LSU's Top 10 moments of the perfect 2019-20 season ... so far

Glenn Guilbeau
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

BATON ROUGE — Before it all ends, let's take a look back at where it all began for the 2019 LSU football team.

Technically it started at 6:32 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, in Tiger Stadium when No. 6 LSU defeated Georgia Southern, 55-3, behind quarterback Joe Burrow, who completed 23-of-27 passes for a 276 yards and a school-record tying five touchdown passes.

And he was only getting started.

The No. 1 Tigers (14-0) play No. 3 Clemson (14-0) at 7 p.m. Monday on ESPN for the national championship at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

Things really got going toward the ultimate destination of the Dome, which is 81 miles from Tiger Stadium, on Sept. 7 in Austin, Texas. Here are the top 10 moments in order of occurrence.

More:LSU's 2019 season in review

Sep 7, 2019; Austin, TX, USA; Louisiana State Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow (9) after throwing his fourth touchdown pass in the second half against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

1. 61-yard TD vs. Texas

In game two at No. 9 Texas, No. 6 LSU led, 37-31, tenuously on ABC national television with less than three minutes to play after the Longhorns had just got to within six with 3:59 to go. The Tigers faced a third-and-17 at their 39-yard line, and Burrow found wide receiver Justin Jefferson for a 61-yard touchdown and 45-31 lead with 2:27 to go. LSU held on for a 45-38 win.

The Tigers had their first of six wins against teams ranked in the top 10 at the time of the game, and Burrow — a 200-to-1 bet to win the Heisman Trophy before the season — had his first of several Heisman Trophy moments.

Looking back:LSU out-duels Texas for 45-38 win in awe-inspiring display

2. Burrow starts breaking records

It was only Vanderbilt, but Burrow continued his Heisman run by throwing a school record six touchdown passes in a 66-38 win in Nashville on Sept. 21.

3. Chase puts it away vs. Florida

At 5-0 and ranked No. 5 in the nation, the Tigers led No. 7 Florida in Tiger Stadium at night on ESPN by 35-28 midway in the fourth quarter on Oct. 12. The Gators drove 76 yards in 12 plays, eating up 5:06. But on third-and-1 from the 16-yard line, LSU freshman cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. intercepted quarterback Kyle Trask in the end zone.

LSU took over at the 20, and four plays later on first down from the LSU 46, Burrow threw deep for wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase and hit him in stride for a 54-yard touchdown and 42-28 lead with 5:43 left. And it was over. New pass game coordinator Joe Brady was on his way to becoming the hottest assistant coach in football, but offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger called that last touchdown, according to Burrow.

Analysis:Tigers buried Florida with balance

Tigers wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) runs after a catch for a touchdown during the fourth quarter at Tiger Stadium.

4. Going old-school vs. Auburn

Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele threw a wrinkle at the vaunted LSU passing game on Oct. 26 in Tiger Stadium and had it struggling to score for a prolonged period of time for the first — and last — time this season so far. LSU managed just a season-low 10 points for a first half and found itself down 13-10 with 11:42 to play in the third quarter.

But from that point on, LSU ran 28 times out of 38 plays the rest of the game, gaining 166 yards. Tailback Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed 21 times for 127 yards over that span with a 6-yard touchdown run for a 16-13 lead with 4:48 left in the third quarter. Edwards-Helaire had carried just five times for nine yards through the early part of the third period.

Burrow ran five times for 26 yards in that second half stretch and buried No. 9 Auburn with a 7-yard touchdown run for a 23-13 lead with 13:29 to go. The Tigers held on for a 23-20 win and proved it could play old-school football against one of the SEC best and most physical defenses. A similar strategy may be needed to finish off Clemson Monday.

Column:LSU and Burrow bounce back from adversity and a nasty hit to beat Auburn

Oct 26, 2019; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (22) scores a touchdown on a run run in the third quarter against the Auburn Tigers at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

5. Roll Tide what?

Nov. 9, 2019 – The Night the Tide Died: No. 1 LSU shredded No. 1 Alabama’s defense with 559 yards for a 46-41 victory in Tuscaloosa to snap an eight-game losing streak to the Tide that included three shutouts with one of those by 21-0 in the national championship game on Jan. 9, 2012, and the latest one — 29-0 in 2018 in Tiger Stadium.

“We’re going to beat their (expletive deleted) in recruiting. We’re going to beat their (expletive deleted) every time they see us,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron told the team in the locker room in what he thought was a private conversation. But one of his players was secretly recording it on his phone, and it later went viral on social media.

“You understand that,” Orgeron continued. “Roll Tide what? (Expletive deleted) you.”

And to hell with that 0-for-8. The Tigers went on to beat Ole Miss, Arkansas, and Texas A&M to finish the regular season at 12-0 and win the SEC West for the first time since 2011.

SEC Football Forecast: Will the Tide Turn to LSU?

6. Burrow continues breaking records

On Nov. 30 in Tiger Stadium, Burrow broke the 21-year-old SEC record for passing yards in a season held by Kentucky's Tim Couch since 1998 with 4,275. Burrow completes 23-of-32 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns and goes to 4,366 yards on the season. He also throws three touchdowns to tie the SEC record for touchdowns in a season held by Missouri's Drew Lock at 44 since 2017.

And all this offense comes against Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher, an offensive guru that LSU considered to be its head coach before hiring Orgeron. Oh, and LSU avenged a bitter, controversial, 74-72, seven-overtime loss at A&M last year with a 50-7 win ... in regulation.

More:Joe Burreaux rewrites jersey and SEC record book in rout of Texas A&M

More:Tigers save best overall game in regular season for last

7. Burrow passes to himself for first down

LSU beats No. 4 Georgia, 37-10, on Dec. 7 to win its first SEC championship since 2011. Burrow inadvertently set the tone in the first quarter when he completed a pass to himself for a 16-yard gain in the Tigers' first scoring drive for a 7-0 lead. Burrow's pass was batted down at the line of scrimmage, but not all the way down. He caught it and cut around left end. Yeah, give him the Heisman.

Burrow-Manning Connections: They share Mississippi roots

But he was not done. Georgia was as it trailed 20-3 in the third quarter, so this was not a significant play. But it was remarkable and memorable. Burrow did his best Archie Manning as he took a snap, jumped right to avoid a rush, then back left, and finally rolled right toward the sideline. Then he unleashed one 50 yards in the air to wide receiver Justin Jefferson for a 71-yard gain to the Georgia 9. Three plays later, Burrow hit wide receiver Terrace Marshall for a 4-yard touchdown and a 27-3 lead.

Joe Who was no longer a 200-to-1 pick to win the Heisman. 

8. The Heisman.

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow wins the school’s first Heisman Trophy since tailback Billy Cannon in 1959 on Dec. 14 in a record landslide.

9. The speech.

But Burrow was not done when he accepted the trophy. The Athens, Ohio, native then delivered perhaps the most memorable acceptance speech since John Cappelletti in 1973. In the process, he raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the needy in southeast Ohio.

10. Chance at perfection

No. 1 LSU reaches the College Football Playoff for the first time and rips No. 4 Oklahoma, 63-28, on Dec. 28 while setting a slew of records to reach the national championship game in New Orleans against No. 3 Clemson.

The Tigers can become just LSU’s second undefeated national champion at 15-0 with a win. The previous undefeated national champion was the 11-0 Tigers of 1958, which also played its last game in New Orleans against a Clemson on Jan. 1, 1959. 

Heisman Trophy winning tailback Billy Cannon, who wore No. 20, threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to split end Mickey Mangham in the third quarter for the game's only score. On Monday, LSU plays its first game of 2020. 

A win could put a bow on it all.

No. 11 ... ?