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Joe Burrow leads LSU over Oklahoma in CFP semifinal

By
Connor Grott
LSU Tigers quarterback and offensive MVP Joe Burrow celebrates after winning the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and NCAA semifinal playoff game over the Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Photo by David Tulis/UPI
LSU Tigers quarterback and offensive MVP Joe Burrow celebrates after winning the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and NCAA semifinal playoff game over the Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Joe Burrow and the top-ranked LSU Tigers advanced to the College Football Playoff National Championship following a decisive 63-28 win over No. 4 Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Burrow, who won the Heisman Trophy earlier this month, threw seven touchdowns in the first half and ran for another score in the Tigers' blowout victory. He completed 29-of-39 passes for 493 yards before he was replaced by backup signal-caller Myles Brennan with under 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

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Burrow's seven touchdown passes were the most in one half of a bowl game by any player in FBS history and tied the record for the most in a bowl matchup. His eight total scores marked the most in a bowl game all-time and most in a game in SEC history.

The Tigers' offense had no trouble moving the ball despite playing with heavy hearts. Before Saturday's game, LSU offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger learned that his daughter-in-law, sports reporter Carley McCord, was among five people killed in a Louisiana plane crash.

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The small plane that carried McCord was traveling to Atlanta for the playoff game but went down shortly after takeoff. Ensminger was seen with tears running down his cheeks during pre-game warm-ups but called plays alongside passing game coordinator Joe Brady when the game began.

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"He's the MVP right now," LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said of Ensminger at halftime with the Tigers leading 49-14.

LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson served as Burrow's primary target against the Sooners. The duo hooked up for four touchdowns in the first half, covering 19, 35, 42 and 30 yards. Jefferson's four receiving scores were the most by a player in the Peach Bowl and CFP semifinal game.

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Burrow connected with Terrace Marshall Jr. for two more touchdowns and found tight end Thaddeus Moss for another score. Jefferson finished with 14 receptions for 227 yards.

Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts completed 15-of-31 passes for 217 yards and an interception. He added 14 carries for 43 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

Sooners tailback Kennedy Brooks recorded 35 rushing yards and one score on 10 carries. Standout receiver CeeDee Lamb had a team-high four catches for 119 yards.

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With the Tigers' win, LSU will play the winner of Saturday night's other CFP semifinal contest between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Clemson at the Fiesta Bowl. The national title game will take place Jan. 13 in New Orleans.

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