Kirk Herbstreit discusses Joe Burrow's epic national championship game performance, CFB legacy
Monday night’s national championship game did not get off to the high-scoring start we all became used to seeing in games that involved LSU. Early in the first quarter, the Clemson defense was successful in pressuring Joe Burrow and containing the Tigers. How Burrow responded and took over the game impressed Kirk Herbstreit.
“In a competitive way when Clemson was getting him his first few possessions, beyond just trying to win the game, he was taking that personally because I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a quarterback who takes so much pride in being able to affect the offensive line,” Herbstreit said on his ESPN podcast with David Pollack and Kevin Negandhi. “OK, here is where the blitz is coming from. If they bring one more than we can handle, I’ve got the answer, everybody relax. He puts all of that on his shoulders. So when it’s not going well he’s getting mad at himself like anyone who is just super, ultra-competitive.
“Most quarterbacks are very mild-mannered, I’m gonna go to the sideline and be cerebral. And he does that but he also has a chip on his shoulder about it in a competitive way.”
Burrow would go on to have a part in all six LSU touchdowns. He was 31-of-49 passing for 463 yards and 5 touchdowns while rushing 14 times for 58 yards and a TD. Herbstreit called this year’s LSU offense the best he has ever seen as a college football observer.
“This is so different,” Herbstreit said. “This guy is throwing the ball downfield, it’s not run-and-shoot, throwing the ball two years downfield and getting 60 completions a game. This is big-boy stuff, this is throwing the ball vertically and making reads. It’s the best performance I’ve seen, it’s the best offense I’ve seen, not just as a guy who covers it the last 25 years, but as a player and going back to being a fan.”
But he also mentioned why it can be difficult to objectively compare the 2019 Tigers offense to past powers.
“Going back to ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, offenses they didn’t think this way, they didn’t attack this way. So I think it’s a little bit unfair to compare offenses that go back to that era,” Herbstreit said. “In the last 20 or 30 years, I can’t think of anything that’s been as impressive as what we witnessed this year with this 2019 Tigers team.”