LSU quarterback Joe Burrow beat out Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, OSU defensive lineman Chase Young and Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts to win the 2019 Heisman Trophy. By a lot.
Burrow set an SEC record with 48 touchdown passes in 2019 as the Tigers won the conference and finished the regular season at 13-0. He shattered nearly every major single-season LSU passing record on the way to one of the most prolific passing seasons in conference history.
Here are five of his best plays of the season. It’s incredibly hard to argue against Burrow getting the award for being the best player in college football.
5. TD pass to Terrace Marshall vs. Auburn
LSU’s 23-20 win over Auburn ended up as its closest win of the year. And after Auburn had a first quarter lead, Burrow marched the team down the field for a touchdown drive and a lead that LSU would never relinquish.
This pinpoint throw to Marshall in the end zone came after Burrow took a big hit while scrambling out of bounds earlier in the drive. Burrow recognized that Marshall was in single coverage and the safety was bracketing the slot receiver and put the ball where only Marshall could catch it.
4. TD pass to Ja’Marr Chase vs. Florida
LSU led by seven points with fewer than six minutes to go and had the ball near midfield. In nearly any other LSU season, this would have been a run play on this first down. Instead, Burrow went over the top to Biletnikoff winner Ja’Marr Chase for a 54-yard TD.
Chase started in the slot and slid to the outside as he cut underneath the outside receiver on the play. Burrow then recognized that Florida was in man coverage and the two defenders got briefly tangled up with each other. That allowed Chase to get the separation he needed and no one was going to catch him before he got to the end zone.
3. Run vs. Alabama
LSU’s win over Alabama was guaranteed after this run here. Burrow kept on an option read and got a first down to clinch the Tigers’ win over the Tide.
Burrow rushed for 289 yards and three touchdowns in 2019 as he kept defenses honest with the threat of his feet. He was far more dangerous making plays and escaping or stepping up in the pocket to make a throw than he was to run for a gain, but opposing teams did have to account for Burrow’s ability to secure a first down. Alabama didn’t on this play. And it ended up costing the Tide the game.
2. TD pass to Justin Jefferson vs. Texas
Again, here’s another play where you could have expected LSU to run the ball if this was 2018 or 2017 or 2016 or ... you get the idea. A lot of teams would have punted the ball away in this situation with fewer than three minutes on the clock and a six-point lead.
And this play also showed us just how awesome and aggressive LSU’s offense was going to be in 2019. Burrow stepped up to avoid the pressure that came his way on this seemingly impossible third-and-17 and found Jefferson streaking across the middle in man coverage. The pass wasn’t the prettiest of spirals as Burrow threw the ball off-balance, but it hit Jefferson in stride and he scampered toward the end zone to seal the LSU win thanks to a timely slip by a Texas defender.
1. Pass to Justin Jefferson vs. Georgia
This was the moment you knew that Burrow was going to win the Heisman — and that LSU was going to win the SEC — even if this 71-yard completion to Jefferson didn’t result in a touchdown.
Burrow did a fantastic job of escaping the free rusher and then doubling back against pressure from a defensive lineman who had gotten free from his blocker. He then had the presence to look way downfield for Jefferson as he rushed to his right and fired a strike to the open receiver.
LSU scored a touchdown on the play to put Georgia away and finish the season 13-0. A day later, the Tigers moved from No. 2 to No. 1 in the College Football Playoff rankings.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports
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