Scully’s CFP National Championship preview: #3 Clemson vs. #1 LSU
Clemson exits a thrilling, comeback victory over powerful Ohio State, which extended its win streak to 29. Trevor Lawrence is special (25-0 as a starter), and Dabo Swinney is now arguably the king of college football coaches. Clemson averages 44.2 points per game.
Justin Fields threw one interception all year. Tonight he threw two. The last one was in the final minute in the end zone to seal Clemson’s victory. Final 29-23, Clemson is going to the College Football Playoff Final for the third straight year, but will meet a new opponent, LSU. pic.twitter.com/dXg5xqbeez— Michael Grier (@MichaeIGrier) December 29, 2019
Ohio State still put up 516 yards on Clemson, and LSU is more explosive. The SEC champion has NFL-caliber receivers in Ja’Marr Chase (1,559 receiving yards, 20 touchdowns), Justin Jefferson (1,434 receiving yards, 18 touchdowns) and Terrace Marshall Jr. (625 receiving yards, 12 touchdowns), and Burrow will throw them open with pinpoint accuracy. LSU’s offensive line excels at pass blocking, and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire should be a factor, after he was limited by a hamstring injury in the semifinal. The talented back had 103 rushing yards, 79 receiving yards, and three touchdowns against Alabama.
Lawrence has thrown for 3,431 yards and 36 touchdowns this year. He carried Clemson against Ohio State, and displayed versatility, with 107 rushing yards. I expect all-star receivers Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross to rebound, after they recorded only 80 combined receiving yards last time out, and running back Travis Etienne is a formidable weapon. A two-time ACC Player of the Year, Etienne posted 107 rushing yards, 98 receiving yards and three touchdowns against Ohio State.
LSU has playmakers in its secondary, with safety Grant Delpit and cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. named first-team All-Americans, and the battle-tested defense relies on strong linebacker play. They can force some turnovers against Clemson.
The Over is 5-1 in Clemson’s last six January games, and 6-1-1 in LSU’s last eight non-conference games.