The New Year’s Six has become the new tradition for college football since 2014, the first year that the college football playoff was introduced. This year’s playoff featured quarterbacks talents Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence in a championship showdown.
This year’s Peach Bowl and college football playoff semifinal saw LSU quarterback and projected top pick in the 2020 NFL (National Football League) Draft, Joe Burrow, record eight total touchdowns in a 63-28 win over Oklahoma. LSU took Burrow out after the game was sealed in the fourth quarter to ensure he would be healthy for the National Championship on Jan. 13. Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts had a quiet game, completing 48% of his passes for 217 yards and an interception. He also rushed for 43 yards and two touchdowns.
The PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, the second playoff semifinal game, saw a much closer contest, as Clemson defeated Ohio State 29-23.
In the third quarter, Clemson wide receiver Justyn Ross caught a pass which was then ruled a fumble, with Ohio State recovering the ball and returning it for a touchdown. After review, the officiating crew ruled that the pass was incomplete, swinging the momentum of the game. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence posted 259 passing yards and two passing touchdowns, along with 107 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields threw for 320 yards and a touchdown, while also throwing two interceptions.
Oregon defeated Wisconsin 28-27 in the Rose Bowl. The game saw only 204 total yards of offense by Oregon, with 75 of those yards coming on the first drive of the game. Only one passing touchdown was scored in the game while two interceptions were thrown. Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert ran for 29 yards and three touchdowns. Wisconsin quarterback Jack Coan only threw for 186 yards, a touchdown and an interception, while running back Jonathan Taylor rushed for 94 yards. Oregon won the game despite recording the lowest number of total yards in Rose Bowl history.
Penn State cruised to a 53-39 win over Memphis in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl. Memphis got out to an early 13-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Penn State stormed back and took control of the game by scoring four touchdowns in the second quarter. Penn State running back Journey Brown, rushed for 202 yards off of 16 carries, including a 56 yard and 32 yard rushing touchdown. Running back Noah Cain also made an impact for Penn State’s rushing attack, picking up 92 yards and two touchdowns. Damonte Coxie was Memphis’ only running back/ wide receiver to eclipse 100 yards, catching eight passes for 132 yards. Memphis’ kicker Riley Patterson was a perfect 6/6 on field goal attempts, and 3/3 on extra point attempts. Patterson hit from 37, 41, 42, 44, 48, and 51 yards.
In the Capital One Orange Bowl, Florida defeated Virginia 36-28, behind three total touchdowns from running back Lamical Perine. Perine reached 181 scrimmage yards, while recording two rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown. Perine’s longest score came on a 61 yard rushing touchdown. Perine is tied at second for most all purpose touchdowns in the Orange Bowl at three. Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins threw for 323 yards, four touchdowns, and an interception. Virginia’s rushing attack was almost non-existent, posting 52 rushing yards compared to Florida’s 244 rushing yards.
The final game of the New Year’s Six, the Allstate Sugar Bowl saw Georgia defeat Baylor in a low scoring college game, 26-14. Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns, while Baylor’s quarterbacks Jacob Zeno and Charlie Brewer combined for just 234 passing yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. Wide receiver George Pickens led Georgia’s offense with twelve receptions for 175 yards and a touchdown. Baylor’s top receiver had only 75 yards, and the team as a whole only rushed for 61 yards, compared to the 130 rushing yards from Georgia.
Clemson and LSU faced off in the National Championship on Monday, January 13, at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Mt. Hebron senior and LSU fan, Jackson Williams, attended the event. When describing the atmosphere of the game, Williams stated, “It was something I’ve never experienced before.” The game, which saw LSU win 42-25, featured the projected first overall pick of this year’s NFL draft, Joe Burrow, go head to head against the projected first overall pick of next year’s draft, Trevor Lawrence. The score was tied after the first quarter, 7-7 with LSU quarterback Joe Burrow throwing a 52 yard touchdown, and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence recording a one yard rushing touchdown.
LSU had trouble getting their offense going at the beginning of the game, as they were forced to punt on the first few drives, going down 7-0 early on in the game. “At the beginning of the game, I was freaking out, and that may be an understatement. For LSU’s first few possessions, they were working with bad field position and Burrow looked startled,” Williams explained.
LSU exploded in the second quarter, with Burrow throwing for two pass touchdowns and rushing for one, putting LSU up 28-17 at halftime. LSU outscored Clemson 14-8 in the second half to secure the win. Burrow threw for 463 yards and five touchdowns, along with 58 rushing yards and a touchdown. This game cemented Burrow’s season as one of the greatest ever for a college player, and further strengthened his case as the number one overall pick. Lawrence struggled for Clemson, throwing for just 234 yards, and only scoring one touchdown, coming off of a one yard rush.
Burrow’s accolades this season are some that have never been seen before from a college player. Over their 15 game season, Burrow threw for 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns, the most touchdowns ever thrown by a college quarterback. Along with his all-time stat lines, he won both the Heisman trophy and a national championship, the second quarterback to ever do so in the same season.