Welcome to the Heisman race, Joe Burrow.
The LSU quarterback had himself a day in the No. 6 Tigers’ 45-31 victory over No. 9 Texas at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
His biggest play of the game came when he held strong in the pocket on a 3rd down late in the game and delivered a strike to Justin Jefferson for a 61-yard touchdown to put the game out of reach.
Burrow’s finished 31 of 39 for 471 yards and four touchdowns. Jefferson caught three of those TDs and was one of three LSU WRs to go over 100 yards (Jefferson, 163; Ja’Marr Chase, 147; Terrance Marshall, 123 and a TD).
Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger wasn’t bad either. He threw for 401 yards and four touchdowns himself. But Burrow was simply the best player on the field this time around.
LSU took a 3-0 lead on its first drive of the game when Cade York converted a 36-yard field goal.
Three plays later, however, and the Longhorns were right back in business when linebacker Jeffrey McCulloch tipped a Joe Burrow pass, which was intercepted by Joseph Ossai at the Tigers 4.
Ehlinger, though, was stopped again on 4th down, this time a run wide right that was swallowed up by LSU at the 2.
Texas finally got on the board in the second quarter on a 55-yard TD reception by Brennan Eagles from Ehlinger with 10:29 left.
The Longhorns’ lead was short-lived, though, as LSU marched 75 yards in eight plays to retake control on a terrific catch in traffic by Jefferson to put the Tigers up 10-7 with 7:30 left in the first half.
It stayed that way until York nailed a 26-yard FG with 1:41 left in the first half to give LSU a 13-7 lead.
Then, less than a minute later, the Tigers struck again. This time on a 21-yard strike from Burrow’s to Jefferson to make it a 20-7 game.
The Longhorns got back into it with a methodical 19-play, 76-yard drive on their first possession of the second half when Ehlinger bullied his way into the endzone to make it 20-14.
York added another field goal to his stat line on LSU’s next possession to push its lead to 23-14 with 5:10 left in the third.
Texas added its second touchdown in as many drives when Ehlinger found true freshman Jake Smith over the middle from 20 yards out to make it a 23-21 LSU lead with just over 2 minutes left in the third.
Not to be out-done, Burrow’s continued his introduction into the Heisman race with another surgical drive, this one ending with a 26-yard touchdown to Marshall on the first play of the fourth quarter. With the throw, Burrow, an Ohio State transfer, improved to 23 of 30 for 344 yards and three touchdowns.
It was a “rinse-repeat” scenario for the Longhorns on their next drive as receiver Devin Duvernay broke a tackle on a 4th-and-3 and jetted 44 yards for the score to make it a 30-28 game with 12:09 left.
LSU’ got the touchdown back on its next possession with a rather easy march down the field, capped by a Clyde Edwards-Helaire 12-yard run to give the Tigers a 37-28 lead with 9:58 left.