-190.

LSU’s stockpile of accomplishments this season is tough to beat. If there was one slight against them, it would be the defense when compared to some other great college football teams (2001 Miami, for example), but there would be no way this offense would not score points against even some of the best defenses of all time. So let the debate begin as the college football world tries to figure out just where LSU’s 2019 season ranks in the 150-year (and counting) history of the game.

Joe Burrow has historic night for LSU at The Home Depot College Football Awards Show

Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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College football’s awards circuit took center stage at the College Football Hall of Fame Thursday night, and LSU quarterback Joe Burrow was a big winner. Burrow, who already has been named the AP Player of the Year and many feel will be putting his hands around the Heisman Trophy this weekend, was awarded the Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year and the Maxwell Award for two-thirds of the college football triple crown.

Burrow is the first player from LSU to win the Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year award in the history of the award, which was first presented in 1967. Burrow also took home the Davey O’Brien Award for the nation’s top quarterback, which is also a first for the LSU program.

Burrow also won the first Maxwell Award and Davey O’Brien Award in program history. And he wasn’t the only Tiger making some program history. Wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase was named the winner of this year’s Biletnikoff Award, marking the second time a player from LSU was named the nation’s most outstanding receiver (Josh Reed, 2001).

Burrow was not the only LSU player to collect some hardware at the award show. Grant Delpit won the Jim Thorpe Award for the top defensive back. Delpit is the third player from LSU to win the award, with Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne won the award in 2010 and 2011, respectively. It is the third consecutive season a player form the sEC has won the award (Minkah Fitzpatrick of Alabama in 2017 and Deandre Baker of Georgia in 2018).

While Burrow was in the midst of taking home some hardware back to Baton Rouge for the first time, Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor was doing something that is pretty common in Madison. Taylor was named the winner of the Doak Walker Award for the nation’s best running back. It was his second striaght year winning the award, entering Taylor in some rare company as one of three two-time winners of the award. Darren McFadden of Arkansas and Ricky Williams of Texas are the only other back-to-back winners.

Ohio State defensive end Chase Young brought an end to a Bednarik Award drought for the Big Ten by being the first player from a Big Ten school to win the award since 2007. Penn State’s Dan Connor had been the most recent Big Ten player to win the award for the nation’s top defensive player. Young also made some program history by doing so.

Below is a list of all of the awards presented during the show. A handful of the awards were previously announced but formally presented Thursday night.

(Winners in bold, listed along with finalists for the awards)

WALTER CAMP PLAYER OF THE YEAR
(College player of the year)
Joe Burrow, LSU (Sr.)
Justin Fields, Ohio State (So.)
Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State (So.)
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin (Jr.)
Chase Young, Ohio State (Jr)

MAXWELL AWARD
(College player of the year)
Joe Burrow, LSU (Sr.)
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma (Sr.)
Chase Young, Ohio State (Jr.)

CHUCK BEDNARIK AWARD
(College defensive player of the year)
Derrick Brown, Auburn (Sr.)
Isaiah Simmons, Clemson (Jr.)
Chase Young, Ohio State (Jr.)

DAVEY O’BRIEN NATIONAL QUARTERBACK AWARD
(Nation’s best quarterback)
Joe Burrow, LSU (Sr.)
Justin Fields, Ohio State (So.)
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma (Sr.)

BILETNIKOFF AWARD
(Outstanding receiver)
Ja’Marr Chase, LSU (So.)
CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma (Jr.)
Michael Pittman Jr., USC (Sr.)

DOAK WALKER AWARD
(Nation’s premier running back)
Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State (So.)
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin (Jr.)
J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State (Jr.)

OUTLAND TROPHY
(Nation’s most outstanding interior lineman)
Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin (Jr.)
Derrick Brown, Auburn (Sr.)
Penei Sewell, Oregon (So.)

PAYCOM JIM THORPE AWARD
(Nation’s best defensive back)
Grant Delpit, LSU (Jr.)
Jeff Okudah, Ohio State (Jr.)
J.R. Reed, Georgia (Sr.)

LOU GROZA COLLEGIATE PLACE-KICKER AWARD
(Nation’s outstanding placekicker)
Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia (Sr.)
Keith Duncan, Iowa (Jr.)
Blake Mazza, Washington State (So.)

RAY GUY AWARD
(College punter of the year)
Dane Roy, Houston (Sr.)
Max Duffy, Kentucky (Jr.)
Sterling Hofrichter, Syracuse (Sr.)

THE HOME DEPOT COACH OF THE YEAR
(Announced Dec. 11)
Ed Orgeron, LSU

DISNEY SPIRIT AWARD
Casey O’Brien, Minnesota

Bring on Georgia! Joe Burrow sets SEC passing record as No. 2 LSU rolls over Texas A&M

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The last thing Ed Orgeron wanted to see was for his No. 2 LSU (12-0, 8-0 SEC) have to play in anything remotely close against Texas A&M (7-5, 4-4 SEC) after last year’s multiple overtime affair in College Station. Orgeron got what he wanted with LSU blowing out the Aggies 50-7 in a game where the head coach of the Tigers could give an early rest to some key players.

Joe Burrow was one of those players getting a chance to take the rest of the night off in the fourth quarter. He turned in quite a performance as his case for the Heisman Trophy continued to build. Burrow completed 23 of 32 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns. Burrow also took over the SEC’s passing record for most passing yards in a single season. Burrow passed Kentucky’s Tim Couch, who set the conference single-season passing record of 4,275 yards in 1998. Burrow is now up to 4,366 yards this season. Burrow also passed Chad Kelly of Ole Miss (4,042 yards in 2015) and Texas A&M’s own Johnny Manziel (4,114 yards in 2013) in the process of moving up to the top spot in the SEC record book in the game.

LSU’s defense has not been one of its strengths this season, especially compared to previous seasons, but it was a major factor on Saturday night against the Aggies. Kellen Mond was in for a frustrating evening as he went just 10-of-30 for 92 yards with three interceptions thrown. The Aggies had just 164 yards as a team midway through the fourth quarter, while LSU had racked up 554 yards of offense. Ja'Marr Chase had seven receptions for 197 yards and two touchdowns as Burrow’s top target on the night.

LSU will now begin preparing for their first appearance in the SEC Championship Game since 2011. Their opponent that season? Georgia. The Tigers took that contest by a lopsided score of 42-10, with Tyrann Mathieu taking MVP honors for the game. That win sent LSU to the BCS National Championship Game for a rematch of a regular-season contest against Alabama. A win next week against Georgia would once again send LSU to secure LSU’s chance to play for a national title, although as one of the four teams in the College Football Playoff. LSU has yet to make an appearance in the College Football Playoff. Given their current standing, an argument could also be entertained for LSU as a playoff team even with a loss next week, but a win would book LSU with no questions asked. Georgia will be playing in its third consecutive SEC Championship Game. They won in 2017 against Auburn to grab a spot in the playoff but lost last year to Alabama to end their playoff hopes. This will be the fourth meeting between LSU and Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.

Texas A&M will move on to the bowl season, but their bowl outlook is not nearly as grand with five losses under their belt. Jimbo Fisher ends his second regular season as head coach of the Aggies with the same record his predecessor, Kevin Sumlin, had at the time of his dismissal.