One game left.
LSU plays Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday night inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. LSU has beaten every opponent this season, but can it figure out Clemson, which has not lost in 29 games?
These are staff writer Wilson Alexander's keys to the game for LSU.
1. 'Win the turnover battle'
Asked earlier this week for the key to the national championship, LSU coach Ed Orgeron said turnovers. With the country’s fourth-highest scoring offense and highest scoring defense, Clemson has the ability to keep the ball from LSU — unless LSU forces turnovers. However, Clemson also has one of the best turnover margins in the country this season at plus 16, while LSU is at plus nine. Orgeron said LSU has to “win the turnover battle.”
The bright lights shine down on Trevor Lawrence.
2. Make Lawrence good — not great
This national championship features the possible No. 1 overall picks in the next two NFL drafts: Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said the quarterbacks are too talented to stop, so the game will get decided by which one plays “good — not great.” LSU must put pressure on Lawrence, who has not thrown an interception in his last seven games, and limit his mobility. Look for outside linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson.
K’Lavon Chaisson couldn't contain his excitement.
3. Control emotions
Time can work against teams playing for championships as players get too excited or coaches over-prepare. LSU has always tapped into its emotions with Orgeron as head coach, but the Tigers understand in order to win, they can’t get consumed by the stage. As Orgeron said, LSU has prepared for Clemson, not the national championship. Still, Orgeron believed LSU’s players started feeling “antsy” on Sunday morning. He did, too. LSU will have to balance its emotions.
LAROSE — Tom Guidry pointed out directions from the passenger seat as the car swerved along Bayou Lafourche, passing parked boats and bridges …
4. Anticipate the screens
As he watched film of Clemson the last two weeks, LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda noticed screen plays. Clemson has used running back and wide receiver screens, Aranda said, and he thought about 80% of them came against blitzes. Aranda said mannerisms and tells may predict when Clemson calls screens. The “Professor” needs to see them coming to give LSU an edge against Lawrence and Clemson, which has averaged 45.3 points per game.