NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Joe Burrow threw five touchdown passes, ran for another score and capped one of the greatest seasons in college football history by leading No. 1 LSU to a 42-25 victory against No. 3 Clemson Monday night to win the national championship.
The small-town Ohio kid turned Louisiana legend delivered the Tigers their first national title since 2007 and fourth overall, breaking a few more records along the way. The five TD passes and 463 yards passing set records for a College Football Playoff title game as did his six total touchdowns.
LSU scored more points against Clemson than any other team this season.
Burrow’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Thaddeus Moss gave LSU a 35-25 lead over Clemson in the third quarter of the national championship game, a lead LSU maintained for the rest of the game.
The throw also gave Burrow an NCAA single-season record 59 TD passes. It was the second touchdown catch of the game for Moss, the son of Hall-of-Fame NFL receiver Randy Moss.
Moss’ first TD came at the end of the first half from 6 yards out.
Clemson cut LSU’s 11-point halftime lead to 28-25 earlier in the quarter on Louisiana native Travis Etienne’s 3-yard run, followed by Trevor Lawrence’s pass to Amari Rodgers.
Burrow’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Moss, set up by the quarterback’s 29-yard, third down scramble, gave LSU a 28-17 lead over Clemson at halftime.
After a slow start that saw LSU fail to cross its own 11 on its first two series, Burrow and Co. found their rhythm. LSU finished the second quarter with three unanswered touchdowns to erase a 10-point deficit that was its largest this season.
The game was billed as a high-scoring, back-and-forth affair. But the teams each punted twice on their opening two possessions.
It was practically a home game for LSU with its campus just 90 minutes away and purple-and-gold clad supporters could be found all around New Orleans.
There were plenty of orange-wearing Clemson fans on the streets, hoping their team wins a second straight national championship. A second-story veranda near Jackson Square boasted Clemson flags from its 2016 and 2018 national titles, along with an inflatable Tiger figure.
Clemson was after its third crown in four seasons and its 30th straight victory.
Both sets of Tigers were 14-0 going into the game and sought to cap a perfect season.
President Donald Trump arrived at the New Orleans Superdome shortly before the game’s scheduled kickoff. He was accompanied by his wife, first lady Melania Trump and South Carolina U.S. senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott. Graham and Scott are Republican, like the president.
The president and first lady walked onto the field shortly before the game for the singing of the National Anthem. Fans from both teams cheered him loudly. Some greeted him with cheers of “USA, USA." Others chanted “four more years."
The Trumps left before the fourth quarter.
Trump is familiar with LSU. He attended a November game in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, when the Tigers beat the Crimson Tide.
The president hosted many of Clemson’s players and coaches at the White House in January 2019 after the team won the 2018 national championship.