LSU Tigers most important matchups for the National Championship Game

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Joe Broback

Contributor at Champion Insiders
Joe is a writer covering the NFL, NBA, NHL and college football. He also currently writes for SB Nation’s Underdog Dynasty, covering the American Athletic Conference since 2016. Joe enjoys collecting shoes, playing sports, and anything fitness related.
Joe Broback
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LSU fans didn’t expect a season like this. They might have imagined it, but it’s tough to say anyone knew this was coming. Now, they’re in the national championship game, and looking to win it all. Certain matchups favor the purple and gold Tigers, but there are some that must be watched. How LSU does in those matchups will go a long way in determining the outcome, so let’s take a look at both the offense and defense’s biggest matchups against Clemson.

LSU DB’s vs. Clemson receivers

Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross were largely ineffective against Ohio State for various reasons, but that doesn’t mean LSU can overlook them. Higgins is currently having a career year, and Ross shined in the last national championship game. They’ll give LSU’s secondary all they can handle, and Amari Rodgers also gives the Tigers something to think about in the slot.

Derek Stingley Jr. came on to campus and won the starting job as a freshman. He’s looked anything but that in nearly every game. Covering Ross and Higgins gives him a new challenge, one that requires him to cover receivers with insane length. Clemson won’t be afraid to throw his way, but he doesn’t have to do it alone. Kristian Fulton figures to get whoever Stingley doesn’t get, and he’ll be tested as well. Safety Grant Delpit provides coverage over the top, but might also be up near the line at times. There’s pressure on Stingley and Fulton to produce, but they’ve shown that they can handle that responsibility this season.

Joe Burrow vs. Isaiah Simmons

Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow’s having a phenomenal year, and he needs to pass just one more test. Arguably his toughest. Burrow and the Tigers offense faced a number of great defenders, but Simmons presents their toughest challenge yet. A 6’4″, 230 pound linebacker who can blitz the passer but also play safety, the Simmons is a unicorn on the field.

Burrow has numerous options to keep the ball moving, but identifying Simmons before each play becomes key. He’s the one player on the Clemson defense that can hurt LSU on a consistent basis. He leads his Tigers in tackles, tackles for loss, sacks, and forced fumbles. LSU’s success doesn’t hinge on one player given their plethora of weapons, but neutralizing Simmons gives them an even better chance of winning the championship.

LSU continues to score points at a blistering pace, and the Tigers defense appears to be hitting its stride at the right time. That doesn’t mean there aren’t concerns, but fans have confidence in their team to bring home the championship. Burrow hasn’t given them a reason to doubt, and the freshman defensive back has shown he’s the future. They can’t take Clemson lightly, and the above players play a key role in winning a title.

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