Keys to Victory for Clemson Against LSU in the National Championship Game

Trevor Lawrence throws a pass in the CFP Semifinals.
Trevor Lawrence throws a pass in the CFP Semifinals. / Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Clemson Tigers advanced to their fourth National Championship game in five years with a last-gasp, 29-23 win over Ohio State. That win sets up a tantalizing No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup between Clemson and the LSU Tigers in New Orleans on January 13, 2020.

There's still 11 days until the National Championship game, leaving plenty of time to analyze the matchup before kick off. Clemson is currently a 5-point underdog, according to Fanduel Sportsbook. But with everything on the line in this one, here are three keys to victory for Clemson against LSU.

1. Slow Down Joe Burrow

Joe Burrow throws a pass against Oklahoma.
Joe Burrow throws a pass against Oklahoma. / Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

This is much easier said than done. Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow has posted one of the greatest seasons in college football history, throwing for 55 touchdowns, 5,208 yards and just six interceptions this season. Clemson cannot allow Burrow and LSU's offense to run away with the game like they did against Oklahoma. The problem is that no one has figured out how to stop Burrow this season, as he's never been held below 275 passing yards in 2019. But if there's any team equipped for this task, it might be Clemson. Clemson has the nation's best scoring defense (10.6 points per game), and the Tigers have allowed the fewest passing yards per game in the country (138.5).

2. Establish the Run, Control Time of Possession

Travis Etienne breaks for the end zone against Ohio State.
Travis Etienne breaks for the end zone against Ohio State. / Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Given how explosive LSU's offense can be, keeping that unit off the field is going to be critical to Clemson's success. The simplest way to control the time of possession will be by limiting turnovers and establishing the run. Travis Etienne has been tremendous all season, ranking top 10 in rushing yards, yards per carry and rushing TDs. He's more of a known commodity, but Trevor Lawrence's rushing ability could be just as huge for Clemson here. Lawrence had 107 yards on 16 carries against Ohio State. Clemson needs to find ways to establish the run and control the time of possession, and both Lawrence and Etienne will be huge factors there.

3. Win the Wide Receiver Battle

Tee Higgins makes a catch against Ohio State.
Tee Higgins makes a catch against Ohio State. / Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Clemson's first-half offensive struggles against Ohio State were concerning and the Tigers cannot have a repeat performance against LSU. With Tee Higgins, Justyn Ross, Amari Rodgers, and Diondre Overton, Clemson has the receiving talent to take over a game, but they were limited against Ohio State, especially after Higgins left with an injury. To keep up with LSU, Clemson's wideouts will need to have a better day, particularly Higgins and Ross. On the other side, the Clemson secondary will have its hands full with Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase, and Terrace Marshall. Jefferson is a likely first-round draft pick and all three have put up great numbers with Burrow under center. In game with an over/under of 69.5 points, the team with more production from their wide receivers could have a decisive advantage.

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Tristan Jung is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Tristan Jung also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username tristan1117. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.