College Football Championship 2020: Analyzing Schedule and Playoff Matchups

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistDecember 29, 2019

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 28: Quarterback Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers delivers a pass against the defense of the Oklahoma Sooners during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 28, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Joe Burrow and the LSU offense continued its torrid pace in the Peach Bowl, and the SEC champions will meet the Clemson Tigers in the national championship game.

Clemson provided a thrilling victory in the nightcap, recovering from a 16-point deficit to edge the Ohio State Buckeyes. Trevor Lawrence accounted for three touchdowns, propelling Clemson to a 29-23 triumph in the Fiesta Bowl.

But without question, Burrow was the star of the day.

During a 63-28 victory over Oklahoma, the senior tossed seven touchdowns in the first half and later added a rushing score. Burrow will lead LSU into the national title, a game that figures to favor LSU because it will be played in New Orleans.


College Football Playoff Schedule

Peach Bowl: LSU 63, Oklahoma 28

Fiesta Bowl: Clemson 29, Ohio State 23

National Championship: Monday, Jan 13. at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)


Peach Bowl: LSU 63, Oklahoma 28

If you heard Joe Burrow threw for 403 yards and seven touchdowns, you would probably be extremely impressed but not surprised. The 2019 Heisman Trophy winner has shredded defenses all season long, so that's not out of nowhere.

But in the first half? Come on.

LSU ripped apart Oklahoma's defense, racking up 497 yards to take a 49-14 advantage into the halftime break. Burrow completed 21-of-27 passes in the opening half, hitting Justin Jefferson nine times for 186 yards and four scores.

Oklahoma, quite clearly, had no answers for LSU's scoring attack. However, the Sooners continuously came up empty on the offensive side, finishing their first six possessions with four punts, one touchdown and one interception.

The sluggish start to the game on both sides of the football placed Oklahoma in an insurmountable 35-7 hole.

"We made some uncharacteristic mistakes in the second quarter, end of the first quarter, second quarter, that we haven't made, some, all year," Sooners coach Lincoln Riley told reporters. "And you can't give a team like that any help."

LSU edge-rusher K'Lavon Chaisson notched two sacks, and Kary Vincent pulled down the interception. The Tigers limited Heisman runner-up Jalen Hurts to 260 yards of offense, and most of that production happened after the result was clear.

Eric Bailey @EricBaileyTW

The 322 yards of total offense against LSU is the #Sooners second-lowest in the five seasons that Lincoln Riley has called plays at OU. (Texas, 278, 2015)

Perhaps the only bright spot for Oklahoma was receiver CeeDee Lamb, who grabbed four passes for 119 yards. The Peach Bowl was likely his final appearance with the Sooners before turning pro.

Otherwise, it was a forgettable day. The Sooners, as a program, dropped to 0-4 in their College Football Playoff history.

LSU, meanwhile, is looking ahead to Jan. 13.

"That's the goal of the whole season, to win that national championship," Jefferson told reporters. "So we're not going to stop until we get that."


Fiesta Bowl: Clemson 29, Ohio State 23

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - DECEMBER 28:  Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers celebrates his teams 29-23 win over the Ohio State Buckeyes in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium on December 28, 2019 in
Norm Hall/Getty Images

Clemson benefited from a few fortunate breaks Saturday. Trevor Lawrence was sensational after Clemson fell behind 16-0. Despite some bad luck, Ohio State had plenty of chances to win.

All of these things are true. And all of them combined to create one captivating national semifinal.

The game-changing moment was a targeting call on Ohio State nickelback Shaun Wade, who sacked Lawrence on a third down. Wade contacted the helmetthat much cannot be arguedbut Lawrence dropping his head at the last second put Wade in a situation where he didn't have time to adjust the tackle.

The penalty kept Clemson's drive alive, and a couple of plays later, the Tigers scored a touchdown. Clemson outscored the Buckeyes 29-7 the rest of the way, partially thanks to an overturned fumble return for a score by Ohio State.

Lawrence threw for 259 yards and two scores, but he also scampered for a career-best 107 yards and a touchdown. Clemson had never before featured the sophomore so much as a runner, and it helped to set up Lawrence's winning pass to Travis Etienne.

Ohio State still had 1:49 on the clock and two timeouts, though. And one possession after a super-conservative decision to punt on a 4th-and-4 inside Clemson's 40-yard line, the Buckeyes drove back into scoring territory.

With 43 seconds remaining, Justin Fields dropped back and rifled a pass toward the end zone. Instead of finding Chris Olave, however, the ball traveled into the outstretched hands of Clemson defensive back Nolan Turner, who dropped to a knee, sealing the victory for Clemson.

And now, the national champions have a chance to defend their title against LSU in New Orleans.


Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.