Joe Burrow has been a perfect 10 for the LSU Tigers this season as he has surged to an apparent Heisman Trophy and the Tigers have marched to a 13-0 record and their first appearance in the College Football Playoff.
But how do you pick the 10 best plays Burrow has had this season? The most memorable? The most impactful? Often, and it isn’t hyperbole to say, Burrow had 10 memorable plays in a game.
But this season, there are a few that stand out. We’ll count them down backward from 10 to 1, starting with:
(Think we missed one? Share this post with the moment you think should be there, and let me know on Twitter @RabalaisADV)
10. The “Moonshot”: Burrow needed less than seven games to break the LSU single-season touchdown record with his 29th scoring toss coming late in the third quarter of a 36-13 victory Oct. 9 at Mississippi State. History will show the record came on an 18-yard scoring strike to Justin Jefferson.
The game, however, will be remembered for something else.
Joe Burrow caught fire in Starkville, but a wardrobe malfunction that struck LSU's quarterback was what set social media ablaze.
Early in the fourth quarter, Burrow was sacked by Bulldogs defensive end Chauncey Rivers. As Burrow tried to escape, Rivers grabbed hold of his belt and down came Burrow’s pants, exposing most of his backside to the Davis Wade Stadium crowd (including his grandparents) and a CBS television audience.
“I can honestly say that has never happened to me before in my life,” Burrow said with a laugh. “Hope it doesn’t happen again.”
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, officially named a Heisman Trophy finalist Monday night, is already appearing in New York City.
9. Ignition ... and liftoff: Looking back on the season it’s easy now to expect LSU’s aggressive passing attack game after game. In the season opener Aug. 31 against Georgia Southern though, LSU’s offense was all promise and no production just yet. But Burrow and the Tigers signaled the sea change in the program’s offensive philosophy on the season’s very first drive, as he launched a 44-yard bomb to Jefferson to the Eagles’ 3 to set up a touchdown pass to Ja’Marr Chase two plays later. Burrow tied the school record with five TD passes in that 55-3 rout, a true sign of things to come.
8. Burrow to … Burrow: In the official play-by-play from last Saturday’s SEC Championship Game against Georgia, the line looks like a typo: “Joe Burrow across the middle pass complete to Joe Burrow for 16 yards to the UGA47.” Burrow’s first-down pass attempt from his 37 was swatted right back at him, so he grabbed the ball and took off running to his left for an easy, if highly unorthodox, first down. It was the first big play in a 37-10 rout that gave LSU its first SEC title since 2011.
7. So long, Florida: It was a back-and-forth battle when No. 7 Florida came to Tiger Stadium on Oct. 12 to take on No. 5 LSU. The Tigers fought back from a 28-21 deficit early in the third quarter to score the game’s final three touchdowns in a 42-28 victory. Moments after a Derek Stingley interception in the end zone to keep LSU in front 35-28, Burrow went long to a streaking Chase up the east sideline for a clinching touchdown with 5:43 left.
Joe Burrow to Ja'Marr Chase for 54 yards, Touchdown!!— Hunter W (@HW_Report46) October 13, 2019
4 plays, 80 yards, 1:43 mins
28-42 Florida at LSU 5:43 4th Quarter#LSU #Tigers #FloridaGators #CollegeFootball #Florida #NCAAF #UFvsLSU pic.twitter.com/vaJQ0V0fWa
6. Give him six: It wasn’t just one moment for Burrow in the Tigers’ Sept. 21 game at Vanderbilt, it was the performance overall. Burrow completed 25 of 34 passes for 398 yards and a school record six touchdown passes in the 66-38 scorefest in Nashville, Tennessee. Four touchdowns went to Chase, who had 229 yards on 10 catches, with one each to Jefferson and Racey McMath.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is a unanimous selection as the offensive player of the year on The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference fo…
5. Contact hitter: Defenses have learned you lay a heavy hit on Burrow at your peril. On third-and-9 from the LSU 12 early in the second quarter against Auburn on Oct. 20, Burrow scrambled right for 14 yards to the visitors’ sideline where he was driven out of bounds with a helmet-to-helmet blow from cornerback Javaris Davis.
No flag was thrown and fortunately for LSU Burrow bounced back up. He seemed to be energized by the hit, leading LSU to a touchdown on a 20-yard touchdown pass to Terrace Marshall a few plays later.
Joe Burrow was asked today why he's meshed so well with LSU and in Baton Rouge so quickly. His answer: "The universal language is toughness."— Jeff Nowak (@Jeff_Nowak) November 7, 2019
I present the following evidence as Exhibit A: pic.twitter.com/o8RcGKL78B
“I think if a quarterback shows toughness it can really get the team going,” Burrow said. “That’s what I try to do every day in the weight room and on the field.”
Final score: Tough Joe and LSU 23, Auburn 20.
4. The eyes of Texas are amazed: Just before halftime Sept. 7 at Texas, Burrow and the Tigers engineered a breathtaking scoring drive, the kind of drive that LSU offenses past seemed incapable of producing. Starting from his 42 with 1:13 left, Burrow and the Tigers went no huddle as he threw 19 yards to Chase, 18 yards to Jefferson and 23 yards to Jefferson again for the score and a 20-7 halftime lead. The whole possession took 26 seconds, with the Longhorns’ defense never having time to get set.
3. Heisman moment, third place: Being such an overwhelming favorite, Burrow didn’t have just one Heisman moment. He had at least three. This bronze medal play came Nov. 9 in the fourth quarter at Alabama. With LSU up 39-34 and facing a third-and-2 at the Crimson Tide 25, Burrow waited a beat after the snap, took off on a zone read, eluded his opposite No. 9 Jordan Battle and scampered to the 7, setting up a Clyde Edwards-Helaire touchdown on the next play. “That might be a Heisman moment right there,” CBS announcer Brad Nessler said.” Would there was only one.
Eleven LSU players received selections to the 2019 All-Southeastern Conference Coaches’ Team, the league office announced on Tuesday.
2. Heisman moment, runner up: Leading Texas 37-31 with less than three minutes left, things looked tenuous for LSU. Especially after Burrow was sacked, setting up a third-and-17 from the Tigers’ 39. It looked like LSU would end up punting and having to hang on with defense, but Burrow had other ideas. Stepping up against the rush with four defenders closing in, Burrow balanced on his left foot and threw a strike to Jefferson, who completed the 61-yard catch-and-run that was the difference in the Tigers’ 45-38 victory.
(1/3)— Jeff Nowak (@Jeff_Nowak) October 13, 2019
Joe Burrow has only played through the 4th quarter in two of LSU's six games this season:
Sept. 7: LSU 45, Texas 38
Tonight: LSU 42, Florida 28
In the Texas game, he iced it with this scramble and throw to Justin Jefferson: pic.twitter.com/FvsYJjKhad
1. Heisman moment, Championship division: Maybe it’s because it’s the most recent, but it’s arguably the highlight with the most shelf life going forward. With LSU leading 20-3 against Georgia in the third quarter Saturday, Burrow twice spun around a pass rush from cornerback D.J. Daniel. Forced to his right, Burrow kept his eyes downfield and from his 13 launched a strike to Jefferson at the Georgia 45 (Jefferson was supposed to run a 6-yard route but saw his quarterback scrambling and took off). Three plays after Jefferson ran down to the 9, Burrow threw a 4-yard TD to Marshall to put LSU up 27-3 and essentially end the game and the Heisman conversation.
Joe Burrow does magical things ... escapes rush that looked like to have him dead-to-rights. Finds Justin Jefferson who goes 71 yards and gets tackled at 9 (4th longest pass in #SECChampionship history)— Jeff Nowak (@Jeff_Nowak) December 8, 2019
BUT JJ went down with an injury and stayed down.pic.twitter.com/sDkzs3GGAa
But chances are it’s not the end of the Joe Burrow highlight reel. He still has one or two games to go.