2020 College Football Playoff National Championship
6th College Football Playoff National Championship
2020 CFP New Orleans logo.png
1234 Total
Clemson 71080 25
LSU 72177 42
DateJanuary 13, 2020
StadiumMercedes-Benz Superdome
LocationNew Orleans, Louisiana
MVPOffensive: #9 QB Joe Burrow, Sr. LSU
Defensive: #8 LB Patrick Queen, Jr. LSU[1]
FavoriteLSU by 5[2]
National anthemLauren Daigle[3]
RefereeChris Coyte (Pac-12)[4]
Halftime showClemson University Tiger Band
Louisiana State University Tiger Marching Band[5]
United States TV coverage
NetworkESPN and ESPN Radio
AnnouncersESPN: Chris Fowler (play-by-play)
Kirk Herbstreit (analyst)
Maria Taylor and Tom Rinaldi (sidelines)
Adam Amin, Dan Orlovsky, Pat McAfee, Steve Levy (Field Pass)
ESPN Radio: Sean McDonough, Todd Blackledge, Holly Rowe and Ian Fitzsimmons
Nielsen ratings14.3 (25.59 million viewers)[7]
International TV coverage
NetworkESPN Deportes
ESPN Brasil
AnnouncersESPN Brasil:
Rômulo Mendonça (play-by-play)
Weinny Eirado (analyst)
College Football Playoff National Championship
 < 2019  2021

The 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship was a college football bowl game that determined a national champion in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision for the 2019 season. It was played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Monday, January 13, 2020, with kickoff at 8:00 p.m. EST (7:00 p.m. local CST) on ESPN. Aside from the all-star games that followed, this was the culminating game of the 2019–20 bowl season. The championship featured the top-seeded LSU Tigers from the Southeastern Conference defeating the third seed Clemson Tigers from the Atlantic Coast Conference by a score of 42–25.[8] The win gave LSU their fourth national championship, but their first in the College Football Playoff era. Clemson, for their part, appeared in their fourth overall CFP National Championship game, tying them with Alabama for the most appearances by any team.


Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans was announced as the host site for the sixth College Football Playoff National Championship on November 4, 2015.[9] Playoff seedings and New Year's Six bowl matchups were announced on December 8, 2019.[10]

2020 College Football Playoff

Semifinals Championship
December 28 – Peach Bowl
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta
  1   LSU 63  
  4   Oklahoma 28   January 13 – National Championship
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans
      1   LSU 42
December 28 – Fiesta Bowl
State Farm Stadium, Glendale
    3   Clemson 25
  2   Ohio State 23
  3   Clemson 29  


The game matched the LSU Tigers of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the Clemson Tigers of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). With both teams entering the game with 14–0 records, the winning team's 15–0 record equalled that of the 2018 Clemson Tigers, becoming only the second team[a] to finish 15–0 in a single season since the 1897 Penn Quakers.[11]

LSU Tigers

LSU defeated Georgia in the SEC Championship Game on December 7, and received a bid to the Peach Bowl with the release of final CFP rankings on December 8. The Tigers defeated Oklahoma, 63–28, in the CFP semifinal Peach Bowl on December 28, which was LSU's first CFP semifinal appearance. The Tigers entered the championship game with a 14–0 record (8–0 in conference). LSU's most recent loss was to Texas A&M on November 24, 2018; a seven overtime contest. This was LSU's first appearance in a CFP National Championship game; their most recent national championship game appearance had been a loss to Alabama in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game.[12]

Clemson Tigers

Clemson defeated Virginia in the ACC Championship Game on December 7, and received a bid to the Fiesta Bowl with the release of final CFP rankings on December 8. On December 28, the Tigers defeated Ohio State in the CFP semifinal Fiesta Bowl, 29–23. Clemson also entered the championship game with a 14–0 record (8–0 in conference). The Tigers' most recent loss had been to Alabama in the CFP semifinal Sugar Bowl on January 1, 2018; their 29 consecutive victories following that loss constituted one of the longest NCAA Division I football winning streaks.[13] Including national championship contests, this was Clemson's ninth overall CFP game; they had a 6–2 record in prior CFP games, and were the defending champions, having defeated Alabama in the 2019 CFP National Championship.[14]

Starting lineups

Both teams play a single set back offense as their primary offensive set. On defense, Clemson plays out of the 4–3 defense, while LSU plays a 3–4 defense.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow
Clemson Position LSU
Tee Higgins 2 WR Justin Jefferson 1
Justyn Ross WR Ja'Marr Chase
Jackson Carman LT Saahdiq Charles 4
John Simpson 4 LG Adrian Magee
Sean Pollard C Lloyd Cushenberry III 3
Gage Cervenka RG Damien Lewis 3
Tremayne Anchrum 7 RT Austin Deculus
J.C. Chalk TE Thaddeus Moss
Amari Rodgers WR Terrace Marshall Jr.
Trevor Lawrence QB Joe Burrow 1
Travis Etienne RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire 1
Logan Rudolph DE Glen Logan
Tyler Davis DT NT Tyler Shelvin
Nyles Pinkney DT DE Rashard Lawrence 4
Xavier Thomas DE OLB Damone Clark
Isaiah Simmons 1 SLB LB Jacob Phillips 3
James Skalski MLB Patrick Queen 1
Chad Smith WLB OLB K'Lavon Chaisson 1
Derion Kendrick CB Kristian Fulton 2
A. J. Terrell 1 CB Derek Stingley Jr.
Tanner Muse 3 FS S Jacoby Stevens
K'Von Wallace 4 SS S Grant Delpit 2
† 2019 All-American
Selected in the 2020 NFL Draft
(number corresponds to draft round)


Game summary

LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase

LSU won the coin toss, and deferred possession to the second half, giving Clemson the opening kickoff. After a promising start to their opening drive, Clemson was forced to punt on 4th-and-23, giving LSU the ball on their own 7-yard-line. LSU's opening drive was far less productive, as they punted after three plays totaling a net loss of four yards. Clemson opened their ensuing drive on the LSU 45. A three-and-out followed, but the Clemson punt coverage team again came up big, downing the ball at the 4-yard-line. While the next LSU drive resulted in positive yards, a punt was the end result, and Clemson took over at their own 33 and scored in five plays, opening the scoring with a Trevor Lawrence rushing touchdown 8:26 into the game. LSU opened their next drive with a touchback, and recorded a first down for the first time, but again punted, giving Clemson the ball at their own 25; Clemson punted right back, and LSU took over at their own 29. On this drive, the LSU offense moved the ball seventy yards in just 4 plays, capped by a long Joe Burrow pass to wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, tying the game at seven with 2:20 remaining in the opening quarter. Clemson had possession for the remainder of the quarter, and made it to the LSU 42 before time expired.[16][17]

Clemson ran three additional plays in the second quarter before settling for a 52-yard field goal, converted by kicker B.T. Potter, giving them a 10–7 edge. Following LSU's fourth punt of the evening, Clemson started with their worst field position yet, as they got the ball at their own 4. This did not deter the Clemson offense, as they covered the ninety-six yards ahead of them in only four plays, capping the touchdown drive with a long run by Tee Higgins; this extended Clemson's lead to ten. LSU responded with a quick drive of their own, scoring in five plays to narrow the lead to three on a touchdown run by Burrow. Clemson's next drive ended in a punt, and LSU capitalized with another long touchdown drive to take their first lead of the contest, by four, with just over five minutes until halftime on another touchdown pass to Chase. Clemson was unable to respond on offense; they punted and LSU got the ball on their own 5-yard-line. Joe Burrow and the LSU offense continued to build their momentum with their third consecutive touchdown drive of 75-plus yards to increase the lead to 11, 28–17, on a pass to Thaddeus Moss, heading into halftime.[16][17]

LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire gives a post-game interview.

LSU opened the second half by receiving the kickoff; their ensuing drive resulted in a three-and-out, and Clemson took over on the 50-yard-line. For the first time in nearly an entire quarter, the Clemson offense found the end zone, as Travis Etienne capped a 6 play drive with his first touchdown of the day. Trevor Lawrence completed a pass to Amari Rodgers for the two-point conversion, cutting the LSU lead to three points. Joe Burrow's offense was again unable to produce on offense, and the second half (as did the first half) began with two three-and-outs for LSU. Clemson's next drive finished similarly, as a punt followed four plays totaling 14 yards. LSU took over on their own 32. On the fifth play of LSU's ensuing drive, Clemson starting MLB James Skalski was ejected from the game for a targeting penalty; LSU scored on the next play on a touchdown pass from Burrow to Moss (one that gave Burrow sole possession of the FBS record for touchdown passes in a season with 59)[18] to increase their lead to ten. Clemson couldn't produce on their next drive, and punted for the seventh time; LSU got the ball on their own 32. They drove to the Clemson 27 before attempting a 45-yard field goal, which Cade York missed wide right. Lawrence and the Clemson offense were unable to capitalize on the mistake, however; they went three-and-out and punted to the LSU 43. The quarter expired several plays later; LSU entered the fourth quarter leading 35–25.[16][17]

Orgeron along with Offensive MVP Joe Burrow and Defensive MVP Patrick Queen at the post-game presser.

LSU came out firing in the fourth quarter; they scored for just the second time this half on a Joe Burrow pass to Terrace Marshall Jr., his first receiving touchdown of the contest. For the fourth drive in a row, Clemson punted; the ball was downed at the LSU 10. After taking 5:24 off the clock, LSU punted the ball back, and Clemson took over with just under five minutes left, on their own 15. However, three plays later, Trevor Lawrence fumbled at the end of his rush; it was recovered by LSU's Derek Stingley Jr. with 3:53 to go. LSU was able to run the remaining time off the clock and finish the season as undefeated national champions.[16][17]

2020 College Football Playoff National Championship Game
1 2 34Total
No. 3 Clemson 7 10 8025
No. 1 LSU 7 21 7742

at Mercedes-Benz SuperdomeNew Orleans, Louisiana

Game information
First Quarter
  • (6:34) CLEM – Trevor Lawrence 1 yard rush, B.T. Potter kick (Drive: 5 plays, 67 yards, 2:05; Clemson 7–0)
  • (2:20) LSU – Joe Burrow 52 yard pass to Ja'Marr Chase, Cade York kick (Drive: 4 plays, 70 yards, 1:36; Tied 7–7)
Second Quarter
  • (13:43) CLEM – B.T. Potter 52 yard field goal (Drive: 9 plays, 40 yards, 3:37; Clemson 10–7)
  • (10:38) CLEM – Tee Higgins 36 yard rush, B.T. Potter kick (Drive: 4 plays, 96 yards, 1:32; Clemson 17–7)
  • (9:17) LSU – Joe Burrow 3 yard rush, Cade York kick (Drive: 5 plays, 75 yards, 1:21; Clemson 17–14)
  • (5:19) LSU – Joe Burrow 14 yard pass to Ja'Marr Chase, Cade York kick (Drive: 6 plays, 87 yards, 2:03; LSU 21–17)
  • (0:10) LSU – Joe Burrow 6 yard pass to Thaddeus Moss, Cade York kick (Drive: 11 plays, 95 yards, 3:28; LSU 28–17)
Third Quarter
  • (10:49) CLEM – Travis Etienne 3 yard rush, 2-point pass good (Drive: 6 plays, 50 yards, 2:37; LSU 28–25)
  • (5:13) LSU – Joe Burrow 4 yard pass to Thaddeus Moss, Cade York kick (Drive: 6 plays, 68 yards, 2:26; LSU 35–25)
Fourth Quarter
  • (12:08) LSU – Joe Burrow 24 yard pass to Terrace Marshall Jr., Cade York kick (Drive: 8 plays, 57 yards, 3:42; LSU 42–25)


Statistics CLEM LSU
First downs 23 29
Plays–yards 65–394 81–628
Rushes–yards 28–160 32–165
Passing yards 234 463
Passing: Comp–Att–Int 18–37–0 31–49–0
Time of possession 25:15 34:45
Team Category Player Statistics
Clemson Passing Trevor Lawrence 18/37, 234 yards
Rushing Travis Etienne 15 carries, 78 yards, 1 TD
Receiving Justyn Ross 5 receptions, 76 yards
LSU Passing Joe Burrow 31/49, 463 yards, 5 TD
Rushing Clyde Edwards-Helaire 16 carries, 110 yards
Receiving Ja'Marr Chase 9 receptions, 221 yards, 2 TD



Rinaldi interviews Orgeron on the field immediately after the game.

The game was televised nationally by ESPN and called on ESPN Radio. For the sixth consecutive national championship, ESPN offered its Megacast coverage.[20]