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LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) calls the play in the second half of the Tigers' 45-38 win over Texas, Saturday, September 7, 2019, in Austin, Texas.

Ed Orgeron said he will never forget Joe Burrow's third-and-17 throw to beat Texas.

He'll always remember how LSU's quarterback delivered the throw jumping to his left into starting center Lloyd Cushenberry, somehow guiding the ball directly into the path of Justin Jefferson.

Cushenberry said he was engaged with a Texas lineman when he felt Burrow on his back. Then, he saw Jefferson wide open at the end of the field and "knew he was going to take it to the house."

They all remember the rest: Jefferson raced 61 yards to give LSU a two-score lead in an eventual 45-38 win in Austin, Texas.

Jefferson said his phone was buzzing with so many notifications after the game that he had to turn it off.

There would be no silencing the moment that introduced the new Joe Burrow to a national audience, which registered a 5.8 overnight rating on ABC, the fourth-highest in that time slot since 2011.


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"What a great play," Orgeron said Monday. "I'm always going to remember that."

Yes, that play is getting filed into Orgeron's mental highlight library, back there with Matt Leinart touchdown passes and Reggie Bush's acrobatics and Warren Sapp sacks.

In a sports climate filled with debates about whether or not a team's quarterback is "elite," the LSU coach defined Burrow in perhaps the only way that matters.

"I'm starting to see the type of play from the quarterback that we had at championship teams," Orgeron said.

Burrow's numbers through two games support Orgeron's feeling: the senior ranks fourth nationally in yards passing (749), he's tied for first in passing touchdowns (9) and his passer rating (219.11) is second only to Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts (252.31).

No LSU quarterback has ever thrown for 4,000 yards or more in a season; Burrow is on pace to throw for 4,494 during the 12 regular-season games.

Only three Tigers quarterbacks have thrown for more than 3,000 yards: Rohan Davey (3,347, 2001), JaMarcus Russell (3,129, 2016) and Zach Mettenberger (3,082, 2013).

"He can make the plays you need to make," Cushenberry said. "Make all the throws. He's doing everything for us right now."

Orgeron used the well-used phrase to characterize Burrow: "big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games."

Before a sellout crowd with ESPN's College GameDay in town, Burrow went 31-of-39 passing for 471 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. Only Rohan Davey threw for more in school history during a 2001 game against Alabama (528).

The national perception of Burrow is quickly changing: Burrow opened the season with 200/1 odds to win the Heisman Trophy, according to SuperBookUSA. His odds have since risen to 5/1 odds, tied with Hurts and Clemson's Trevor Lawrence behind the favorite, Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa (3/1).

The nation may be just catching on, but Burrow has known this all along, from setting Ohio state records at Athens High, pushing for playing time at Ohio State, to transferring to LSU as a graduate for the opportunity to compete for titles.

"I knew I was good enough to do this," Burrow said. "Still at the end of the day, it's Week 2. We're not in SEC play yet. So we're still focused on getting better every day."

Email Brooks Kubena at bkubena@theadvocate.com.