The Clemson Tigers and LSU Tigers slugged it out for four quarters as they fought for the right to be called national champions Monday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
A see-saw game that saw multiple lead changes until LSU started pulling away late, the CFP National Championship Game was a veritable highlight machine. Both teams landed big blows with momentum-shifting plays.
LSU fell into an early 17-7 hole, and it looked like Clemson was set to pull off a stunner. Then, Joe Burrow and Co. woke up with a vengeance. The LSU offense was practically unstoppable in the final three periods, leading to a 42-25 victory for Ed Orgeron’s Tigers.
A game with so much action also featured a ton of impressive highlights. Here’s a look at the biggest plays from LSU’s win over Clemson in the College Football National Championship Game.
Trevor Lawrence punches it in
The National Championship Game Monday night opened up with some strong defense taking center stage. Then, midway through the first quarter, Clemson’s offense woke up when Trevor Lawrence found tight end Branden Galloway down the middle for a big gain (watch here). A few plays later, Lawrence punched it in from one yard out to put Clemson on the board first.
Afterward, Lawrence trolled the pro-LSU crowd in New Orleans by blowing some kisses toward the fans rooting for those other Tigers.
Joe Burrow tosses gorgeous TD to even things up
The Clemson defense started the National Championship Game with some incredible pursuit and held the high-powered offense in check, forcing two straight three-and-outs and three straight punts. Then, Joe Burrow finally found the opening he needed to even things up.
Check out this pinpoint throw by Burrow to star receiver Ja’Marr Chase.
Chase did a great job of getting open. Burrow’s throw was perfect, and his receiver went 52 yards to the house to tie the game up at 7-7.
Tee Higgins would not be denied
Clemson went up 10-7 with a field goal early in the second quarter. Then, after a couple of nice runs from Travis Etienne set the Tigers up in LSU territory, Clemson’s offense busted out some trickery.
Higgins took the ball on a reverse, showed off his rare speed to get into the secondary, then finished off this 36-yard touchdown run by running over an LSU defender.
All of a sudden, Clemson held a commanding 17-7 lead, and seemingly all the momentum, in this National Championship Game.
Ja’Marr Chase with another monster catch
The LSU offense responded to Clemson going up 17-7 with a swift touchdown drive of its own. And the big plays came once again thanks to the dynamic duo of Burrow and Chase.
That catch and run by Chase, set up by another absolute dime by Burrow, set up LSU’s offense at the Clemson three-yard line. Three plays later, Burrow capped off the drive with a three-yard touchdown run to pull his team to within three points, 17-14.
Savage ankle-breaking move sets up LSU go-ahead score
Momentum turned in a big way for the LSU Tigers midway through the second quarter. Following the touchdown that made it 17-14, Clemson’s offense was forced to punt it away, giving Burrow and Co. a chance to tie the game or take the lead.
They chose to take the lead.
Justin Jefferson got things going in a big way when he embarrassed Clemson safety Tanner Muse with one of the filthiest ankle-breaking moves we’ve seen in a long, long time (watch here). One play later, Burrow and Chase connected once again for a 14-yard touchdown.
A game that was 17-7 in favor of Clemson was all of a sudden LSU’s for the taking after this touchdown put them ahead 21-17.
Burrow has WHEEEEEEELS!
One of the reasons Burrow has been so successful this entire season is that he’s very dangerous as a runner. Clemson’s speedy defense had been doing a pretty decent job of keeping Burrow bottled up for much of the first half. Then, on a huge third-and-10 from Clemson’s 35-yard line, Burrow bolted up the middle on a quarterback draw.
Instead of getting the necessary 10 yards, Burrow scrambled his way to a 29-yard gain.
One play later, Burrow found tight end Thaddeus Moss for a six-yard touchdown, his third passing score of the game.
This gave LSU a 28-17 lead heading into halftime.
Travis Etienne gets Clemson back in it
LSU opened the second half with the ball but went three-and-out. Better yet for Clemson, it started their first drive of the half on the 50-yard line. A seven-yard scramble by Lawrence turned into a 15-yard gain after a facemask penalty, putting Clemson at the LSU 14-yard line.
Dabo Swinney then put the ball into his star running back’s hands. Etienne carried the ball three times, finally capping the drive off with a tunneling three-yard score.
This touchdown run made it a one-score game once again, with LSU leading Clemson by the score of 28-25 following a successful two-point conversion.
Clemson got Moss’d for the second time
Thaddeus Moss, son of NFL Hall of Famer Randy Moss, helped LSU take a two-score lead into halftime. Then in the third quarter, he once again was the person responsible for giving his Tigers another two-score lead.
From five yards out, Moss got open in the left flat and Burrow hit him perfectly for the touchdown.
This score gave LSU a 10-point lead again as they went up 35-25 with just over five minutes left in the third quarter.
Terrence Marshall Jr. with stunning catch to put LSU up for good
Up by 10 points early in the fourth quarter, LSU went for the throat. Joe Burrow continued to deal strikes. His fifth touchdown pass of the game went into the hands of Terrence Marshall Jr., who made a spectacular catch for the score.
Just a stunning play that pretty much iced the game for Burrow and Co.