Well, LSU is going to have its second ever Heisman Trophy winner on Saturday. What does it mean to you, and what will you remember from this past season?
Obviously this season is special to everyone involved, but this award means a lot to me. My grandpa graduated from LSU in 1960 and loved to talk about how he got to see LSU’s only Heisman ever his senior year. He died of cancer my senior year of high school but was able to see me get accepted into LSU, which made him so excited. If he were still around I know he’d love to talk about how we both saw LSU win Heismans in our senior year.
As for the moment I will remember most, it is without a doubt the 3rd & 17 against Texas. We’ve gotten so used to our explosive offense I think a lot of us may have forgotten how shocking it was how we won that game. After that second down sack I had resigned myself to setting up for a punt and praying our defense could stop the Texas offense for once. When Burrow hit Jefferson and I saw him break that tackle and sprint down the sideline I levitated. I was on another plane of existence. Getting a first down would’ve been a miracle to me and yet we took it to the damn house.
Everything following that play was perfect. I love on the TV broadcast how clearly you can hear the band playing Pregame following the two-point conversion. The music serves as the soundtrack to Burrow waving goodbye to the Texas fans as Rece Davis and Kirk Herbstreit gush about him. This was his Heisman moment to me.
It’s really, really wild and I don’t know if it’s sunk in yet. I know a lot of people don’t care for the Heisman and don’t consider it worth much, but I do and it’s still the *Heisman*. The one trophy that gets its own stage and ceremony. And an LSU player is going to win it. LSU has accomplished every possible thing in college football but for so, so many of us, we don’t know what it’s like to see an LSU player win the Heisman. And now it’s going to happen. And not just happen, but happen in maybe the most lopsided margin of victory ever, with maybe the most 1st place votes. Joe Burrow really had statistically the greatest quarterback season in college football history. He hasn’t just gone down as an LSU legend, he’s become a college football legend. Who ever would have thunk it?
As for what I’ll remember most, besides all of it, those two drives in the 4th Quarter in Tuscaloosa. Alabama was marching, had pulled it back to a one score game, the stadium was a cauldron, and Joe answered. Defenders in his face, 3rd down, running it. Every big play he answered. And scored. And then when he had to do it again he did it. Again. All the feelings of here we go again and they’re gonna do it to us again....answered. He emphatically said no and shut the door and put us on the path to maybe the national title. Just an amazing moment and an amazing player, for me without doubt now the greatest LSU player ever.
I’ll echo that I dont know if it has really hit me yet. Maybe because it seems to have been set for a month (or more). More than anything else up until this point, if Burrow wins this award it is just so much validation for the program. Not only hiring Orgeron and the changes he has made, but also that LSU can truly be an elite program that can win at a high level and produce high caliber players. And to think it’s an LSU quarterback. Quarterback!
Favorite memory is a tough one. I could probably make a case for all of his big runs. Every time Burrow moves his feet, even in the pocket, you can see how he moves with purpose, and his runs are the same way. It was exciting to watch him run, even when that wasn’t the case because you knew he was almost a lock to move the sticks. The touchdown throw to CEH to end the second half against Bama and the throw to Marshall in the Auburn game. Looking back, I dont think I realized how big that throw to Jefferson was at the end of the Texas game but now I fully get the scope. What I may end of remembering the most are all those effortless drives where he just ran six plays and got into the endzone. Like nothing.
There’s an argument, one that’s not at all difficult to make, that Joe Burrow is having arguably the greatest Heisman campaign of any player in college football history. He’s blown the doors off all things LSU, but right now we are talking about one of the single greatest seasons in the history of the sport. Here’s his current per game averages in the passing game:
- 363 Passing yards per game
- 3.7 Passing TDs per game
- 77.9 completion percentage
- 201.5 passing efficiency rating
- 10.7 YPA
As a mini-exercise, let’s see what happens if Burrow keeps his current per game pace over the next two games. (All-time single-season rank in parentheses):
- 5,441 passing yards (6th)
- 55 passing TDs (2nd)
- 77.9 completion percentage (1st)
- 201.5 passing efficiency rating (2nd)
- 10.7 YPA (9th)
There’s not enough superlatives to describe exactly how incredible it is. But my single favorite thing is that I genuinely believe he can’t be stopped. I don’t think there’s ever been a player in college football history with his combination of passing skill (accuracy & decision making) and athleticism. LSU’s offense is a choose your own adventure book in which every conclusion results in your demise. Wanna drop eight and play coverage? Be prepared to get a bucket full of Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Load the box to stop the run and force your DBs to win one-on-ones... Jamal or JJ only need to win a couple of those matchups to put the game out of reach. Even if you manage to lock them down, LSU’s roster of pass catchers runs so deep and Burrow is so indiscriminate, you’ll wind up paying elsewhere. And hell, if all else breaks down, Burrow’s not afraid or incapable of just strapping the running game on his shoulders and toting the rock for 100 yards himself.
This is one of the greatest single seasons in college football history. There won’t be another LSU player like this. Ever. This is as good as it gets. Soak it all in.
I agree with Jake in that this feeling — Joe Burrow being Joe Burrow and this season in general — hasn’t really sunk in yet. For more than half of my life, LSU has had anywhere from average to mediocre to straight up bad quarterbacks. And then suddenly we’re here. It’s like divine intervention, to be honest. Joe Burrow is not only going to be the best LSU player ever, he’s going to one of the best, if not THE best, college quarterbacks in 150 years of this bullshit that we dedicate our lives to.
The first time I truly took notice, and maybe my favorite of all time of Joe Burrow was in the fourth quarter of last season’s Auburn game when he hit Derrick Dillon for that 77-yard touchdown on the crossing route to set up the Cole Tracy field goal on the next drive. I think my soul left my body in the Jordan Hare Stadium press box. I think that one will always stick for me. But from this season, there’s honestly too many to choose from -- third-and-17, those last few drives against Alabama and honestly any time he uses his feet. Two moments that do immediately stand out for me as my favorites are the 13-yard touchdown pass to Clyde Edwards-Helaire with about seven seconds before halftime against Alabama and the Houdini-like scramble for a 71-yard touchdown pass to Justin Jefferson. The one to Clyde against Alabama was just the biggest moment of euphoria I have ever felt in my entire life. I wasn’t able to go to Tuscaloosa, so I was at my friend’s apartment eating a Popeyes chicken sandwich and drinking a strawberry daiquiri. That moment is what I think it probably feels like to do hard drugs. In the SEC Championship game, I literally just laughed throughout the entire sequence. Nothing has ever felt so impossible as that throw.
It’s the first season in a long, long time that you never felt worried about the offense. Even in the Mett/OBJ/Landry days, there were still some shortcomings, but after that Texas game, I had little worry about this season with it in the hands of the two Joe’s.
It’s amazing how everything came together though for this season. Joe Brady was just some low-level assistant, Burrow wasn’t even offered by his dream school of Nebraska, Edwards-Helaire barely received any recruiting attention and Justin Jefferson was just an afterthought in his recruiting class.
You can add even more with guys like Moss, but a good recipe always needs good ingredients and Burrow was the thing that brought it all together.
For me, the Alabama game was my favorite moment because I never once felt threatened about losing it and it was due to him. Every volley Alabama fired, Burrow had just as big, if not bigger, of a response in a game that LSU needed in the worst way.
Being an LSU fan comes with a not entirely unearned sense of paranoia. It seems that the SEC sometimes stacks the deck against our Tigers and that the national media likes nothing more than tell us what we ain’t. LSU has been one of the most successful programs in the nation for twenty years, and its national perception is that of a team without an offense that somehow should have accomplished more. Joe Burrow single-handedly smashes those all narratives to pieces.
LSU has not had an offensive player finish top five in Heisman balloting since 1978. That’s 40 years without a viable Heisman contender, half of that spent in the most successful era of the program’s history. It’s not unreasonable to think that the national punditry holds LSU to a different standard here. Burrow won’t just be on the stage, he’s going to win it in a runaway. It’s validation of the program as a true blue blood, a mountain we’ve been climbing for two decades. It also means that the old narrative is dead. This LSU team is great, and it’s great because of, and not in spite of, the offense.
Joe Burrow is national recruit. He’s the best player in America. He’s a quarterback. He’s leading LSU to the Promise Land. It is simply a continuation of the LSU Golden Era, but... this feels like the start of a new epoch. Joe Burrow is our Billy Cannon.
It’s impossible to pick out one moment. The Texas game, of course, will be the play that leads the highlight films. But what makes Burrow Burrow happened earlier, when they blew his jersey apart with a cannon on College Gameday and he told a teammate that he was going to throw for 500 on them. He was cocky, but it seemed it didn’t turn on until you hit him or disrespected him. So my favorite Burrow moment was when he got earholed in the Fiesta Bowl on a blindside hit, and the refs, for reasons passing understanding, refused to call it and protect the QB, the very reason the rule exists. And it was like a lightswitch got flipped. He destroyed UCF from that point on. And that’s when he went from a good, gutty QB who could lead you to 10 wins to the Best Player in College Football. Go ahead and hit him. It only makes him mad.
I knew I’d see LSU win another SEC title. I knew I’d see LSU win another national title. I never thought I’d see a Tiger win the Heisman Trophy. Even this summer, I was pretty confident we’d see a new and improved offense. I never thought we’d see a transcendent season.
I haven’t cared that much about Heisman in some time, if I’m honest. The last time I probably watched the ceremony was the year Tyrann Mathieu was a finalist, even knowing that he wouldn’t win it that year. And it still felt special, it just felt unattainable. Seeing Burrow there, with Orgeron, and his mom and dad...like Poseur said, this will be the thing we tell our grandkids about.
The way he’s led the offense this year, it’s just felt like watching a machine. Unstoppable. Even against a defense like Auburn’s or Bama’s or Georgia’s, there hasn’t been something you can just stop. And Burrow’s ability to orchestrate this thing has made it all work. Throw deep? Cool. Check it down to a back? Sure. Check the play to a run? That’s fine too. I’m not sure what anyone can do to stop it. Like the Tebow-Harvin Florida teams, or Cam Newton at Auburn. LSU’s offense has become an inevitability.
And it’s been so hard to pick one moment. Third-and-17 versus Texas just felt so desperate, and BAM. Touchdown. Getting the ball late against Florida needing to seal the game, and it’s bombs away to JaMarr Chase for six. And then there’s the whole Bama game, from that first touchdown to Chase that just felt like releasing a deep breath, to the Glance RPO throw that helped seal the win late. And there’s the simple reality that more is coming.
So maybe the best moment is the next one.
I have to echo what everyone else has been saying. Burrow winning the Heisman Saturday will be an accomplishment I never thought I’d live to see. I was a freshman for Tyrann Mathieu’s incredible 2011 year. The semester I graduated was the same year Leonard Fournette had the award locked up until that ill fated night in Tuscaloosa. But never did I think an LSU QUARTERBACK, I can’t emphasize that part enough, would win the Heisman. I can’t even say he’s putting up video game numbers because you can’t even do what he’s doing in a video game.
Until this year, LSU football and quality quarterback play were diametrically opposed. Sure there was JaMarcus Russell lighting up Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl or Zach Mettenberger’s 2013 season. But those were the exceptions, not the rule when it came to LSU football. Burrow might have just changed the program’s future for the better. Top high school quarterbacks are going to want to come to Baton Rouge and try and grab the wheel of this race car offense. The direction of this program has changed all because of #9.
Picking my favorite Joe Burrow moment is the equivalent of a parent trying to pick a favorite child. I just love them all equally. Third and 17 against Texas. The touchdown to Derrick Dillon at Auburn. Telling the Vanderbilt sideline he’s thrown five touchdowns. The “chance to go 12-0” water bottle sip and smirk when asked why he’s excited to play A&M this year.
All that said I think I’ve got my moment. The Alabama game. Third and 2, ball on the Alabama 25. LSU’s up 39-34 in the fourth with 2:20 to play. Alabama’s made a furious comeback, they’re in their building and the weight of the last eight years is bearing down on LSU. Burrow keeps on a read option, runs for about 20 yards and when he gets up he gives a simple first down signal. Though each side would score one final touchdown, that was the knockout punch. That was Rocky knocking out Drago. What makes that moment even sweeter for me is prior to it CBS showed some LSU fans in the stands. You can see him say “come on, Joe” and he’s basically speaking for all of Louisiana at that moment. And when the team, the university, the entire state of Louisiana needed him to make a play, he delivered.