PREVIEWING THE 2019 CHICK-FIL-A PEACH BOWL
When the Tigers Have the Ball
Burrow, who also received the Maxwell and Walter Camp Player of the Year
Awards, as well as the Davey O’Brien Award for Best Quarterback, didn’t
exactly burst onto the college football stage in 2015. He was redshirted as a
freshman, appeared in just six games in 2016 and only four in 2017, primarily
watching the exploits of Ohio State signal callers J.T. Barrett and Dwayne
Haskins. In mop-up duty, Burrow was 29-of-39 passing.
After winning the starting job at LSU last season, there was progression
during the regular season but it wasn’t until the last four games that
Burrow’s numbers started to become a bit gaudy. He completed 67 percent
of 121 passes for 1,166 yards and 10 touchdowns during that stretch. Gaudy
became commonplace early this season with Broyles Award winner (best
assistant coach) Joe Brady engineering the Tigers’ passing attack. He was
hired in January 2019 and has worked alongside offensive coordinator Steve
Ensminger to unleash innovative schemes not typical in recent seasons. The
results this season speak for themselves.
Burrow passed for 4,715 yards and 48 touchdowns, both SEC records,
and completed 342-of-439 passes with just six interceptions. The 48 passing
touchdowns outpaces the 46 LSU tossed in the previous 38 games during the
2016-18 seasons. Burrow also ran for 289 yards and another three scores.
Burrow’s primary targets are Biletnikoff Award winner Ja’Marr Chase,
Justin Jefferson and Terrace Marshall, Jr. The trio combined for 198
receptions, 3,250 yards and 42 touchdowns. Chase averaged 20.5 yards per
catch and 125 receiving yards per game, Jefferson averaged nearly seven
catches per game while Marshall averaged a touchdown per game despite
missing three contests. Dual-threat running back, Clyde Edwards-Helaire,
snatched 50 balls for 399 yards to help the Tigers move the first-down
chains. Junior tight end Thaddeus Moss snared 38 aerials for 435 yards,
adding to LSU’s diverse attack.
Edwards-Helaire proved his mettle in the Tigers’ biggest games during
the regular season. In LSU’s three most contentious SEC games versus
Florida, Auburn and Alabama, the home-grown product rushed for 373 yards
on 59 carries and scored six times. Against the two Alabama schools, he
also caught a total of 16 passes for 128 yards and one score. Another Baton
Rouge product, freshman Tyrion Davis-Price, added 270 rushing yards on 60
carries and 6 TDs.
The offensive line was anchored by first-team All-SEC center Lloyd
Cushenberry III, and second-team honorees senior tackle Adrian Magee and
senior guard Damien Lewis. Magee has appeared in 38 games during his
LSU career, while Lewis played in all 26 since transferring from Northwest
Mississippi Community College.
Oklahoma’s defense showed improvement in 2019, allowing just 24.5
points per game, a 8.8-point improvement over last season. The Sooners also
allowed just 330 yards of total offense per game, a 123-yard improvement
Junior linebacker Kenneth Murray led the stop unit with 95 tackles,
16 of those for loss and four sacks. Safety Delarrin Turner-Yell added 75
stops, while compatriot Pat Fields added 58, including six for loss and two
sacks. DaShaun White added 46 stops, including three behind the line of
scrimmage. Sophomore defensive lineman Ronnie Perkins led the way on
the interior line with 28 solo tackles, 13.5 tackles-for-loss and six sacks.
Jalen Redmond chipped in with 9.5 tackles-for-loss and 5.5 sacks. Another
JC transfer, defensive lineman LaRon Stokes, was named Big 12 Defensive
Newcomer of the Year, the first Sooner so honored since 2005.
One item to note is that Oklahoma’s defense doesn’t force a lot of
turnovers, just 11 in 13 games, and the Sooners allowed opponents to score
on 40-of-43 red zone possessions.
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