As the national championship unfolded, Joe Burrow shut the mouths of all critics.
He was the deserving winner of the Heisman Trophy.
In becoming the first quarterback to throw 60 touchdown passes in one season, he is Mr. Football of 2019.
Burrow turned Clemson’s blitzes into big plays for LSU.
Of his 31 completions, 16 were for 10 yards or more, and 7 were for more than 20 yards.
Granted, it wasn’t until Clemson led 17-7 that the winning Tigers figured out how to handle the blitzes and five-man rushes.
In the first quarter, the offensive linemen who gave Burrow up to 10 seconds to throw during the regular season were watching him run for his life or get sacked four times.
Then someone called for Burrow to use his legs, and that changed the game. His ability to run for 58 yards made the Clemson defense honest.
The ability to adjust on the fly during the latter part of the first quarter changed the game.
The victory has led to some talk that LSU is the new king of the SEC and the country.
Well, not quite.
LSU may be one of the greatest teams ever assembled, but there were 16 starters back from a team that won 10 games last season.
And a brilliant offensive mind in Joe Brady was added to the mix, but that doesn’t mean whoever is coming up behind Burrow is going to be a Heisman winner.
Clemson is likely to be back in the same spot next year, playing for the championship, but the loss to LSU choked off any talk about a dynasty.
As of today, Ed Orgeron and the LSU Tigers are the best of the best for this past season.
It all starts over the first Wednesday in February when the final signing period begins.
Clemson currently is No. 1 in recruiting with six five-star commitments. Alabama is second, Georgia third, Ohio State fourth and LSU fifth.
Another way to look at it is that the usual suspects have been rounded up.
It’s interesting to note that the announcers before the game were wondering if this was the beginning of the end for Nick Saban.
Saban was at the game as an analyst. When the camera focused on him on the sidelines, he looked like he always looks — pained.
The feeling is understandable because this was the first time his Crimson Tide didn’t make the playoffs. If he doesn’t make it next year, then it might be time to say that hair dye is losing its edge.
Until then, no one should count Saban out.
But this was LSU’s year, and the Tigers made the whole state proud. Those in the SEC willing to be gracious and appreciative should be proud, too.
The SEC was 8-2 in postseason play. Auburn and Mississippi State were the only teams to lose, and the Bulldogs fired their coach and hired Mike Leach, so let the good times roll in Stark Vegas.
All the fun Monday night was purple and gold.
Clemson’s Brent Venables is one of the most respected defensive coordinators in the country, but he saw the LSU Tigers ring up 628 yards of offense.
Of that, 463 came through the air, and the No. 1 focus for Clemson was to stop Burrow.
For almost a quarter, the blitzes and five-man rushes worked.
Then the offensive brain trust in the press box saw something, and the coaches called on Burrow to run. He ran 14 times for 58 yards, and it put the defending national champions on their heels.
When that happened, it was bombs away for Burrow. After three hours of TV commercials and 60 minutes of football, the LSU Tigers were the undisputed champions of college football.
Print Headline: WALLY HALL: Magnificent Burrow is Mr. Football 2019