SEC Championship Football

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) wams up before the first half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game between LSU and Georgia, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

ATLANTA — Two truths emerged when Joe Burrow turned on his heels Saturday, a defender sliding harmlessly past in the backfield.

They took shape when the LSU quarterback juked the same defender again, sprinting toward the sideline near his own end zone, searching for an open receiver.

And when Burrow's launched pass fell safely into the hands of Justin Jefferson, a 71-yard reception that led to yet another Tigers touchdown, the truths may well have been etched into the steel walls of Mercedes-Benz Stadium:

1. LSU won the SEC championship game.

2. Joe Burrow won the Heisman Trophy.

The first was all but taken care of two plays later, when Burrow finished the drive with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Terrace Marshall that widened No. 2 LSU’s lead in the third quarter of what became a 37-10 rout of No. 4 Georgia.

That touchdown made it 27-3, and the Tigers (13-0) never let Georgia (11-2) draw close again in one of the most dominant victories in the SEC title game’s 28-year history.

The second truth will be taken care of next week, when Burrow will all but certainly travel to New York City to accept LSU's first Heisman since Billy Cannon won the honor in 1959.

All that's left are formalities: the College Football Playoff committee's selection on Sunday, when they'll decide whether LSU's the "complete" team that should be the No. 1 seed in the playoffs; the assemblage of Heisman voters who will think for a few minutes before deciding whether there's any compelling reason to go against history.

Until then, Burrow, coach Ed Orgeron and the rest of the LSU Tigers will relish in the moment, in the confetti that fell from the stadium's circular jumbotron, in the chants from the purple-and-gold clad fans who made the 500-mile trip from Baton Rouge.

"This is a winning football team," Orgeron said. "This is a win for the whole organization, for the state of Louisiana, and for LSU and everybody that played in the purple and gold."

The old adage "defense wins championships" is fading, stomped out by a Tigers team that scored more points and recorded more yards (481) than Georgia had allowed all season.

And Georgia made too many mistakes to keep within range, missing on the big plays that could have led to an upset.

Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm threw deep on the first play of the game, an accurate pass to Tyler Simmons, who shot past the LSU safeties, wide open in Tiger territory.

But Simmons dropped the pass.

Georgia had another opportunity. That first drive continued when LSU linebacker Damone Clark’s third-down sack was negated by a face-mask penalty. Fromm went deep twice more, each pass falling incomplete. His second pass skipped on the turf, short of a wide-open Demetris Robertson on third down.

Fromm was off rhythm on his passes early on, going 2 of 7 for 11 yards on his first two drives. He overthrew another open receiver, Dominick Blaylock, on a third-and-10 pass on the second drive, which forced another punt.

Then Georgia's Rodrigo Blankenship, one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award for the nation's top kicker, missed a 52-yard field goal wide left on Georgia's third drive.

That provided plenty space for LSU's record-breaking offense to break open an early two-score lead.

Georgia's defense opened the game with a scheme similar to what Auburn used against LSU earlier this season — using seven defensive backs to combat LSU's high-powered passing game.

Burrow said it was a look LSU hadn't seen from Georgia's film all season.

It didn't work.

Burrow went 4-of-5 passing for 66 yards and a 23-yard touchdown pass to Ja'Marr Chase on LSU's first drive.

One of the quarterback's passes was completed... to himself. Georgia defensive tackle Malik Herring swatted the pass at the line, and Burrow caught the ball in the backfield, ran off the left edge and gained 16 yards.

What was Orgeron thinking watching that play?

"Run, Joe, run!" Orgeron said.

Burrow was as elusive as he's been all season, rushing for 41 yards on 11 carries, and he finished the game 28-of-38 passing for 349 yards and four touchdowns.

A season of highlights culminated with Burrow's 71-yard pass to Jefferson.

"If that play doesn't win the Heisman, then I don't know what will," center Lloyd Cushenberry said. "It's not even close."

"Texas," interrupted tight end Thaddeus Moss, referring to Burrow's other most memorable play, a third-and-17 touchdown to seal victory against the Longhorns.

Cushenberry nodded: "Also Texas."

Georgia's pass rush had some success causing pressure, but quick passes eliminated the threat. On the third drive, Burrow was hit just before releasing an check-down pass to Clyde Edwards-Helaire that went for 11 yards.

Such plays opened up the deep passing game.

On the next play, Burrow completed a 41-yard pass to Terrace Marshall at the Georgia 11. The ball bounced off Marshall's chest initially, but the 6-foot-4, 200-pound sophomore was able to reel in the pass before hitting the ground.

Three plays later, Burrow threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Marshall, extending LSU's lead 14-0 just before the end of the first quarter.

Marshall finished the game with five catches for 89 yards and two touchdowns.

An LSU defense that felt slighted by the College Football Playoff committee, which dropped the Tigers to No. 2 with criticisms of its defense, delivered its second impressive performance in as many games.

Fresh off a 50-7 win over Texas A&M in the regular season finale, LSU stuffed Georgia's run game in the first half, holding the Bulldogs to 21 yards on 16 carries — an average of 1.3 yards per carry that was substantially lower than Georgia's average (5.22) in the regular season.

Instead, the run-heavy Bulldogs had to move the ball through the air. At the start of the second quarter, Fromm completed passes of 15 and 17 yards to reach the LSU 24.

Then, Georgia returned to the run twice more, and LSU defensive end Rashard Lawrence dropped running back Zamir White for a loss of 4 yards on third down, forcing a 39-yard Blankenship field goal that produced Georgia's only points of the first half.

All of it, an impressive performance for the CFP committee to unpack when it makes its decision Sunday at 11:15 a.m.

"Tonight wasn't our final destination," Orgeron said. "We know that. We don't know where we're going to go. We don't know who we're going to play. Wherever they tell us to go, whoever they tell us to play, we'll be ready to go."

Email Brooks Kubena at bkubena@theadvocate.com.