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Wayne Staats | | January 10, 2020

LSU-Clemson: How the two national championship teams match up statistically

No. 3 Clemson vs. No. 1 LSU and Heisman winner Joe Burrow

It's a showdown of undefeated teams with LSU and Clemson facing off for the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

The teams took different paths to New Orleans. Clemson dominated opponents in almost every single game, including in an overmatched ACC, but escaped against Ohio State in the semifinals. As for LSU, the Tigers played some closer games, but also have five wins against Top 25 CFP teams and crushed Oklahoma by 35 in the semifinals.

Here's how the teams stack up statistically.

Starting QB: Joe Burrow vs. Trevor Lawrence

LSU QB Joe Burrow is putting together one of the best single-season performances in the sport's history. The Heisman winner is completing better than 77 percent of his passes, has 5,208 passing yards and  torched Oklahoma in the semifinals with 494 yards and seven touchdowns.

Then there's Trevor Lawrence. The sophomore had a huge game against Alabama in the title game last season as a freshman and had a big game against Ohio State in this season's CFP semifinal: 259 pass yards with a pair of touchdowns and 107 rushing yards with a rushing TD.

LSU's Burrow Stat Clemson's Lawrence
371 Completions 250
478 Attempts 370
77.6 Percentage 67.6
5,208 Yards 3,431
10.9 Yards per att. 9.3
55 TDs 36
6 INT 8
204.6 Rating 173.2
101 Rushing att. 93
310 Rush yards 514
3.1 Rush avg. 5.5
4 Rush TDs 8

Backup QB: Myles Brennan vs. Chase Brice

What happens if there's an injury? Or if there are some surprising plays that require time for the backups?

Chase Brice has seen more time on the field this season than LSU's Myles Brennan. Brice also led Clemson to a comeback win last season against Syracuse that kept Clemson's undefeated season alive. He was 7-for-13 for 83 yards with an interception.

LSU's Brennan Stat Clemson's Brice
24 Completions 50
40 Attempts 85
60 Percentage 58.8
353 Yards 581
8.8 Yards per att. 6.8
1 TDs 4
1 INT 1
137.4 Rating 129.4
9 Rushing att. 14
41 Rush yards 94
4.6 Rush avg. 6.7
0 Rush TDs 1

Running back: Clyde Edwards-Helaire vs. Travis Etienne

PREDICTION: Projecting the LSU vs. Clemson final score

Edwards-Helaire didn't need to do much in the Peach Bowl win, as he was still getting back to 100 percent after a hamstring injury. If he's at full strength, LSU will be hard to stop.

Along with his 1,304 yards on the ground and 16 touchdowns, Edwards-Helaire is a crucial part of the LSU passing game: No. 3 on the team with 50 catches and fifth in yards with 399. He totaled 103 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns and 77 receiving yards with a score in the 46-41 thriller against Alabama.

Clemson's Etienne is only 7 yards away from becoming the school's all-time rushing leader (Raymond Priester). He's rushed for more than 1,500 yards this season with an impressive 8.0 yards per carry. However, Ohio State did limit him to 36 yards on 10 attempts (one rushing TD), as Lawrence became the more dangerous threat on the ground. Etienne instead stole headlines with his receptions, scoring two in the game — and the winning points on a 34-yard pass from Lawrence with 1:49 remaining.

LSU's Edwards-Helaire Stat Clemson's Etienne
199 Rush att. 192
1,304 Rush yards 1,536
6.6 Rush avg. 8.0
16 Rush TDs 18
50 Receptions 32
399 Rec. yards 396
8.0 Rec. avg. 12.4
1 Rec. TDs 4

Top receiver: Ja'Marr Chase vs. Tee Higgins

You won't find many better receiving corps than the ones taking the field in New Orleans.

Higgins had a quiet semifinal with only 4 catches for 33 yards, but he averages almost 20 yards per catch.

Chase, meanwhile, is second in the FBS with 1,559 yards — and is tied with teammate Justin Jefferson for the most touchdown catches with 18.

CFP: Live scoring, stats for the title game

LSU's Chase Stat Clemson's Higgins
75 Receptions 56
1,559 Yards 1,115
20.8 Average 19.9
18 TD 13

Another top target: Justin Jefferson vs. Justyn Ross

How dangerous are LSU's receivers? Justin Jefferson is second on LSU with 1,434 yards yet is third in the entire country in that stat.

Burrow-to-Jefferson was the story of the CFP semifinals, too. Jefferson had 14 receptions for 227 yards and four touchdowns. Jefferson scored his four touchdowns by 9:17 remaining in the second quarter.

As for Ross, he's gone 111-94-47 in yards his last three games to help Clemson get to 14-0. Ross also grabbed two touchdown catches in the 45-14 rout of Florida State in October.

LSU's Jefferson Stat Ross
102 Receptions 61
1,434 Yards 789
14.1 Average 12.9
18 TD 8


Clemson is No. 2 in nation in yards allowed per game — and it was No. 1 before Ohio State jumped the Tigers after the Fiesta Bowl.

In part because of its tougher schedule, LSU doesn't match Clemson's ridiculous defensive numbers, though the two are similar in interceptions and rushing yards allowed per game.

HISTORY: The list of FBS national champions

LSU Stat Clemson
339.9 Yards per game 264.1
5.0 Yards per play 4.2
221.9 Pass yards allowed 151.1
17 Interceptions 19
118.0 Rushing yards allowed 112.6
3.6 Rush yards per att. 3.1
4 Fumbles recovered 11
21.6 Points per game 11.5

Kickers: Cade York vs. B.T. Potter

Clemson's Potter is perfect on extra points, as he's gone 77-for-77. But he's not been as consistent as LSU's York on field goals.

York may have missed four extra points, but he's made almost 81 percent of his field goals this season. He's also 12-for-12 on attempts inside 40 yards and is 4-for-5 on 50-plus.

LSU's Cade York Stat Clemson's B.T. Potter
83 XPM 77
87 XPA 77
95.4 XP per. 100
21 FGM 12
26 FGA 20
80.8 FG per. 60
52 Long FG 51

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