The college football world first met Joe Burrow in 2015 when he re-shirted at Ohio State during his freshman season. After throwing only 39 passes in 10 starts, Burrow transferred to LSU after realizing he would sit behind Dwayne Haskins in his junior season.
In 2018 Burrow started all 13 games for LSU, leading them to a 10-3 record and 40-32 victory over UCF in the Fiesta Bowl. During the season, Burrow struggled in losses against Florida and Alabama, completing 37 of 69 passes (53.6 percent) for 376 yards, 3 INT, and did not throw a TD. For the season, he finished with decent numbers (2,894 passing yards, 16 TD, 5 INT and completed 57.8 percent of his passes). Burrow and the LSU offense gave little indication of what was coming in 2019.
|What A Difference A Year Makes|
|Joe Burrow, 2018 vs 2019|
|TD Responsible For||65>>||23|
In their season opener against Georgia Southern, Burrow (23-27, 278 yds, 5 TD) & company put up big numbers in a 55-3 win. The next week Burrow and LSU both received national attention, defeating #9 Texas in Austin, 45-38. Burrow finished with 471 passing yards, 4 TD, and again completed a high percentage of throws (31-39, 79.5 pct).
While putting up impressive numbers against the Big XII (even a top-10 Big XII opponent on the road), Burrow and his new offensive prowess still had yet to show the SEC what was in store for them. Against Vanderbilt in their conference opener, Burrow continued his onslaught. LSU’s 66 points were there most against an SEC opponent in a regulation game. Burrow set a team record with 6 TD while throwing for 398 yards.
Against Florida, the Tigers passed their first SEC test as Burrow, and their offense continued to thrive. The Gators 42-28 loss at LSU saw them give up a season-high 511 yards while allowing Burrow to complete 21 of 24 passes for 298 yards and 3 TD. How impressive was LSU? Florida’s defense only allowed 400 yards to one other opponent (finished 11-2, ranked #6 in final AP Poll).
Despite scoring 36 points, Mississippi State held the Tigers to a season-low 413 yards. The next week, Auburn became the third top-10 opponent to fall but held them to a season-low 23 points.
The second weekend of November brought undefeated Alabama, who embarrassed Burrow and the LSU offense last season. The Crimson Tide’s 29-0 victory in Death Valley, ended the Tigers hopes of a National Championship in 2018. Burrow completed a career-low 51.4 percent of his throws while throwing one of his two INT thrown at home. If the 29-0 score wasn’t enough proof of Alabama’s domination, LSU gained a season-low 196 yards while allowing 576 to the Tide’s explosive group.
The 2019 version of Alabama was just as explosive offensively, but were much weaker defensively. Another another colossal test for LSU would be the location of the contest. By traveling to Tuscaloosa, the Tigers would be slaying their biggest demon in their home. The Tigers 8-game losing streak to the Tide featured three shutouts. If Burrow and the LSU offense wanted to be taken seriously as the team to beat in the SEC, Alabama had to go down.
The final result answered all of the Tigers critics, as LSU held on to a 46-41 victory over the defending SEC Champs. Burrow was equally impressive, turning around his 2018 performance by throwing for 393 yards and 3 TD. The Tigers 559 total yards was 360 yards improved over their 2018 letdown. Burrow also passed his season total of 2018 in passing yards, despite this being only his ninth game.
The win over Alabama put LSU in position to focus on achieving the goals they had set out to when the season began. Their victory over Arkansas clinched the SEC West for the first time since 2011. Two weeks later, Georgia fell 37-10 in the SEC Championship.
|Win Heisman Trophy & National Championship|
|QB, Same Season, NCAA History|
|Year||Team||Pass Yds||TD/INT||Rush Yds||Rush TD|
|Jameis Winston||2013||Florida St.||4,057||40/10||219||4|
|Charlie Ward||1993||Florida St.||3,032||27/4||339||4|
|John Lujack||1947||Notre Dame||777||9/8||139||->>|
|Angelo Bertelli||1943||Notre Dame||512||10/4||22||->>|
|>>Records Not Kept|
Individual goals for Burrow soon came his way. On December 14, Burrow became the 4th straight QB and 17th this century to win Heisman Trophy. He joined Billy Cannon in 1959 as the only LSU Tigers to win the award. Burrow didn’t just win the award; he lapped the competition. He set voting records for: Highest percentage of 1st place votes (90.7); Largest Margin of Victory (1,846 pts); Highest percentage of possible points (93.8) and Percentage of Ballots Received (95.5).
As impressive as Burrow’s regular season was (48 TD/6 INT, 4,698 pass yds, 77.8 comp. pct), he had another gear to show in the College Football Playoff. He set records with 7 TD in the first half and a career-high with 493 passing yards, as LSU advanced to the National Championship with a 63-28 win over Oklahoma.
Burrow’s final performance on the College Football stage, mirrored all of his 2019 record-setting performances. Facing a 17-7 deficit, Burrow’s rushing TD on third and goal ignited the LSU offense. LSU outscored Clemson 35-8 the rest of the game, finishing with 631 total yards (463 passing) and 45 points against the nation’s top-ranked defense.
|LSU Head Coaches|
|National Champions, This Century|
The final result saw Ed Orgeron become the third different head coach to win a National Championship for LSU this century. Burrow became the 9th different QB to win both the National Championship and the Heisman Trophy in the same year. Burrow set NCAA single-season records for a QB for TD thrown (60) and TD responsible for (65). His 5,671 passing yards were the third-highest total in NCAA history, and his completion percentage of 76.3 ranks second.
LSU joined Clemson in 2018 as the only team in NCAA history to finish 15-0. The Tigers also set team records for most points in a season (726) and most yards in a season (8,527).
The Cincinnati Bengals will most likely draft Burrow with the first overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. Quite a remarkable accomplishment for a QB that began the season as an afterthought, but forever made his mark in the College Football world.