ATLANTA, Ga. (KFOR) - For the fourth time in five years, the Oklahoma Sooners took the field in the College Football Playoffs. The Sooners have never won a playoff game, but they were hoping to change that on Saturday in the Peach Bowl against the LSU Tigers.
It was the first time the LSU Tigers ever made it to the College Football Playoffs, and they did it in style by earning the number one spot. As if facing the top-rated Tigers and Heisman Trophy winner wasn’t tough enough, OU was also without a few of its starting players following late-season injuries and rules violations.
From the first snap, it was obvious that LSU's defense was planning to make it extremely difficult for OU's Jalen Hurts to throw the ball. On the first play of the game, LSU's defensive line sacked Hurts, tackling him for a loss. Once LSU's offense got the ball, there was no turning back. The Tigers scored after just three plays, starting off with a 7-0 lead.
On the Tigers' second possession of the game, one of the team's best offensive linemen, LSU offensive guard Damien Lewis, was injured and had to be helped off the field.
The next time the Sooners got the ball, they would capitalize. On back-to-back plays, OU's Jalen Hurts kept the ball and was able to get the Sooners their first first-down of the game. Hurts then went down the field with a 51-yard pass to CeeDee Lamb to get the Sooners within scoring distance of the goal. On the next play, the ball was given to Kennedy Brooks, who was able to tie the game at 7-7 with less than 8 minutes left in the first quarter.
However, they wouldn't keep that score very long.
On the next drive, the Tigers were able to march down and Burrow capped it off with a touchdown pass to Terrace Marshall, Jr. to take back the lead at 14-7.
The Sooner faithful became fired up after the officials missed a penalty call on a play that could have kept the Sooners' drive alive. Jalen Hurts was able to get a pass off to Jadon Haselwood. However, before the ball reached Haselwood, he was pulled to the ground by an LSU defender. After no penalty was called, the Sooners were forced to punt.
LSU's Joe Burrow showed off his arm with a 40-yard pass to Justin Jefferson, who ran it in for a touchdown. LSU extended the lead to 21-7 with less than two minutes left in the quarter.
As the Tigers continued to move the ball in the second quarter, Joe Burrow was flushed out of the pocket and ran for a first down. After the play, LSU head coach Ed Orgeron called a timeout for the refs to review a possible targeting call against OU's Brendan Radley-Hiles on a blocker. The refs ultimately ruled that it was a targeting penalty against Radley-Hiles, which gave LSU an automatic first down and caused Radley-Hiles to be ejected from the game.
When OU rushed three, Burrow scrambled around the pocket and fired a long pass to Jefferson for another touchdown. LSU extended the lead to 28-7 with 12 minutes left in the first half.
On the first play of OU's next possession, the offense did a little trickery with a short pass to CeeDee Lamb who tossed it back to Hurts who attempted to throw a pass downfield for wide receiver Nick Basquine. However, LSU safety Kary Vincent, Jr. was in the perfect position to intercept the ball, handing the ball right back to the LSU offense.
After LSU took back the ball, the offense was hit with several penalties. But even those didn't seem to slow down the Tigers. With a little more than nine minutes left in the half, Burrow connected with Jefferson for another touchdown over OU's Justin Broiles. LSU extended the lead to 35-7.
OU's offense seemed to become a bit more relaxed as they consistently moved the ball down the field on the next drive.
With about five minutes left in the half, the Sooners marched down to the red zone. On 3rd and goal, Hurts threw a pass to Haselwood, who was pushed out of bounds by LSU's Kristian Fulton. Fulton was called for pass interference, so the ball was placed on the 2-yard line.
One play later, Hurts was able to run into the endzone untouched to bring the score to 35-14.
Just two plays later, LSU responded to the score. LSU's Chris Curry earned a first down on a 10-yard run. The next play, Burrow threw a 62-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Thaddeus Moss. With four minutes left in the half, LSU led 42-14.
With less than two minutes left in the half, LSU's Joe Burrow settled in the pocket and threw a 38-yard pass to Ja'Marr Chase to get them within scoring distance. Just two plays later, Burrow threw another touchdown pass to Marshall at the back of the endzone. LSU led OU 49-14 at the half.
On the first series in the second half, the Tigers continued to move down the field to the red zone. Once they were near the goal line, Burrow completed a quarterback sneak to extend the lead to 56-14 with 10 minutes left in the third quarter.
On OU's first series after the half, the Sooners got the ball moving with Hurts completing several passes to an array of receivers. After failing to get a first down, OU decided to go for it on 4th and nine. Hurts kept the ball, ran for the first down, and lunged for the endzone to bring the score to 56-21 with four minutes left in the 3rd quarter.
With 10 minutes left in the game, Hurts completed a pass to wide receiver Drake Stoops on 4th and 2. When he got to the endzone, he was fighting for extra yardage when the ball came out. The ruling on the field was a fumble, but it appeared as though his knee was down before the ball was ripped out of his hands. The refs reviewed the play and reversed the call, giving the ball back to the Sooners.
On first and goal from the 1-yard line, TJ Pledger IV ran it into the endzone to cut the lead to 56-28 with nine-and-a-half minutes left on the clock.
On the next series, LSU started Myles Brennan in place of Joe Burrow. The second string offense was able to move the ball down the field and scored again on a short run from John Emery, Jr. LSU led 63-28 with four minutes left in the game.
That would be the last time either team would score. LSU won the Peach Bowl 63-28 and will be heading to the National Championship game in January.