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“This is the greatest single season in the history of the sport.” —ESPN College Gameday host Rece Davis

LEGENDARY LSU CEMENTS ITSELF INTO COLLEGE FOOTBALL HISTORY WITH A RECORD-BREAKING SEASON


Congratulations on a fantastiC and most memorable season! WE BRING TO MANAGING PROPERTIES WHAT THE TIGERS BROUGHT TO THIS SEASON...

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So many great plays. So many great players. So many great moments this season that made it so much fun to be an LSU football fan.

From all of us at Window World – a family owned, Baton Rouge based company, congratulations and “thank you” to the coaching staff, the team, and the support staff. We are all so proud of what you’ve accomplished this year.

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One team, one heartbeat THE HISTORY BOOKS will read that LSU became college football’s 2019 national champions on Jan. 13, 2020, in a raucous Superdome. It’s an evening none of us will ever forget. Yet the thrashing of Clemson on this night to remember—finishing the season a perfect 15-0—isn’t why these Tigers will go down as the greatest team in the storied history of LSU. Nor is it because their journey to greatness included seven wins over teams ranked in the Top 10, including every member of the preseason’s top four: handing defending national champ Clemson its first loss in two years, erasing the ghosts of Nick Saban’s Alabama, mauling Georgia and dominating Oklahoma. No, we just got to witness the greatest team ever to don the purple and gold because of the commitment and sacrifice each player, coach, manager, trainer and staff member made to the quest for greatness. This band of Tigers is the best that ever was because of players working themselves to the point of exhaustion in the summer running routes, lifting weights, sprinting stadium stairs and studying film. It’s because of their focus and ability to eliminate the negatives, controlling only those things they had the power to control. It’s because of the humble courage of a head coach to learn from past failures, embrace radical change and then trust his top people to do their jobs while encouraging them to bring their own innovative ideas to the table.

Publisher: Rolfe H. McCollister Jr. EDITORIAL Editorial director: Penny Font Executive editor: JR Ball Special Projects Editor: Lisa Tramontana LSU Edition Editor: Mark Clements Contributing photographers: Beau Brune, Garrett Campbell, Brandon Gallego, Jordan Hefler, MG Miller, Tim Mueller, Chris Parent, Kristin Selle, Gus Stark, Rebecca Warren, Whitney Williston ADVERTISING Account executives: Manny Fajardo, Liz Firesheets, Elizabeth McCollister Hebert, Judith LaDousa, Angie LaPorte, Kelly Lewis Advertising coordinator: Brittany Nieto

It’s because a coach and a quarterback—both told over and over again that they weren’t good enough—had the passion, the work ethic and the self-confidence to loudly prove they are way better than good enough. It’s because a head coach had all the right words at the right time, convincing a group of young men to embrace this vision quest. It’s about the players embracing the truth that greatness isn’t a product of what you do when everyone is watching on Saturday night, but, instead, it’s born in what you do—and often don’t do—when no one is watching. We all have the potential for excellence. But are we willing to put in the work and make the necessary sacrifices to be excellent? These LSU champions were willing, and this season is wonderful and vivid proof that greatness is attainable—and their excellence will last forever. Many people, past and present, contributed to this success and legacy of Coach O, Heisman winner Joe Burrow and the Tiger team—including you, the LSU fans. We are all inspired, grateful and proud as we celebrate our No. 1 ranking and 2019 national title—and we are united as the Tiger Nation. Business Report, in this special edition, is commemorating all the games, awards, records and memories of this unforgettable and magical season so that you can share them with your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and friends forever. Geaux Tigers! Rolfe McCollister Jr. Publisher

PRODUCTION/DESIGN Production director: Melanie Samaha Art director: Hoa Vu Graphic designers: Melinda Gonzalez, Gracie Fletcher Miller, Emily Witt AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT Audience development director: Katelyn Oglesby Audience development coordinator: Ivana Oubre

Circulation/Reprints 225-928-1700 circulation@businessreport.com Subscriptions/Customer Service 225-421-8181 subscriptions@businessreport.com Volume 38 - Number 10 ©Copyright 2020 by Louisiana Business Incorporated. All rights reserved by LBI. The Greater Baton Rouge Business Report (USPS 721-890 ISSN 0747-4652) is published monthly by Louisiana Business Inc. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. Business address: 9029 Jefferson Hwy. Ste. 300 Baton Rouge, LA 70809 Telephone (225) 928-1700 Periodicals postage is paid at Baton Rouge, La. Subscription rate is $59.00 for 12 issues, with 4 additional issues published annually in April, June, September and December. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Greater Baton Rouge Business Report 9029 Jefferson Hwy. Ste. 300 Baton Rouge, LA 70809 The Greater Baton Rouge Business Report cannot be responsible for the return of unsolicited material— manuscripts or photographs, with or without the inclusion of a stamped, self-addressed return envelope. Information in this publication is gathered from sources considered to be reliable, but the accuracy and completeness of the information cannot be guaranteed. No information expressed here constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities.

A special thank you to LSU Sports Information for its generous assistance with this project, providing much of the game photography, portraits and statistical information used in this publication.

WHITNEY WILLISTON

A publication of Louisiana Business Inc. Chairman: Rolfe H. McCollister Jr. President & CEO: Julio A. Melara Executive assistant: Gabrielle Hall

The season of success

Game-by-game recaps

Lasting legacies

2019 was certainly a year to remember in Baton Rouge. From LSU’s dominant postseason performances to the school’s first Heisman Trophy honor in 60 years, Coach O put together some of the most memorable moments in Tiger history.

No matter who the opponent was or where the game was played, each time the Tigers took to the field in 2019, something special happened. Relive all the magic week-by-week in our regular season recaps.

LSU didn’t just leave a lasting mark on its hometown state—it earned the respect of national analysts across the country. Soak in all the love from throughout the Tigers’ terrific season.

8 12 15 19 23 25

A perfect ending Ending the eight-year drought Booming the Sooners 15 and EAUX The quarterback phenom A record-setting run

26 GEORGIA SOUTHERN 29 TEXAS 32 NORTHWESTERN STATE 35 VANDERBILT 38 UTAH STATE 41 FLORIDA 45 MISSISSIPPI STATE 49 AUBURN 53 ALABAMA 57 OLE MISS 61 ARKANSAS 65 TEXAS A&M

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Continuing the winning legacy The college football world sounds off on LSU

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White House, purple and gold pride

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Krewe of Champions Tiger fans: Simply the best

ON THE COVER: LSU Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron raises the National Championship Trophy with quarterback Joe Burrow and safety Grant Delpit after the College Football Playoff National Championship game at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The LSU Tigers topped the Clemson Tigers, 42-25. (Alika Jenner/Image of Sport via The Associated Press)

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THE PERFECT ENDING

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t was only fitting that LSU’s unforgettable 2019 season ended as it did. So much about the 42-25 win over Clemson in the national championship game was poetically apropos, culminating in a monumental victory that represented countless aspects of this year’s Tigers. If you followed the team closely, you undoubtedly heard the multitude of comeback stories among the players. Justin Jefferson was the overlooked 2-star prospect who many thought was a walk-on when he first arrived on campus. Clyde Edwards-Helaire was too small to ever be a feature back in the Southeastern Conference. Lloyd Cushenberry flew under the radar as the last signing of the 2016 recruiting class. And of course there’s Joe Burrow, who “wasn’t good enough” to make it at Ohio State before finding his second

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opportunity at LSU. We’ve since seen how that story turned out. So naturally, on the biggest stage of its already daunting season, LSU would have to come back from the largest deficit it had faced all year after falling behind by 10 points early in the second quarter. But just as Ed Orgeron—who has quite the comeback tale himself—had repeated countless times throughout the season, “We don’t blink.” The Tigers followed the words of their fearless leader and rattled off 21 straight points to steal back all the momentum and ultimately cruise to the program’s fourth national championship. “To be honest, I wasn’t ever worried,” said junior safety Grant Delpit. “I had all the faith in our team and all the faith in our offense. We just came out in the second half and played our LSU brand of football. We did it.” Delpit couldn’t help but let a smile gleam across his

By Mark Clements

face as he soaked in the moment. The “it” he was referring to was more than just a national title—it was a perfect season made in a historic fashion by a unique group of men. His post-game quote alone captured the nature of this team. The new-age “LSU brand of football” had advanced far beyond the old days of ground-n-pound, power-running offense based in the I-formation. Burrow and Co. had transformed the Tigers into a high-flying, essentially unstoppable juggernaut that set countless school, conference and national records along the way. So even if it was the most important matchup of the season against the nation’s No. 1-ranked defense, how could you not have faith in them? They ultimately answered the call by outscoring Clemson 35-8 the rest of the night, thanks to yet another explosive night for the offense. Burrow threw for 463


JORDAN HEFLER JORDAN HEFLER

JORDAN HEFLER

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

GUS STARK

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fumble and a total of 65 yards on its final five drives of the game. “You know, at the end of the first half, Coach O sat us down, calmed us down,” said linebacker Patrick Queen, who was named Defensive Player of the Game that night with eight tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and half a sack. “We (were) really anxious being out there, so we just all gathered together and played team defense.” It was a complete team win, for a unit that all year long lived by one consistent mantra: One team. One heartbeat. And what better place for LSU to put a purple and gold bow on its incredible season than the city with a pulse of its own right down the road in New Orleans? Led by a coach who embodies all things Louisiana, an Ohioan-turned-Louisanan at quarterback, and a roster chock full of local talent, there was no better location for the finale than the friendly confines of Louisiana. “It’s just a tremendous night for the LSU Tigers, tremendous night for the purple and gold, tremendous night for the state of Louisiana,” Orgeron said. “We are so proud to represent them. Geaux Tigahs.”

MG MILLER

yards and five touchdowns, while rushing for an additional 58 yards and another score. “This is special,” Burrow said. “This doesn’t come around every year. This is a special group of guys that really came together and it’s as close of a group as I’ve ever been around. We couldn’t have done it with a better group of guys—not just football players but great, great men that I just feel blessed to be a part of.” It may have come under the biggest spotlight, but LSU’s offensive performance in this game was simply another version of the same movie Tiger fans had watched all season. But don’t worry: It was one all of Louisiana would gladly have on repeat each fall. It had become commonplace to watch Burrow pick apart opposing secondaries. Ja’Marr Chase putting up 221 yards and two touchdowns as he did against Clemson was no longer surprising. Edwards-Helaire running for 110 yards was almost expected. In years past, it might be the LSU defense that kept the team alive, but the 2019 edition of the Tigers are powered by points. And while the offense did steal the show all year long, the defense did more than enough to warrant high praise. While Burrow and the offense slowly started to find its groove, the LSU defense stood tall and held Clemson to four punts, one

JORDAN HEFLER

JORDAN HEFLER

THE SEASON OF SUCCESS


CONGRATS TIGERS ON A GREAT SEASON!

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GUS STARK

THE SEASON OF SUCCESS

ENDING the eight­‑year drought By Randy Rosetta

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Without question, though, this wasn’t just the most recent championship for LSU. This one will forever hold a special place in the hearts of a state that is as emotionally connected to its flagship university as any place in the country. What makes these Tigers so special is exactly what had captured the attention of the entire college football world since the season began. Front and center stands newly-minted Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, arguably the best quarterback in LSU history. Burrow is just the second Tiger to claim college football’s highest profile individual award and the first since Baton Rouge native and LSU legend Billy Cannon won the award in 1959. Burrow racked up video game statistics on the way to the Heisman honor (his 4,715 passing yards and 48 touchdown passes at the time of the award both obliterated school records, and there were still more games to be played), but there has been so much more to his impact on LSU and the state. His emotion-stirring acceptance speech pulled the curtain back on Burrow’s personality and the immeasurable impact he has had on the Tigers while endearing him to his adoptive home state even more. Then there is the homegrown Cajun coach, Ed Orgeron, who just sounds like Louisiana. In a state where heroes are often thrust into PA RE

ootball wounds can take a long time to heal, especially the emotional kind. When those wounds linger for eight long years, it makes an awful lot of sense that the measure of relief that arrives when the pain finally starts to subside morphs into a statewide celebration. Particularly a state that knows a thing or two about celebrating. The state of Louisiana was swelling with pride as a new year arrived, people from every corner of “The Boot” holding their heads high and chests out. LSU was back in the penthouse of college football, the champion of the Southeastern Conference after an unbeaten run through the regular season and a convincing victory against Georgia in the league championship game. Granted, this wasn’t exactly uncharted territory for the Tigers. The championship this season is the latest chapter in LSU’s emergence as a bonafide member of college football’s elite that began in 2000 and has been punctuated by regular moments in the sun as the SEC has solidified its foothold as the premier league in college football.

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position to have to rebuild their images, Orgeron has turned himself into the perfect man at the perfect time for the Tigers. When you listen to Orgeron belt out “Geaux Tigers,” you hear the -eaux instead of the -o. No longer is he a ready-made punch line for his failed tenure at Ole Miss or the gravelly, sometimes-hard-to-decipher voice. Now, at the school he long dreamed of guiding from the sideline, Orgeron has proven that, like so many others, he has learned from his previous mistakes and has grown from them. Those lessons have yielded major results: Orgeron racked up three national honors—The Associated Press Coach of the Year, the Home Depot Coach of the Year and the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. Besides those two leading men, the journey LSU took to return to the upper echelon was a major theme to this season. The Tigers’ rise back to the top of the SEC was the culmination of an eight-year process that featured some promising signs of progress since a similarly memorable charge through the regular season in 2011. LSU ran roughshod through the best college football conference in the land by averaging 47.1 points a game in their eight SEC wins. But one victory in particular—the game that has become the eye of the storm every season­—was when the Tigers put their most important stamp on the season. Since the 2011 season when LSU topped Alabama 9-6 in overtime, the Tigers had dropped eight consecutive games


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against the Crimson Tide. That streak began, of course, with a 21-0 defeat in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game that put a huge damper on such a wonderful season. Close calls against Alabama followed, some in offensive shootouts, others in defensive struggles. The common thread was that LSU just couldn’t beat Alabama, and that indignity was magnified when the Crimson Tide racked up two more national championships and made themselves at home every year in the College Football Playoffs. To be fair, not many teams were beating Alabama during LSU’s seven-year slump. It was just a little harder to digest for the Tigers because from 2003-07 then again from 2010-13, they stood toe-to-toe with the Crimson Tide as the SEC’s best of the best. Now that drought was over. LSU went to Tusca­ loosa on Nov. 9 and ended the skid with an impressive 46-41 breakthrough victory. The Tigers roared to a big lead and twice withstood Crimson Tide threats in the final quarter to secure the win that swung the door wide open to an SEC championship. Earlier wins at Texas and at home against Florida and Auburn—all ranked in the Top 10 at the time—were instrumental in LSU’s season, but no performance elevated the Tigers in the national spotlight like the Alabama triumph. Perhaps more importantly, topping the Tide was cause for a proud football program, a passionate fanbase and an entire state to finally exhale together. The inability to beat Alabama had become an albatross for LSU—the insurmountable hurdle to win an SEC championship and the spoils that tend to follow, namely a chance at playing for a national championship. With that hurdle finally scaled that day in November, the Tigers charged to the finish line in style and steamrolled No. 4 Georgia, 37-10, in the SEC Championship Game—LSU’s fifth victory against a Top 10 foe in 2019. The romp over the Bulldogs was a perfect segue from the grind of the regular season to

CHRIS PARENT

WHITNEY WILLISTON

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the showdown with Oklahoma in the national semifinals. A Tiger defense that absorbed plenty of slings and arrows after struggling to slow down Alabama and Ole Miss in consecutive weeks suffocated Georgia early on and forced the Bulldogs out of their comfort zone. Georgia never found a rhythm and failed to crack 100 yards of offense on consecutive drives or in any quarter—finishing with only 286 yards on 68 plays. It might not have mattered because once the LSU offense started clicking against a defense regarded as the best in the SEC, the Bulldogs were quickly in a two-touchdown hole that just kept growing. Like every other defense that tried to slow the Tigers, Georgia had no answers as the SEC’s most prolific offense—and one of the most productive in league history—rolled to the blowout with 481 yards. Burrow was again the catalyst with 349 yards and four touchdown passes to add a crescendo to his Heisman campaign. Burrow stood on the stage in New York City as a symbol of LSU and the new plateau the Tigers reached in 2019. It was eight years coming, but this is a team that made that wait worthwhile. 2 0 2 0 L S U C O M M E M O R A T I V E E D I T I O N // BATON ROUGE BUSINESS REPOR T

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BOOMING THE SOONERS uring the course of a historic, potentially once-in-a-generation season, LSU had made a daily habit of inspiring wonder from fans—those up close as well as those from around the country. “Did you see what the Tigers did?” was a common question on the lips of many in amazed awe of a team with the video game offense and a real-life version of Captain America as the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. What better way to add a new chapter in exclamation-point fashion than a performance that topped the previous 13 against one of the standard-bearers in college football—with the reward being a trip to the final and biggest stage of the 2019 season? LSU’s 63-28 rout of tradition-rich Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl will resonate with Tiger fans for a long time for a lot of reasons, but those recollections almost immediately went on the shelf. Because arguably the most impressive bowl-game victory in program history—while unquestionably ripe with meaning—was just the appetizer for what the Tigers and their fans had hungered for since 2008. By steamrolling the Sooners, LSU earned the chance to

face Clemson in the 2019 national championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the program’s first trip under the current format and the Tigers’ first chance to play for a crown since the 2011 season. To get there, LSU followed a regular season punctuated by a rewritten list of offensive records by basically scoffing at those and blazing to an even loftier unexpected plateau. Joe Burrow—aka Captain America—shredded the Oklahoma defense for 403 passing yards and seven touchdowns. And that was in the first half. With Burrow clicking like he did throughout his historic 2019 season, receiver Justin Jefferson hauling in a bowl-record four touchdown receptions and the Sooners unable to slow the avalanche, the Tigers ran 40 plays in the initial 30 minutes for 497 yards. That yielded a 49-14 halftime lead that sapped most of the drama out of the game and allowed the party to begin a little early. And what Louisianan doesn’t love a party getting started early? The only mystery in the second half was how long Burrow would stay in the game and how glossy his stat line would look once he was done for the day. The answer: Burrow trotted off the field a triumphant hero as the third quarter ended and didn’t return after dissecting Oklahoma for 493 yards and the seven touchdowns. What his virtuoso performance meant is that Burrow would

GUS STARK

By Randy Rosetta

take 5,208 yards and 55 touchdowns into his final game, where he would go on to break the NCAA singleseason passing touchdown mark of 58 held by Hawaii’s Colt Brennan (2006). All those fantastic numbers and opportunities for records took a backseat to the ultimate goal that Burrow and the Tigers had their sights set on since the season began. LSU’s task was half-finished at this point, and that was a theme prevalent as the players and coaches talked about the win against Oklahoma. 2 0 2 0 L S U C O M M E M O R A T I V E E D I T I O N // BATON ROUGE BUSINESS REPOR T

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BRANDON GALLEGO

WHITNEY WILLISTON

BRANDON GALLEGO

GUS STARK

BRANDON GALLEGO

THE SEASON OF SUCCESS

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There was still a major challenge at hand if the Tigers wanted to win their fourth national championship and third since 2003. Awaiting in the championship game was Clemson, which had won two of the last three national crowns and survived to advance by topping Ohio State 29-23 in the other semifinal. Those other Tigers were playoff-tested, having made the national semifinals four years in a row with wins over Ohio State, Alabama (twice) and Notre Dame. Clemson came into the season ranked No. 1 in pre-season polls and was led by sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who was a Heisman favorite earlier in the year. Although Clemson nearly stumbled against North Carolina before prevailing 21-20, it still cruised to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship. Until the memorable battle with Ohio State, Clemson had ticked off eight wins in a row by 31 points or more—both impressive and cause for pundits to wonder if Clemson had faced a tough enough road to be a serious national championship contender. That was answered with the stirring come-from-behind triumph over a very talented Buckeyes’ team, Clemson’s 29th consecutive win since losing to Alabama in the 2017 semifinal round. LSU faced its toughest test of the season in its final game, which was fitting. Because as this outing magnified, they just seemed to be getting better every time they took the field.


Congratulations TO COACH O, JOE BURROW AND OUR GREAT LSU TIGER FOOTBALL TEAM FROM OUR RESIDENTS AND STAFF. WE LOVE WATCHING AND ROOTING FOR OUR TIGERS!

GEAUX TIGERS!


Congrats Coach O!

Congrats Coach O!

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15 AND EAUX By Randy Rosetta

GUS STARK

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n a state chock-full of folks who love a comeback story, the tale of the man who has captured the attention of the college football world may wind up being one of the best of all time. That man, Edward James Orgeron Jr., is the captain of an LSU football ship that charged toward the school’s fourth national championship and shredded offensive record books along the way. Better known as Coach O, the gravelly voiced, barrelchested Orgeron personifies the re-emergence of the Tigers as a powerhouse because, much like the football program, it wasn’t as if he had strayed too far off the map. Instead, his image was only temporarily tarnished, and Orgeron refused to allow that to be the final chapter of his football story. Also, much like the Tigers, it has been a gumbo-like blend of determination, humility and work ethic that has resurrected Orgeron’s career with the reward being a job he dreamt of while growing up in LaRose on Bayou Lafourche, a winding 100 miles down the road from the gates of Tiger Stadium. Orgeron is the LSU football coach, and that alone means the world to him. And after capping the season off with a 42-25 defeat of Clemson, he joins three other men who have guided the Tigers to national championships. The difference? This time, the championship trophy was hoisted by a native son and a man who fits his state and football program as well as anybody in the history of the sport. Paul Dietzel, Nick Saban and Les Miles are all giants of college football. They were hired by LSU as coaches who were born elsewhere, played elsewhere and had success elsewhere before directing the Tigers to national crowns. While those three men undoubtedly developed a love for the purple and gold, that was something permanently flowing in Orgeron’s DNA from the day he was born in 1961. This is the son of Louisiana natives and lifelong LSU fans Ba Ba and Co Co Orgeron. He played with Bobby Hebert, affectionately dubbed the Cajun Cannon. They were teammates at Northwestern State (after Orgeron’s brief bid to play for the Tigers didn’t pan out). When the coaching profession beckoned after he graduated from college, Orgeron traveled the nomadic path a young coach must follow, but for whatever reason, a call from LSU never came. Unfazed, Orgeron found success with some of the most prominent programs and coaches of the modern era with stops at Miami and Southern California. His first shot as a head coach came at Ole Miss, a traditional LSU rival, and it quickly turned disastrous: The Rebels were 10-25 in his three seasons and won only three of 24 Southeastern Conference games. At his professional low point, Orgeron latched on with the New Orleans Saints for a year and finally got that first call from LSU when Miles reached out to

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STEVE ENSMINGER // Offensive coordinator

CHRIS PARENT

CHRIS PARENT

Arguably the most controversial move in Ed Orgeron’s early tenure as the head coach may have turned out to be the most important. Much like his head coach, Ensminger’s career is punctuated by its share of ups and downs. It took him a while to wind up back at his alma mater, but ever since Les Miles brought him in back in 2010, Ensminger has made an impact. He was the tight ends coach during his early time with the Tigers, but also contributed to offensive game-planning. Perhaps most importantly, became an unofficial liaison to high school coaches around the state because of his history as a player and prep coach in Louisiana. Heading into his third full year as the offensive coordinator, Ensminger split duties with young Joe Brady, whom Orgeron hired to get the Tigers’ offense into full-blown spread mode. The results have been once-in-a-lifetime stuff: LSU finished the undefeated season averaging 568.4 total yards and 48.4 points a game, both of which led college football. Quarterback Joe Burrow won the Heisman Trophy with mind-boggling and record-setting statistics—5,671 passing yards with 60 touchdown passes. Safe to say the controversy has subsided once and for all.

CHRIS PARENT

gauge his interest for a spot on the Tigers’ staff after a failed experience with defensive co-coordinators contributed to a rocky 2008 season. Things didn’t pan out at the time and Orgeron wound up reuniting with friend Lane Kiffin for a year at Tennessee and then again when Kiffin was named the head coach at USC. Kiffin was fired in late September 2013 and Orgeron was tabbed the Trojans’ interim head coach. He guided the proud SC program to a 6-2 record and aggressively pursued the permanent job, but was passed over for Steve Sarkisian. Back in an emotional trough, Orgeron sat out of football for a year to watch his sons play at nearby Mandeville High School. Miles came calling again, but this time the two found common ground and Orgeron was hired as LSU’s defensive line coach. When Miles was dismissed during the 2016 season, former LSU athletic director Joe Alleva tabbed Orgeron to guide the Tigers through choppy waters as the interim coach. After a not-so-private and badly botched coaching search when LSU whiffed on hiring Jimbo Fisher and Tom Herman, Orgeron was named the Tigers’ permanent head coach just after the regular season ended. There was immediate criticism and skepticism about the hire because of Orgeron’s failed tenure at Ole Miss. The roll call of those who thought Coach O would thrive was short. The list of those who thought he could guide the Tigers back to college football’s elite was even smaller. But Orgeron followed a blue-collar script that has always served him well: He put his head down and went to work. Along the way, Orgeron evolved. A primary goal was to surround himself with good coaches, which started with convincing defensive coordinator Dave Aranda to remain on staff despite interest from opposing schools. Elevating Steve Ensminger, another Louisiana son who played quarterback for the Tigers, to the offensive coordinator position was also an important move, although it was widely lampooned by many in the media. Loyalty is meaningful to Orgeron and a strong connection to Ensminger made it easy to ride out that storm. When the offense sputtered at times in Orgeron’s first two seasons, he did what Miles was too stubborn to do near the end of his tenure and looked for a fix. He found one with offensive wunderkind Joe Brady, an analyst on the Saints’ coaching staff. Now, an older and perhaps calmer (most of the time) Orgeron has LSU at the top of the college football world, adding to the tradition that began with Dietzel and Charlie McClendon, the honor that Saban restored and Miles extended for 12 seasons. Orgeron’s comeback is the kind of story that make sports so tantalizing. The fact that he has orchestrated his Phoenix-like rise at the place he always wanted to be is simply another element to the Tigers’ storybook season.

JOE BRADY // Passing game coordinator/receivers

DAVE ARANDA // Defensive coordinator

While Joe Burrow was clearly LSU’s most important newcomer over the last two seasons, the coach who served as his mentor in 2019 is a close No. 2. Brady came to LSU from the New Orleans Saints staff to help revitalize the offense and install elements of the spread, and it’s safe to say his mission was accomplished in dominant fashion. Burrow is the poster child of the offense Brady helped bring to life, but he has also had a huge impact with the Tigers’ receiving corps—a group that was vital to Burrows’ excellence. Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson, Terrace Marshall Jr. and Thaddeus Moss all blossomed under Brady’s tutelage. Chase and Jefferson shattered LSU’s single-season touchdown receptions record with 20 and 18, respectively, while Marshall finished with 13 despite missing three games. Side-by-side with offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger, Brady helped orchestrate the most prolific offensive season in LSU history and was immediately one of the hottest names mentioned among both college and NFL coaching vacancies.

Quietly, during the stretch run of the season, the LSU defense took steps toward the level it had been most of the 21st century as the Tigers climbed into the upper echelon of college football. And quietly is a perfect fit for the man who oversees that unit. Aranda arrived at LSU in 2016, regarded as one of the sport’s brightest young minds, and that remains intact even as there were some hiccups along the way in 2019. The Tigers finished the year ranked No. 31 nationally in total defense, allowing 343.5 yards a game. But LSU was vulnerable at times this season, especially in back-to-back weeks against Alabama and Ole Miss, when those opposing offenses racked up 541 and 614 yards, respectively. After that, the Tigers were much stingier: Their last five opponents of the season averaged only 295 yards and 18 points a game. Clemson produced the most with 394 yards in the national championship, but it came in averaging 538.3—third best in the country. Aranda’s knack for adjusting has always been a strength, and that was evident over the last month as the Tigers tightened up and took some of the pressure off the prolific offense.

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THE 2019 LSU FOOTBALL SEASON WAS ONE FOR THE AGES, AND CAN ONLY BE DESCRIBED AS

REMARKABLE

C O N G R AT U L ATI O N S TO C O A C H O A N D T H E E N T I R E L S U T I G E R F O O TB A L L TE A M.

B AT O N R O U G E | L A F A Y E T T E | D E L A R O N D E H A L L | R U F F I N O S R E S TA U R A N T. C O M


GUS STARK

THE SEASON OF SUCCESS

The quarterback phenom Joe Burrow isn’t just any Heisman winner. Funny thing, this Joe Burrow phenomenon. By Lee Feinswog rown men cried along with him during his Heisman Trophy acceptance speech and then were proud to tell the world they had done so on social media. Tears of joy, presumably, because the LSU quarterback has had a season like no other in his sport and— maybe, just maybe—as good as any in the history of the school’s athletic program. More on that later, but here’s what Joe Burrow did for LSU, Baton Rouge and Louisiana: In our divided world, it wasn’t left or right, black or white, rich or poor. It was all for Joe Burrow. From the minute he came out for senior honors before LSU’s last home game, wearing a jersey with his name on the back as “Burreaux,” there have been a bazillion variations on the theme, all basically centered around saying “Geaux Jeaux Burreaux.” Louisiana loves its “eaux,” especially when it’s about a Heisman winner. And he’s not just any Heisman winner, although LSU only had one in its storied history: the late Billy Cannon in 1959. Burrow pretty much obliterated the LSU record books as he led the nation in completion percentage (a ridiculous 76.3%), he was second in passer rating, and led LSU to the No. 1 ranking in the country in both total team offense and scoring offense. He threw for 60 touchdown passes, 5,671 yards ... and don’t stereotype Burrow because he’s white, because the 6-foot-4, 216-pounder ran for 368 yards this season (including sacks) and five touchdowns. And there were plenty of times when he simply took off and astounded the opposing defenses with alertness and speed. Sure, you know the story about the kid from Athens, Ohio (where there is a whole ‘nother Joe Burreaux fan base now) who left Ohio State and came to LSU as a graduate student. No one knew he’d be this good.

“A kid from Ohio coming down to the bayou and (my teammates) welcoming me as brothers,” Burrow said in his Heisman acceptance speech. Burrow turned local sports media into fawning fans, a gaggle of them pretty excited—and why not?—about getting their own mid-December New York City Heisman trip. Truthfully, they ran out of angles and things to say about Burrow and his football family, who became omnipresent, thanks to CBS and ESPN. Their cameras and announcers loved Burrow’s parents. LSU put up Joe Burrow billboards in Times Square. And finally came the Heisman TV show on ESPN, when it was a foregone conclusion that Burrow would win the award. He got 95.03% of the vote, the biggest margin of victory ever for a Heisman winner, and you have to wonder what those people who voted for anyone else were thinking. Anyway, he got the award and if you think he’s a good quarterback, his speech was something else. Before he started at the podium, he had to fight back his own tears. And he laughed at himself as he thanked everyone you could imagine, starting with his offensive line and then his receivers. Of course he thanked his parents, even thanked Ohio State and his other Heisman finalists, but when he got to his coach, Ed Orgeron, it got real. “Coach O,” Burrow said, starting to cry. He paused. “You have no idea what you mean to my family. I didn’t play for three years. You took a chance on me not knowing if I could play or not. And I’m forever grateful for you.” Orgeron, Burrow’s dad’s arm around him and holding his mother’s hand, gave his quarterback a fist pump.  “Can you imagine a guy like Coach O giving me the keys to his football program? He just means so much to me and my family. 2 0 2 0 L S U C O M M E M O R A T I V E E D I T I O N // BATON ROUGE BUSINESS REPOR T

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THE SEASON OF SUCCESS

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game win against Clemson’s No. 1-ranked defense. LSU won national football titles in 1958, 2003 and 2007. Another, with Burrow at the helm, cemented him even more into the history of both college football and LSU lore. OK, best season? Certainly for the LSU football team.  And certainly for Burrow.  It says here that it’s been the single best sports season by any LSU team—regardless of sport—in school history, one that was validated by winning another national championship.  And Burrow?  Save what Pete Maravich did as an LSU basketball player—after all, the place the Tigers play is named for him— Burrow has had the single best sports season of any LSU athlete ever. LSU won the SEC regular-season title, won the SEC Championship game, and topped it off with the fourth national title in program history. There have been no shortage of Joe Burrow stories throughout this championship run, and for LSU, it’s icing on the cake. “I’d like to thank Louisiana, the entire state. Just a kid coming down from Ohio chasing a dream and the entire state has welcomed me and my family with open arms,” Burrow said. Someone once said that athletics are the window to a university. Sometimes you don’t want those curtains pulled back, but in this case, Joe Burrow made looking through LSU’s windows a thing of beauty.

GUS STARK

GUS STARK

“And to LSU, I sure hope they give him a lifetime contract. He deserves it.” That made for some laughter, finally, in a room in which you could hear a pin drop. The speech ended, he posed for more pictures, did an actual news conference for the media, and then celebrated.  The Advocate immediately started marketing posters of its front page for $34, suitable for framing. The day after, there was a video montage from LSU football of nearly every former Tiger quarterback giving him congratulations, in order Matt Mauck, Danny Etling, Tommy Hodson, Marcus Randall, Herb Tyler, Josh Booty, Jarrett Lee, Bert Jones, Jordan Jefferson, Alan Risher, Warren Rabb, Jeff Wickersham, Jesse Daigle, JaMarcus Russell, Matt Flynn, Zach Mettenberger, Mickey Guidry, and Steve Ensminger.  Just seeing all those guys in the same clip probably made some of those people who cried tear up again. Burrow capped the season off by throwing for 463 yards and five touchdowns in the 42-25 national championship


THE SEASON OF SUCCESS

Team leaders

• Only team in FBS history to have a 5,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,500-yard receivers in the same season

PASSING:

• LSU’s 726 points broke the NCAA record for points scored in a season. Its 8,526 total yards are also the most in NCAA history

402-for-527 (76.3%) | 5,671 yards | 60 touchdowns

LL EG

O

JOE BURROW

A

LSU Offense

A RECORD-SETTING RUN B RA

ND

O

N

G

• The Tigers’ seven Top-10 wins are the most in FBS history • LSU’s 61 passing touchdowns is the second-most in NCAA history behind Hawaii (62)

RUSHING:

CLYDE EDWARDS-HELAIRE

GUS STARK

CHRIS PARENT

215 attempts 1,414 yards 16 touchdowns

Joe Burrow

RECEIVING:

JA’MARR CHASE

84 catches | 1,780 yards | 20 touchdowns

• He is the most decorated player in the history of LSU football, winning the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, Davey O’Brien Award and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award

JUSTIN JEFFERSON

111 catches | 1,540 yards | 18 touchdowns T

TERRACE MARSHALL JR.

EN

• He is the single-season NCAA record holder with 60 passing touchdowns and 65 total touchdowns

CH

RI

SP AR

46 catches | 671 yards | 13 touchdowns

• His 5,671 passing yards are the most ever in SEC history and tied for third-most in NCAA history • He is the only player in SEC history to throw for 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in a season

DEFENSE:

HE OWNS CAREER SCHOOL RECORDS FOR: • Completion percentage (68.5%)

JACOB PHILLIPS

• Touchdown passes (76)

JACOBY STEVENS

113 tackles | 1 sack

• Passing yards per game (305.9)

92 tackles | 5 sacks | 3 interceptions

• 300-yard pass games (15)

GRANT DELPIT

• 400-yard pass games (4)

65 tackles | 2 sacks | 2 interceptions

• Most touchdowns responsible for (88)

K’LAVON CHAISSON

• Win percentage for a starting quarterback (.892)

60 tackles | 6.5 sacks

Ja’Marr Chase

DEREK STINGLEY JR.

38 tackles | 6 interceptions 15 passes defended

CHRIS PARENT

U

S

ST AR K

• His 20 touchdown catches and 1,780 yards are the most in SEC history

G

R

K

• His eight touchdowns of 50+ yards are the most in NCAA history

GU

S

A ST

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NATIONAL

LSU 55 GEORGIA SOUTHERN 3

RANKING

#6

08.31.19 / TIGER STADIUM / BATON ROUGE, LA

GUS STARK

THE BUILDUP:

CHRIS PARENT

All the talk during the offseason surrounded LSU’s new-look offense. The addition of passing game coordinator Joe Brady, combined with the second year of quarterback Joe Burrow, brought a renewed sense of promise, with players claiming the Tigers could score “40, 50 or 60 points a game” this season.

HOW IT UNFOLDED: Turns out the players were right. LSU opened the game by scoring touchdowns on each of its first five possessions to start its season off on the right foot. The Tiger defense also held the Eagles to just 98 total yards of offense, forcing a pair of fumbles in the process. LSU’s 55 points was the most it’s scored in regulation since 2014.

STAT OF THE GAME: Burrow kicked off what would become a historic season by tossing five touchdown passes, which tied an LSU single-game school record. Fourteen total Tigers caught passes in the win, tying the team’s total number of receivers in all of 2018.

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CHRIS PARENT

PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Burrow completed 23 of his 27 passes for five touchdowns, three of which went to wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. Several Tigers had big days defensively, led by linebacker Jacob Phillips’ team-high 10 tackles and defensive lineman Neil Farrell Jr., who accounted for eight tackles, one sack, and one tackle for loss.

RECORD: 1-0


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NATIONAL

#6

09.07.19 / DARRELL K ROYAL–TEXAS MEMORIAL STADIUM / AUSTIN, TX

THE BUILDUP:

CHRIS PARENT

GUS STARK

LSU 45 #9 TEXAS 38

RANKING

This early-season showdown garnered most of the national headlines leading up to the top-10 matchup, with ESPN’s College Gameday making the trip over to Austin as well. Both schools entered the game with high hopes and expectations for 2019, and the winner of this contest would put itself in the driver’s seat for early national recognition.

HOW IT UNFOLDED: Despite a relatively slow start on the scoreboard, this game was rarely without drama. LSU made two goal-line stands against Texas in the opening quarter before taking a 20-7 halftime lead on a pair of touchdown passes from Joe Burrow to Justin Jefferson. The second half turned into an offensive shootout, with the two teams exchanging points on nine consecutive possessions. A late onside kick recovery secured the win for the Tigers.

STAT OF THE GAME:

GUS STARK

Burrow again stole the show, racking up 471 yards and four touchdowns through the air, while Jefferson and fellow wideouts Ja’Marr Chase and Terrace Marshall Jr. all eclipsed the 100-yard mark receiving in the contest.

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GUS STARK GUS STARK

A 61-yard touchdown strike from Burrow to Jefferson on a third and 17 late in the fourth quarter will forever live on in LSU history. The score marked Jefferson’s third of the contest as he caught nine passes for 163 yards in the win.

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RECORD: 2-0

GUS STARK

GUS STARK

GUS STARK

PLAYERS OF THE GAME:


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NATIONAL

RANKING

LSU 65 NORTHWESTERN STATE 14

#4

CHRIS PARENT

CHRIS PARENT

09.14.19 / TIGER STADIUM / BATON ROUGE, LA

THE BUILDUP: Coming off its first top-10 matchup of the season, LSU entered the Week 3 meeting with Northwestern State looking to keep the momentum going strong. The Tigers had just put on a show for the college football world and wanted to further cement their seat at the table by proving their dominance against the in-state foe.

CHRIS PARENT

GUS STARK

HOW IT UNFOLDED: LSU did trail Northwestern State early in the game after giving up a late-first quarter touchdown, but defensive coordinator Dave Aranda made all the proper adjustments to hold the Demons scoreless in the second half. Meanwhile, the Tigers began to click offensively, scoring on their first four possessions of the third quarter to pull away en route to the 51-point victory.

STAT OF THE GAME: The win marked LSU’s 800th victory in the program’s 126-year history. The Tigers racked up 610 yards of total offense, 488 of which came through the air. Promising true freshman Trey Palmer also recorded LSU’s first and only punt return for a touchdown on the season.

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In what would quickly become a trend for the season, Burrow had another standout game. He passed for 373 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Terrace Marshall Jr., as Justin Jefferson racked up another 100-yard game, caching five balls for 124 yards. GUS STARK

BRANDON GALLEGO

PLAYERS OF THE GAME:

RECORD: 3-0


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NATIONAL

RANKING

LSU 66 VANDERBILT 38

#4

09.21.19 / VANDERBILT STADIUM / NASHVILLE, TN

CHRIS PARENT

LSU hit the road to open its SEC slate against Vanderbilt in the Tigers’ first trip to Nashville since 2010. The Commodores entered the contest winless but hoping to pull off the monumental upset, while LSU looked to keep its undefeated streak alive to start the year.

CHRIS PARENT

THE BUILDUP:

HOW IT UNFOLDED: The Tigers’ offense was nearly flawless, scoring four straight touchdowns to open the game and only failing to put points on the board in one of its first 10 possessions. LSU’s defense, on the other hand, had its struggles at times, giving up 38 points for the second time in three weeks. LSU ultimately pulled too far ahead thanks to a record-setting day by Joe Burrow and the Tiger offense.

STAT OF THE GAME: LSU’s 66 points marked the highest total all season and its most ever in regulation against an SEC opponent. Burrow’s six touchdown passes set a school record, while he also became the first LSU quarterback to throw for 350 or more yards in three consecutive games.

Four of Burrow’s six touchdown passes went to wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who racked up 229 yards on the day. Burrow threw for 398 yards while running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire exceeded 100 yards on the ground for the first time all season with 14 carries for 106 yards. Freshman cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. also recorded the first interception of his young career in the win.

RECORD: 4-0

CHRIS PARENT

PLAYERS OF THE GAME:

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CHRIS PARENT

CHRIS PARENT

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NATIONAL

RANKING

LSU 42 UTAH STATE 6

#5

10.05.19 / TIGER STADIUM / BATON ROUGE, LA

CHRIS PARENT

LSU’s defense had been under some scrutiny the previous two weeks after a slow start against Northwestern State and an overall tough day at Vanderbilt. Utah State came into the contest with a well-respected offense led by a revered NFL prospect in quarterback Jordan Love. Most questions surrounding the Tiger offense had been answered, but it was the defense’s turn to prove its prowess.

HOW IT UNFOLDED: LSU’s defense stole the show this Saturday afternoon, limiting Utah State to just 159 yards of total offense and chalking up three interceptions on its highly-touted quarterback. Freshman cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. snagged his second interception in as many games, while fellow cornerback Kary Vincent Jr. and All-American safety Grant Delpit joined in the action. The Tigers’ offense eclipsed 600 yards yet again as Joe Burrow threw for 344 and five touchdowns.

STAT OF THE GAME: Utah State entered the game averaging 533 yards and 38.5 points per outing before LSU limited the Aggies to their season low in both categories. Burrow became the first LSU quarterback to throw for 300+ yards in four straight games.

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CHRIS PARENT

PLAYERS OF THE GAME: LSU lived up to its self-proclaimed DBU title in this one, limiting Love to 15-of-30 passing for just 130 yards, with no touchdowns and three interceptions. After hearing all the critiques in recent weeks, the Tiger defense as a whole stepped up in the blowout victory.

RECORD: 5-0

BEAU BRUNE

THE BUILDUP:


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NATIONAL

RANKING

LSU 42 #7 FLORIDA 28

#5

JORDAN HEFLER

10.12.19 / TIGER STADIUM / BATON ROUGE, LA

THE BUILDUP: There’s certainly no love lost between LSU and Florida. Recent years had brought some added heat to this already bitter rivalry, and the buildup for the 2019 edition was no different. As strong as LSU’s offense had started, they had yet to face an elite defense. Many felt Florida was the first true test for the Tigers as it entered the day leading the nation in interceptions, leading the SEC in sacks and giving up just 9.5 points per game.

HOW IT UNFOLDED:

GUS STARK

GUS STARK

The final score might make this one look comfortable for LSU, but the 14-point win was anything but. The two teams exchanged several early touchdowns before Florida managed to reach the endzone with four seconds left in the first half and again on its opening possession of the second half to take its first lead of the evening. But the Tigers’ defense wouldn’t allow another point the rest of the night, closing the game out with a pair of goal line stands that resulted in a Derek Stingley Jr. interception and a stop on fourth and goal from the 2-yard line.

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WHITNEY WILLISTON

JORDAN HEFLER

JORDAN HEFLER

JORDAN HEFLER

STAT OF THE GAME: As prolific as LSU’s offense was against its toughest test of the season, the standout stat of the game was actually the lack of one pivotal piece of Florida’s defense. The Gators, who entered the game with a leagueleading 26 sacks in their first six games, did not record a single sack or quarterback hurry on the night, tallying just one tackle for loss in the entire game.

JORDAN HEFLER

PLAYERS OF THE GAME:

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The dominant performance by the Tiger offensive line paved the way for running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire to rush for 134 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Joe Burrow also hit on 21 of his 24 passes for three touchdowns and no interceptions against a defense that forced 12 interceptions already this season.

RECORD: 6-0


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NATIONAL

#2

10.19.19 / DAVIS WADE STADIUM AT SCOTT FIELD / STARKVILLE, MS

GUS STARK

GUS STARK

LSU 36 MISSISSIPPI STATE 13

RANKING

THE BUILDUP: LSU’s meeting with Mississippi State found itself sandwiched between a pair of top-10 matchups for the Tigers. Coming off a hard-fought win over Florida and preparing to take on another stout Auburn team the following week, LSU was looking to get into and out of Starkville as quickly and efficiently as possible. Some looked at the trip as a potential “trap game,” but the Tigers’ leadership wouldn’t let the team lose any focus.

REBECCA WARREN

HOW IT UNFOLDED:

It was a mildly frustrating start for the LSU offense, who put together three successful drives to open the game that all resulted in field goals rather than touchdowns. The Tiger defense managed to hold Mississippi State scoreless until late in the first half as Joe Burrow slowly picked apart the Bulldogs. A late consolation touchdown for Mississippi State brought the final tally slightly closer than the game ever was. LSU’s lead was comfortable enough to put the backups in by the fourth quarter.

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REBECCA WARREN

GUS STARK

STAT OF THE GAME: After three straight games with an interception, freshman phenom Derek Stingley Jr. was not targeted one single time against Mississippi State. The Tiger defense still managed to force three turnovers, including an impressive one-handed interception from JaCoby Stevens as well as Kristian Fulton’s first pick of the season.

PLAYERS OF THE GAME: It was an all-around impressive day for the LSU secondary. Along with the two interceptions, Grant Delpit led all players with 11 tackles, followed by Kary Vincent Jr. and Stevens, who both had eight. Joe Burrow threw for 327 yards and four touchdowns, connecting with a different receiver on each score.

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7-0

GUS STARK

GUS STARK

REBECCA WARREN

RECORD:


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NATIONAL

RANKING

LSU 23 #9 AUBURN 20

#2

CHRIS PARENT

KRISTIN SELLE

10.26.19 / TIGER STADIUM / BATON ROUGE, LA

THE BUILDUP: If Florida wasn’t a tough enough test for the LSU offense, a meeting two weeks later with Auburn’s dominant defense sure was. The visiting Tigers were giving up an average of just 17 points per game and had already recorded two wins over top-20 teams. LSU was a week away from its bye, two weeks from the marquee matchup with Alabama and gearing up to take on one of the nation’s most elite defensive lines.

GUS STARK

KRISTIN SELLE

HOW IT UNFOLDED: Auburn’s defense lived up to its billing, limiting LSU’s offense to just 10 points in the first half. LSU moved the ball fairly well, but untimely penalties and a failure to convert on short third and fourth downs kept this SEC showdown close. The Tiger offense, which had saved the day countless times this season, needed to rely upon a strong defensive performance to keep them in it. Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Joe Burrow would eventually score on back-to-back second-half drives to give LSU a 10-point cushion. Auburn narrowed the gap with less than a minute remaining in the contest, but LSU ultimately recovered another late onside kick to secure the win.

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KRISTIN SELLE CHRIS PARENT

CHRIS PARENT CHRIS PARENT

STAT OF THE GAME: LSU may have only posted a season-low 23 points on the day, but the Tiger offense still managed to rack up more than 500 yards of total offense in the game. Meanwhile, the LSU defense forced Auburn to punt on 10 of its 15 drives, and Derek Stingley Jr. chalked up his fourth interception of the season on another possession.

PLAYERS OF THE GAME:

KRISTIN SELLE

Quarterback Joe Burrow broke the 300-yard mark yet again, connecting with wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase for 123 of them. Edwards-Helaire also ran for 136 yards on the day. Defensively, JaCoby Stevens chalked up 10 tackles, and Jacob Phillips did a little bit of everything, recording seven tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss and another quarterback hurry.

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RECORD: 8-0


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NATIONAL

RANKING

LSU 46 #3 ALABAMA 41

#2

11.09.19 / BRYANT—DENNY STADIUM / TUSCALOOSA, AL

GARRETT CAMPBELL

THE BUILDUP:

GUS STARK

LSU knew the history. The team had heard it all far too many times. The Tigers hadn’t beaten Alabama in eight straight meetings dating back to the national championship nightmare of 2012 that ended 21-0 in favor of the Tide. But LSU felt this was finally the year it could overcome the Crimson elephant in the room. It was the Game of the Century, Part 2. It was No. 2 vs. No. 3. It was Joe Burrow vs. Tua Tagovailoa, battling it out to be the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy. The winner would essentially have a spot reserved in the College Football Playoff, while the loser would have a mountain to climb to fight its way back in.

CHRIS PARENT

GUS STARK

HOW IT UNFOLDED: Coach O couldn’t have scripted a much better start to the afternoon. LSU recovered an Alabama fumble on the Tide’s opening drive of the game and promptly marched 92 yards in six plays to reach the end zone. A second fumble set up a 40-yard Cade York field goal to put LSU up 10-0 early in the contest. The Tigers closed out the first half with what was likely the best two minutes of their entire season, putting together a late touchdown drive before snagging an interception and scoring a second touchdown in two consecutive plays to take a 33-13 lead into the half. Alabama chipped away at the deficit, but the LSU offense never faltered. The game ended with the two teams combining to score five straight touchdowns, before LSU took a knee to run out the clock.

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STAT OF THE GAME: Joe Burrow entered the game as the odds-on favorite to win the Heisman, and his performance in Tuscaloosa only improved his position. The senior quarterback completed 31 of his 39 passes for 393 yards and three touchdowns in the game, while rushing 14 times for 64 yards as well to lead LSU to the monumental victory.

PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Clyde Edwards-Helaire cemented his place in LSU history with his performance against Alabama. Not only did he pile up 180 total yards with four touchdowns, but the manner in which he did so will be remembered by LSU fans forever. The 5-foot-8, 210-pound tailback ran around, over and through countless Tide tacklers in the game, giving the Tigers numerous critical first downs or touchdowns each time his number was called.

RECORD:

54

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NATIONAL

RANKING

LSU 58 OLE MISS 37

#1

11.16.19 / VAUGHT-HEMINGWAY STADIUM / OXFORD, MS

CHRIS PARENT

The toughest tests of LSU’s regular season are now behind it, but the last thing the Tigers needed was some sort of slip-up game. Win out, and all of LSU’s goals are still in front of it. One misstep, and those previous accomplishments lose value. From the moment the Alabama game ended, Tiger players vocalized their focus on the next opponent. Ole Miss may have been struggling, but it wasn’t about to be overlooked.

HOW IT UNFOLDED: There was certainly no hangover following the win against Alabama. LSU came out of the gate clicking on all cylinders. The Tigers scored on all but one of its six first-half possessions, missing a 48-yard field goal on their one slip-up. LSU took a 31-7 lead into halftime and seemed to be in cruise control before surrendering big play after big play to the Rebel rushing attack in the second half. Burrow’s 489 yards and five-touchdown effort kept the margin safe enough all evening, but the 614 yards surrendered by the defense caused lots of headaches both locally and nationally.

STAT OF THE GAME: The good: Wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase racked up a whopping 227 yards and three touchdowns through the air, while running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire tacked on 172 more on the ground. The bad: The Tigers surrendered 402 rushing yards to the Rebels, including touchdown plays of 46, 60, 35 and 55 yards.

CHRIS PARENT

CHRIS PARENT

THE BUILDUP:

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CHRIS PARENT CHRIS PARENT

PLAYERS OF THE GAME:

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RECORD: 10-0

CHRIS PARENT

CHRIS PARENT

The offense as a whole had its most dominant performance of the year all around. LSU’s 714 yards of total offense marked its season high as four different Tigers accounted for 100 yards or more.


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NATIONAL

RANKING

LSU 56 ARKANSAS 20

#1

11.23.19 / TIGER STADIUM / BATON ROUGE, LA

THE BUILDUP:

KRISTIN SELLE

LSU’s defense was on the receiving end of a lot of scrutiny after its lackluster performance against a struggling Ole Miss side, but a matchup with the SEC’s worst team would be a prime opportunity to work out the kinks. A win against Arkansas would not only keep LSU’s momentum moving in the right direction, but it would secure the Tigers’ spot in the conference championship game as the winners of the SEC West.

HOW IT UNFOLDED: LSU scored on its opening drive of the game, but a weirdly inconsistent first quarter saw the score remain closer than most fans would have liked early on. The Tigers quickly kicked it into gear, scoring 49 straight points heading into the fourth quarter to ultimately walk away with a very comfortable win. The starters were able to earn some valuable rest late in the game, while the backups tacked on some late points as well.

STAT OF THE GAME: Clyde Edwards-Helaire had his biggest game of the season despite posting his fewest rushing attempts of the year. The junior running back racked up 188 yards on just six carries, averaging a remarkable 31.3 yards per attempt. He reached the end zone three times, headlined by an 89-yard run late in the third quarter.

KRISTIN SELLE

GUS STARK

PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Edwards-Helaire stole the show, but quarterback Joe Burrow also managed to throw for 327 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, JaCoby Stevens recorded eight tackles, four tackles for loss, three sacks and a quarterback hurry, while fellow linebacker Jacob Phillips racked up a game-high 12 tackles on the day.

RECORD: 11-0

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KRISTIN SELLE

GUS STARK

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CHRIS PARENT GUS STARK

62


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NATIONAL

RANKING

LSU 50 TEXAS A&M 7

#2

WHITNEY WILLISTON

11.30.19 / TIGER STADIUM / BATON ROUGE, LA

THE BUILDUP: This one had been circled on LSU’s schedule since the moment last season’s iconic matchup came to a close. The controversial yet historic game that ended in a 74-72 loss after seven overtimes did not sit well with the Tigers. As soon as the Arkansas game was in the books, several players hinted at how significant this season finale would be. Not only would it be an opportunity to cap off the regular season undefeated at a perfect 12-0, but it would be LSU’s shot at revenge against the Aggies.

REBECCA WARREN

REBECCA WARREN

HOW IT UNFOLDED: LSU wanted to send a message early and often. The Tigers started the game scoring four straight touchdowns, while holding Texas A&M scoreless throughout the first half. The offense never took its foot off the gas, exploding for 553 yards in the game. The LSU defense did its best to earn back some respect as well, holding the Aggies to their season lows with just 7 points, 169 total yards and 97 yards passing.

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CHRIS PARENT

GUS STARK

STAT OF THE GAME: If Joe Burrow didn’t have the Heisman locked up already, his record-breaking performance against Texas A&M might have done it. The senior quarterback threw for 352 yards to break the SEC record for passing yards in a season, while his three touchdown passes tied the conference record for total touchdowns thrown in a season. He would add four more touchdowns next week in the SEC Championship game to break that record.

PLAYERS OF THE GAME:

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GUS STARK

CHRIS PARENT

Burrow etched his name in the record books with his 10th game of 300+ yards passing. Wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase caught seven balls for 197 yards and two scores. The strong defensive effort was headlined by K’lavon Chaisson, who tallied six tackles, 1.5 sacks and 1.5 tackles for loss.

RECORD: 12-0


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LASTING LEGACIES

CONTINUING THE WINNING LEGACY By Mark Clements

LSU’s 2019 season was undoubtedly one that will live on forever in the minds of Tiger fans. A Heisman Trophy winner led a record-setting offense to historic levels, capped off by the school’s first national championship in more than a decade. Many familiar with the program called this year’s team the best group to ever don the purple and gold, which is quite an honor considering LSU’s rich history of success.

2003 FILE PHOTO

Back on TOP

1958

LSU SPORTS

Setting the standard Led by legendary running back Billy Cannon—who would ultimately become LSU’s first Heisman Trophy winner one year later—the 1958 Tigers tore through an undefeated schedule to finish the year 11-0. Monumental wins over former powerhouses like Florida, Ole Miss and in-state rival Tulane earned LSU the No. 1 ranking in the AP Poll and secured the school’s first national championship. Fun fact: LSU would go on to beat Clemson 7-0 in the Sugar Bowl to end the season.

2007

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New coach, same success. Nick Saban may have been out of the picture, but many of his players were still around as Les Miles took the helm in Baton Rouge. LSU suffered two losses throughout the season, both of which came in triple overtime thrillers to strong SEC foes. The Tigers still did just enough to reach the BCS National Championship Game—also in New Orleans—where they would take down top-ranked Ohio State, 38-24, to earn the school’s third national title.

JORDAN HEFLER

Continued championship caliber

TIM MUELLER

68

LSU fans would have to wait 45 years to reach the pinnacle of college football again. Former coach Nick Saban put together a dominant roster bolstered by one of the nation’s best defenses as the Tigers navigated through the tough SEC slate and into the BCS National Championship Game. The team touted four First-Team All-Americans and after starting the season ranked No. 14, LSU would finish on top by beating previous No. 1 Oklahoma, 21-14, in the Nokia Sugar Bowl hosted in the Superdome.

2019

Return to greatness There may never be another college football season as memorable as LSU’s 2019 run. Led by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow, the Tiger offense lit the record books on fire as it chalked up a perfect 15-0 record headlined by seven wins over top10 teams. None were bigger than LSU’s 42-25 defeat of defending national champion Clemson in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Tigers not only brought the championship trophy back to Baton Rouge, but they got to do it in their home state and in front of a rowdy crowd decked out in purple and gold.


FOUR-TIME

RECIPIENT


LASTING LEGACIES

THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL WORLD

SOUNDS OFF ON LSU

“This is probably the greatest college football team ever, and their numbers speak to that.” – former NFL quarterback and current CBS sports analyst Boomer Esiason

“LSU had the greatest season ever. And it isn’t especially close.” – Mike Greenberg, co-host of ESPN’s morning show, Get Up!

“There’s not a conversation anymore: That was the greatest season we’ve ever watched a college quarterback have.”

– Former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky “Ultimately, with the makeup CHRIS PARENT

of the guys … I don’t think you

– LSU quarterback Joe Burrow 70

I want to be here at LSU “for Thisa longistimenot theandfinish. win many a championships at LSU, and this is just the beginning. ” “It’s 5:30 am in New Orleans and T

“We couldn’t have done it with a better group of guys—not just football players but great, great men that I just feel blessed to be a part of this. This National Championship will be remembered for a long time in Louisiana.”

– CBS Sports football writer Barrett Sallee

EN

– ESPN broadcaster Sean McDonough during LSU’s win against Oklahoma

– LSU linebacker JaCoby Stevens

A R

enough word.”

LE R

isn’t a strong

“Joe Burrow is an ABSOLUTE MACHINE.”

HEF

historic, and that

get any better than this.” – LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire

DAN

seeing today is

one. For us to win it all, it doesn’t

“I feel like we have the best college football player ever at quarterback. No one has done what Joe Burrow has done this year. I think this goes down as one of the greatest teams in college football.” JOR

“What we’re

can make a story as good as this

– Coach O

“Whether you’re an LSU fan or just a college football fan, you’ll look

back at 2019 as one of the greatest runs we’ve ever witnessed.” - ESPN College Football analyst Kirk Herbstreit

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CH

RI

S

P

one thing seems clear: this LSU football team isn’t one of the best in history. It is the best! Case closed.” – SEC Network college football commentator Paul Finebaum


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LASTNG LEGACIES

WHITE HOUSE,

PURPLE AND GOLD PRIDE

I

PHOTOS COURTESY GUS STARK

t was a once-in-a-lifetime week for LSU, which went from national champs to the nation’s capital. The Tigers made the traditional visit to the White House, where they spent the day soaking in the sights, walking the grounds and admiring the history of the building. LSU eventually made its way into the East Room, where President Trump addressed the Tigers for nearly an hour. The team even got to visit the Oval Office, where they lined up for individual pictures with the president, who was also in attendance at LSU’s win over Clemson earlier in the week. What a time to be a Tiger.

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H

KREWE OF CHAMPIONS

LASTNG LEGACIES

ow does Louisiana celebrate the national championship of its flagship university led by their beloved Cajun coach? The only way this state knows how—with a festive, colorful, rowdy parade. Coach O and his Tigers loaded onto floats and rolled through campus just a few days after winning the school’s fourth national title, tossing beads to the tens of thousands of fans that lined the streets. The route led straight into a packed Pete Maravich Assembly Center, where the purple and gold party continued with more speeches, interviews and awards. The good times were certainly rolling that afternoon.

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LASTING LEGACIES

TIGER FANS

KOU RTN EY CAR

ROLL

JOR DAN

H EFLE

R

JORDAN HEFLER

REB ECCA WA

RRE N

MADDIE MCCORMICK

SIMPLY THE BEST

74

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ew things bring our state together like LSU football on Saturday night in Death Valley. The 2019 season gave Tiger fans plenty to cheer about all year long and according to Coach O, directly contributed to the successful season. “I want to thank our fans for being the best,” Orgeron said after LSU’s 42-28 win over No. 7 Florida in early October. “That was the best stadium I’ve ever seen, man. It’s wonderful to be the head coach at LSU, watch my team in victory and see the fans so happy.” From early-morning tailgating to late nights in Tiger Stadium, LSU football fans of all ages were proud to wear the purple and gold to support their team. Check out some of our favorite fan photos from throughout the year.


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LASTING LEGACIES


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Legendary: LSU cements itself into college football history with a record-breaking season  

Our 2020 Commemorative Edition chronicling the National Championship Season of the LSU Tigers.

Legendary: LSU cements itself into college football history with a record-breaking season  

Our 2020 Commemorative Edition chronicling the National Championship Season of the LSU Tigers.