It’s been a while since Dabo Swinney felt what it was like to lose a football game.

The Clemson Tigers had won 29 straight games entering Monday night’s national championship against LSU; however, the Bayou Bengals were just the better team. Clemson couldn’t stop quarterback Joe Burrow, as he accounted for six total touchdowns in the 42-25 win.

Swinney’s team jumped out to a 17-7 first-half lead, but LSU — behind Burrow — came roaring back to take full command.

Below is everything that Dabo Swinney said about LSU during his postgame press conference:


“Tonight was all about LSU. What an unbelievable game. We had an opportunity there in the third quarter. I loved how we responded and got the ball back with a three-point lead, and we just couldn’t quite put enough plays together. It’s probably the worst we’ve been on 3rd down in a long time. We had opportunities on 3rd down, but we just didn’t convert, and give them credit.

“But I thought LSU played a beautiful game. I thought their quarterback was tremendous. Those receivers — man, they made some incredible plays that were really well-covered, several of them, but they just made the play. And that’s what you’ve got to do to win these type of games. You give them credit, I thought they played a heck of a game and deserved to win the game. They were definitely the better team tonight for sure.

“I’m really happy for Coach O. I think he’s one of the good guys in the business, and I’m happy for him. I know what it’s like to be in that situation, and you pour a lot into it, and certainly no fun to be in this seat, but I do just say congratulations to them. Beautiful football team that earned it, and we were the first 15-0 team last year, and to see them do it, they earned it. Simple as that. So hats off to them, and I thought they played with tremendous character and class and just will to win. That’s what championship games are all about, and just too many big plays and just not quite enough from us when we had some opportunities to give ourselves a chance there in the fourth quarter.”

Q. Over the last decade, you’ve tussled with some of the toughest teams, some of the best teams ever. 60 minutes with the LSU Tigers, can you talk about the intensity of 60 minutes tussling with them like you did tonight?
DABO SWINNEY: Yeah, well, they were an awesome team. Again, it was — I knew coming in it was going to be a game of a few plays, and we just didn’t string enough opportunities. We had a little down-the-line screen that probably would have gone for a ways to Tee, critical 3rd down, and we just didn’t make some plays that were there that we usually make, some routine stuff. When you’re in a game like that, when you know that — I mean, their offense this year was just special, and they did an amazing job.

Again, I mean, they made some plays tonight that you just got to tip your hat to them because the ball was in the only place that their guy could catch it. I mean, we had great coverage, and that was championship football, and that’s why they’re the champions, because they made those type of plays, and that’s what you’ve got to do.

But it was great. I mean, it was very competitive. Our guys competed their tails off, and this will be a painful tape to watch, but one that will help us. It’ll help us get back to work and build next year’s team.

You know, I’ve been on both sides of it. But we have, we’ve played so many great teams. That Alabama team last year was a great team, but we were a great team, and we were a better team that night.

But this team, what they accomplished is really special. Beat a great Ohio State team a couple weeks ago that I thought was really, really good. But tonight this was LSU’s night. I’m happy for their fans. This is a unique situation, to be — to play a National Championship game basically in your backyard. What a unique opportunity for them, and I thought the environment was amazing. It was a great environment, great crowd, great energy all night from both fan bases.

Just, again, they earned it and did what they needed to do to win.