Championship game

Chesley Hicks (front, LSU shirt), her parents Bob and Caye Powada (purple jackets) and friends rejoice after the LSU Tigers won the national championship on Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. Hicks graduated from LSU in 2012.

I had the chance to catch the national championship game last Monday night and caught me some Tiger on Tiger violence.

It lived up to the billing in spades — for the first three quarters anyway. Big plays, questionable calls, costly mistakes — it seemed that every other play was huge toward the potential outcome of the game.

I happened to be in New Braunfels, so I popped into a sports bar to watch the game for the atmosphere and no surprise in Texas, the LSU fans were out in droves.

I caught up with some of them after the contest, and it turned out they were from Seguin, fans of the Tigers because their daughter had graduated from LSU.

They were obviously euphoric after the Tigers from the SEC dominated late and rolled to a perfect 15-0 season, breaking all kinds of records along the way.

I’ll get to what they had to say shortly, but first, some thoughts on the contest.

The game

Clemson had taken a 17-7 lead in the first half, when the Tigers’ Joe Burrow took over the game. 

He simply did what he’s been doing all season — throwing the ball all over the field.

Burrow set record after record this season, including NCAA records for most total touchdowns by a player in a season, most passing TDs in a season, and LSU records for yards, completion percentage and completions in a season — among many, many others.

Betcha Ohio State is kicking themselves right about now, huh?

Burrow led the Tigers to three straight touchdowns to end the half, aided by a terrible pass interference call on Clemson to extend the last drive of the half on a 3rd-and-19, as LSU took a 28-17 lead at the intermission.

Clemson had scored on its second possession of the third quarter  to cut the lead to three, 28-25, when the first of two crucial plays late in the game may have decided it.

On an LSU third down on the next series, Burrow made maybe his one bad throw on the night.

But Clemson couldn’t hold on to the easy interception, which would likely have gone for a touchdown and failed to take the lead.

While the game was rolling along, we noticed a couple of things that struck us as funny.

Did you catch Dabo Swinney’s clothes? The Clemson head coach was wearing close to LSU colors on the sidelines, a purple shirt and a bright yellow cap. 

A former football player watching the game pointed out that it was so his quarterback could see him on the sidelines when he was making the play calls.

Logical I guess, but couldn’t he have chosen other colors?

LSU had an interception called back for pass interference, dropped a pass in the end zone, and missed a field goal, but still managed to score twice more and take a 17-point lead.

How about the look on Ed Orgeron’s face after LSU missed the field goal? He looked like a big and very sad basset hound.

The second big play in the second half came in the form of an offensive pass interference call on Clemson on an easy touchdown catch — the call was questionable at best and ended any hopes for the Clemson faithful.

Not that I think it would have mattered, LSU was simply too good and made breaking Clemson’s 29-game win streak look easy.

This 2019 LSU squad may have been the greatest offensive team to ever lace up the cleats in college football. Burrow led the team to a perfect 15-0 record, and the offense averaged more than 48 points a game.

The fans

I caught up with some of the fans celebrating LSU’s win after the game.

Bud and Caye Powada, who both graduated from Marion High School, live on Lake Placid, and their daughter, Chesley Hicks, graduated from LSU in 2012.

The Powada’s became fans of the team after their daughter attended LSU.

“If you go to one LSU game you’re hooked,” Caye said, after they had attended some games while Hicks was in school.

It had been 13 years since LSU’s last national championship, but Hicks was in the Superdome for the national championship against Alabama in 2011, which didn’t go so well for her Tigers (Alabama won 21-0).

Hicks cringed a little when we talked about that game, and I recalled the ‘Bama had kicked the crap out of them that night.

“I was in New Orleans for the last time we were in the national championship game,” Hicks said. “We didn’t get past the 50-yard-line, so this was a nice change of pace. This was a lot sweeter.

“Joe Burrow obviously was the MVP, and Justin Jefferson, I was there when his big brother (George) played, so to see his little brother play well was great.”

Hicks was understandably ecstatic with the win by her alma mater.

“I’m pretty excited,” she said. “I feel like the whole team played well — I’m very happy.”

Kevin Duke is the sports editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at sports@seguingazette.com .

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