Kenneth Harrison

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Past Buzzes

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

It is very difficult to have one elite team for a university. Having that in multiple sports typically does not happen, especially for football and men’s basketball. I want to revisit 1990, a great year for Georgia Tech.

The basketball team for the 1989-90 season had a great year. They were led by coach Bobby Cremins. They were led by a talented trio of players nicknamed “Lethal Weapon 3”. That consisted of ACC Player of the Year Dennis Scott, National Freshman of the Year Kenny Anderson and Brian Oliver.

They had some big wins during the regular season against ranked teams including No. 18 Pitt, No. 17 NC State, No. 15 Louisville and No. 20 Clemson. They also demolished No. 25 North Carolina, 102 – 75.

During the regular season they were swept by Duke and Virginia. In the ACC Tournament they beat both teams and NC State for the third time to win the conference tournament.

They advanced to the Final Four in Denver. On the way there they beat Michigan State in the Sweet Sixteen. The Spartans were Big Ten champs and the top seed in the region. They were ranked third nationally and led by junior Steve Smith.

In the Final Four they lost to UNLV, 90 – 81. The Running Rebels went on to win the national championship. Tech finished the season 28 – 7.

In the fall of 1990, the football team had a historic undefeated season. They were led by head coach Bobby Ross and quarterback Shawn Jones. For the season the Yellow Jackets offense scored 379 points while the defense allowed 186 points.

Jones passed for 2,008 yards, 13 touchdowns and he had 6 rushing touchdowns. William Bell led the team in rushing with 891 yards, 5 touchdowns and averaged 5.5 yards per carry.

On defense they were led by All-American defensive back Ken Swilling. He had 5 interceptions that season. He is said to have predicted an undefeated season before it started, supposedly based on a dream. Safety Willie Clay was second on the team with three picks.

The Yellow Jackets started the season with a home win against NC State. They beat ranked teams like No. 25 South Carolina, No. 15 Clemson and No. 1 Virginia. The game against UVA was nationally televised.

The tie happened at North Carolina, 13 -13. Overtime was not added to FBS football until the 1995-96 bowl season.

They also beat archrival Georgia 40 – 23 in Athens. They went to the Citrus Bowl and played No. 19 Nebraska. Going into the game the Cornhuskers were 9 – 2. The Yellow Jackets won big, 45 -21.

They finished the season 11-0-1 and No. 1 in the Coaches Poll. Colorado was the top team in the AP Poll and they were 11-1-1. I’m not sure how the Buffalos were voted No. 1 since they had a loss.

They also had a game against Missouri where they were given a fifth down. That led to them scoring a touchdown on the last play to win the game 33 -31.

They also have a common opponent, Nebraska. Colorado beat Nebraska 27 – 12.

“A lot of special things happened that season,’’ said Ross said. It was a great accomplishment by a lot of people. We started all the way at the bottom three years before that and went all the way to the top.’’

1990 was an amazing year for Georgia Tech that will never be duplicated.

King Bee

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

We all have a bit more free time on our hands with everything going on currently.

It gives us some time to reflect. I’m going to determine who the best Georgia Tech football player of all time is.

Joe Hamilton is often overlooked despite having a great career. He played for the Yellow Jackets from 1996 to 1999. He set ACC career records for total offense (10,640 yards), touchdown passes (65) and total touchdowns (83).

As a senior in 1999, he was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American, won the Davey O’Brien Award and was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.

He was the runner-up in Heisman voting, finishing behind Wisconsin running back Ron Dayne. In 2002, he was named as one of the fifty members of the ACC 50th Anniversary Football Team. Hamilton was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2014.

George Godsey replaced Hamilton in 2000. He led Tech to a 9 – 2 record that year. Godsey threw for 2,906 yards and 23 touchdowns; he also had the sixth best passing efficiency in the country.

In 2001 as a senior, he completed 241 passes for 3,085 yards, both of which are school records.

Godsey finished his college career as the most accurate passer in Georgia Tech history, with a career completion percentage of 63.3. He also has the fourth most passing touchdowns in school history with 41.

He has the school record for most passing yards in a game with 486 yards against Virginia in 2001. He broke the previous record, also held by him that was 454 yards versus Clemson in 2000.

Calvin Johnson is probably the name most people would expect in this conversation. Johnson played at GT from 2004 to 2006. Johnson had 178 receptions in his career, good for 2,927 yards and 28 touchdowns.

He ranks first in school history in career receiving yards, second in receptions, first in touchdown receptions, and first in career 100-yard receiving games with 13.

As a junior in 2006 he had his best season. He was honored as the ACC Player of the Year, was a first-team All-ACC selection for the third consecutive year, and was recognized as a unanimous first-team All-American.

Johnson tallied 1,202 yards on 76 catches. He also scored 15 touchdowns, which is the single season record for receiving touchdowns at Tech.

Robert Lavette played from 1981 to 1984. As a freshman, he was ACC third leading rusher (866 yards), third in receiving (45 receptions), first in all-purpose yards and first in kickoff returns.

As a sophomore, he led the ACC in rushing (1,208 yards), touchdowns (19) also a school and conference record, all-purpose yards (1,570 yards) and scoring average (10.4) points.

Lavette is the schools rushing leader with 4,066 yards and holds the record for rushing touchdowns with 45.

Keith Brooking played from 1994 to 1997. He’s the leading tackler in Georgia Tech history (467). He had two of the best tackle seasons in school history with 147 and 146, respectively, as a junior and sophomore.

Kelly Campbell was a great wide receiver and he held all of the records before Calvin Johnson.

Campbell is second in career receiving yards (2,907) and receiving touchdowns (24). He played from 1998 to 2001 so he was one of the favorite targets for Hamilton and Godsey.

This is a tough decision but I rank Joe Hamilton as the best Yellow Jacket.

Conference Survival

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

The SEC Men’s basketball tournament starts this week in Nashville, Tennessee.

Kentucky has dominated this conference since its inception. The Wildcats have won 51 regular season SEC Championships (including this year) and 31 Conference Tournament championships.

Kentucky (25-6) had the best record in conference play (15-3). They have the top seed in the tournament. The top four seeds in the tournament do not have to play until the third day of the tournament.

As good as Kentucky is, they are always led by freshmen since they embrace the one and done players. Because of this they do lack experience, which means they are more susceptible for an upset.

They have lost games to Evansville, Utah and South Carolina, who are not great teams. They are led by sophomore guard Immanuel Quickley who averages 16 points per game.

Auburn (25-6) is the No. 2 seed in the tournament. Bruce Pearl has turned the program around since he was hired in 2014. They have gotten to the NCAA Tournament the last two seasons. Last year they advanced to the Final Four.

Three of their top four scorers are seniors so they have a lot of experience. Senior guard Samir Doughty leads the team with 17 PPG and 4 rebounds per game.

Auburn has beaten Kentucky during the regular season so they have already proven they can beat them.

LSU (21-10) is the third seed but they have the same conference record as Auburn, 12-6. This team confuses me because they play to the level of their competition. They have lost to VCU, Utah State, USC and East Tennessee State. For a Power 5 team going to the NCAA Tournament they should win those games.

The Tigers lost to Auburn on the road but only by one point. They also lost to Kentucky by three. I don’t believe in moral victories but they have shown they can compete with the best teams in the conference.

Senior guard and Baton Rouge native Skylar Mays is the team leader with 17 PPG. If they advance and face Kentucky or Auburn, they have a legitimate chance to win.

Mississippi State (20-11) is the fourth seed. They have the same conference record (11-7) as Florida but they won the tiebreaker by beating the Gators last month.

Despite this, they are on the bubble to make the NCAA Tournament.

“They base so much off November,” said Mississippi State head coach Ben Howland. “There’s not enough emphasis based today on how you play at the end of the year, how you play in the last 12 games. That used to really be important. But we have to beat a Quad 1 team (Florida) to continue to make our case.”

They have non-conference losses to Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State. In conference play they have lost to lower level teams like Ole Miss (15-16), Alabama (16-15), Texas A&M (16-14) and South Carolina (18-13). The Bulldogs have to win their quarterfinal game to have a chance to get to March Madness.

Florida (19-12) is also on the bubble. The Gators need to win a couple of games to get to the tournament. Their first game is the second round against the winner of No. 12 Ole Miss or No. 13 Georgia. If they win, the next game is against Mississippi State. I think they can win those two games but time will tell.

The Measurables

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

The 2020 NFL scouting combine was last week in Indianapolis. I’m going to take a look at some of the players from around the South and see if they helped or hurt their draft stock.

Isaiah Simmons – Clemson: the redshirt junior linebacker turned heads running a 4.39-second 40-yard dash. He also had eye-opening numbers in the vertical (39 inches) and broad jumps (11 feet). At 6’4, 238 pounds these numbers are unreal.

He was also great on the field. He led the Tigers in tackles in their 2018 national championship season (89 total stops, nine for loss, one interception returned for a touchdown, seven pass breakups, three forced fumbles).

His play as a junior (102 tackles, 16 for loss, 8 sacks, three interceptions, nine pass breakups in 15 starts) earned him the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker.

He was also a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Bronko Nagurski and Lott IMPACT Trophies, as well as a first-team Associated Press All-American, ACC Defensive Player of the Year and first-team all-conference selection.

Willie Gay, Jr. – Mississippi State: this is another junior linebacker that showed great speed. His 4.46 40 (and 1.50 10-yard split), 39.5-inch vertical jump and 11-foot-4 broad jump displayed his great athleticism. He has character concerns and lack of on field production.

He was a top-50 overall recruit and led Starkville High School to a state championship before committing to his hometown team.

Gay looked to be on the upswing after a promising sophomore campaign, in which he posted 48 stops, 5.5 for loss, five sacks and two interceptions in 13 games with six starts.

He was limited to playing in five games as a reserve (28 tackles, 3.5 for loss, one interception, one pass breakup) during his junior year, though, as he was held out of eight contests due to NCAA violations pertaining to an academic tutor. It has also been reported that he got into an altercation with starting quarterback Garrett Shrader.

Tua Tagovailoa – Alabama: the talented quarterback has been injury prone. His junior year was limited to just nine games as he fought through an ankle injury then a hip injury that ended his season.

Several teams reported they felt there was “nothing alarming” with his medical reports and that Tagovailoa was on schedule to work out in April for scouts. His height from the combine is 6’0 and he weighed 217 pounds.

Joe Burrow – LSU: He did not participate in any on-field workouts, choosing to let his college resume speak for him. He made headlines for his small hands, measuring at 9 inches. This is one of the sillier measurables in my opinion. The one concern is he looked like two different players in 2018 and 2019.

Cam Akers – Florida State: he was a top-10 national recruit after being named the U.S. Army National Player of the Year and Mississippi’s Mr. Football in 2016.

He broke Dalvin Cook’s school record for freshman rushing in 2017, leading the Seminoles with 1,024 yards (194 carries, 5.3 per, seven touchdowns; 16 receptions, 116 yards, 7.3 average, one touchdown).

The Seminoles struggled and his numbers got worse as a sophomore. He looked more like the Akers of 2017 as a junior, receiving second-team all-conference honors after leading FSU with 1,144 rushing yards on 231 carries (5.0 ypc) and 14 touchdowns. Akers also caught 30 passes for 225 yards (7.5 per) and four scores in 11 starts.

At the combine he ran a 4.47 40 and put up 20 bench-press reps (225 pounds).

It’s Great To Be A Gator

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

The 2020 recruiting classes are officially in the books. One team I want to examine is the Florida Gators. Their recruiting class is ranked eighth nationally, one spot behind Auburn. We can argue Florida’s class is better.

They have 1 five-star recruit, 17 four-star players and 6 three-star players. Auburn does not have a five-star player, 16 four-stars and 10 three-star players.

The highest rated player is five-star defensive tackle Gervon Dexter from Lake Wales, Florida. He’s 6’6 and 294 pounds so he has prototypical size for the position.

He was the top-rated player in the state of Florida and sixth nationally. Dexter runs a 4.88 forty so he also has great speed and athleticism.

He only started playing football two years ago for Lake Wales High but has made an elite impact ever since. In two seasons, Dexter recorded 27 sacks, 53 tackles for loss, 178 total tackles, 14 forced fumbles, and three batted passes – all in 23 games.

Several four-star D-linemen will join Dexter in the trenches. Weak side defensive end Antwaun Powell (Chesapeake, VA), d tackles Lamar Goods (Oakdale, CT), Johnnie Brown (Sebring, FL), Jalen Lee (Watson, LA) and strong side defensive end Princely Umanmielen.

Four-star cornerback Ethan Pouncey is ranked tenth best at the position in the 2020 recruiting class. The last name looks familiar because he’s the younger cousin of Maurkice and Mike.

Ethan is 6’1, 160 lbs. so he has to get to the training table and weight room. His older brother Jordan is a wide receiver, who was previously at Texas but he is transferring to UF.

There are three other four-star corners coming to Gainesville. Avery Helm (Missouri City, TX), Jahari Rogers (Arlington, TX) and Mordecai McDaniel (Washington, DC).

First, I want to point out it is impressive for the Gators to land top recruits from Texas.

All of these corners are at least 6’1 so they have great size to compete with tall receivers.

They have four-star safety Rashad Torrence II from Marietta, Ga. He was on the team that won the 7A GHSA state championship, so he knows what it takes to win.

As a senior, he had 111 tackles, 7 pass breakups and 1 interception. I think he might be one of the most underrated recruits and I expect him to be a star.

Four-star dual threat quarterback Anthony Richardson is from Gainesville. He attended Eastside High just a few miles from the campus. He is also on Season 4 of the Netflix documentary series “QB1: Beyond the Lights.”

Richardson is 6’4, 233 lbs. and the fifth ranked dual threat QB in the 2020 class. He only played in six games in 2019 before he suffered a season ending shoulder injury. In those games, he scored 15 total touchdowns and the team averaged 24.5 points per game.

There are also several talented playmakers joining the Gators. Wide receivers Xzavier Henderson (Miami, FL), Jaquavion Fraziars (Dunnellon, FL), Leonard Manuel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) and tight end Jonathan Odom (Tampa, FL).

Rebuilding The Rebuild

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

The Jacksonville Jaguars played in the AFC Championship game in 2017. They held a second half lead at New England before losing, 24 – 20. They went into the 2018 season as a legit Super Bowl contender and finished 5 -11.

The Jags had a good running back in Leonard Fournette and an elite defense. Quarterback was considered the weak link so they finally got rid of Blake Bortles.

In March of 2019, they signed Super Bowl LII MVP quarterback Nick Foles to a four-year contract worth $88 million. $50.1 million is guaranteed and could pay up to $102 million with incentives.

That generated excitement for the fan base but he was injured in Week 1 against Kansas City in the first quarter. He suffered a broken left clavicle and had surgery the next day. He did not return until Week 11 and rookie Gardner Minshew started in his place.

Foles only had four starts and threw three touchdowns with two interceptions. The team finished the year 6 -10.

The good news is they earned the No. 9 pick. The Jaguars’ pick will be their 18th time in the top 10 since the franchise came into existence in 1995, the most of any team. The Cardinals, who will be making their 15th top-10 pick since 1995, are second.

They also acquired the 20th pick when they traded Jalen Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams.

The good news is they have nine draft picks in the upcoming 2020 draft. The bad news is there are now several holes in Jacksonville’s roster. The offensive and defensive efficiency rankings are both 26th.

They rank 24th in total defense and 20th in total offense. Let’s take a look and see what impact players the Jags might select in the first round.

With the ninth pick, the Jags can go in several different directions. The offensive line needs a solid left tackle and Louisville’s Mekhi Becton would be a good fit. He’s 6’7, 369 pounds but he’s very athletic. He has good footwork, balance and strength. He would fit nicely with 2019 second-round right tackle Jawaan Taylor.

The other option could be a play-making wide receiver. Receiver CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma) could provide speed and explosive plays. Second-year receiver D.J. Chark Jr. had a breakout 2019 campaign (75/1,008/8), but the team needs more weapons for Gardner Minshew (or Nick Foles).

Lamb had 62 catches, 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2019. He averaged 21.4 yards per reception.

The last option with this pick is on the defensive side of the ball. I think the top three prospects; cornerback Jeffrey Okudah, defensive tackle Derrick Brown and linebacker Isiah Simmons should be off the board before this pick. South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw would be the best player available and he could help shore up the interior.

With the 20th pick, I think CB Trevon Diggs (Alabama) would be a good fit. They need a corner to replace Ramsey. Diggs has good physical traits standing at 6’2, 207 pounds. He had 37 total tackles, 3 interceptions and 8 pass deflections last season. If runs in the 4.4 range at the combine they have to take him.

If they don’t select them, I expect them to take another corner, C.J. Henderson (Florida). The biggest knock on him is his tackling but he has the height (6’1) and speed to be an elite cover corner.

Jacksonville has a chance to turn the franchise around with this draft.

Hive Killer

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

Georgia Tech athletics have seen better days.

During the 1990’s through early 2000’s they were good in both football and Men’s basketball. They were accustomed to playing in the post season almost every year.

Fast forward to now and both are in trouble. The Yellow Jackets have not played in the NCAA Tournament since 2010. Tech is currently 10 – 12 and 12th in the ACC. There are 15 teams in the conference.

The most recent game was an 80 – 72 loss to Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are only 4 – 6 in conference play but they swept Georgia Tech this season.

“You can’t leave points off the board because (the Irish) will make you pay because of their offensive skill set,” coach Josh Pastner said after calling Notre Dame perhaps the best offensive team in the ACC.

“We did a great job with 20 offensive boards, a good job in the red zone (paint, 44-18). The bottom line is they hit some tough 2’s and they made nine 3’s. We didn’t make enough 3’s (4 for 18). Not having Mike Devoe hurts us because it takes away a shooter.”

The first person we have to look at is Josh Pastner. He’s been the head coach in Atlanta since 2016. The best record he had was 21 – 16 in his first season. Since then they have had losing records and won less than 15 games each season.

Based solely on the product on the court he is not right for the job. He also has additional personal issues that have negatively affected the program.

The NCAA announced that they have banned Tech from the 2019-20 postseason, put the school on four years probation, placed recruiting restrictions on the staff, forced the program to vacate wins, and fined the ACC institution an undetermined amount of money.

The question is what did he do to cause this? He brought his friend Ron Bell around the team and he committed major violations. This was reported in November 2017 when jilted former friend Bell shared this with the media.

According to the school, Tadric Jackson accepted benefits totaling less than $525 while Josh Okogie accepted benefits totaling less than $750.

Bell turned over documents to CBS Sports that show he spent $233.40 on a plane ticket for Okogie, sent him three pairs of shoes totaling around $444 and ordered him two shirts totaling $56.

Bell also provided CBS Sports with documents that show he spent $233.40 on a plane ticket for Jackson, sent him two pairs of shoes totaling around $271 and ordered him New York Knicks apparel worth $80.

Those documents add up to around the estimates Georgia Tech self-reported, and any incongruities could be chalked up to estimation differences, which are allowable by NCAA rules.

What I do not understand is why Pastner has not been fired yet. He is not getting results on the court and he has baggage. It looks like a safe bet that they will not be able to qualify for the NCAA Tournament even if they were eligible.

They need to part ways from him after the season and hire the right coach. They can get back to being a contending team in the ACC with the right leadership.

Young Hawks Learning To Fly

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

The Atlanta Hawks are a young team. They are led by second year point guard Trae Young. Young was selected as a starter in the upcoming All-Star Game.

So far, he’s one of the few bright spots on the team. They are currently 12 – 35 and tied with Cleveland for last place in the East. They have the second worst record in the league behind Golden State.

The team got a rare win Sunday against Southeast division foe Washington, 152-133. Despite the W the league was in a very somber mood.

NBA legend Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash Sunday morning. There were nine people involved in the crash, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna.

Young was mentored by Bryant and he knew Gianna, nicknamed Gigi. He was her favorite player.

She came to two Hawks games this season and met with Young. Their relationship began when Kobe Bryant asked Young, who trained him, and hired Alex Bazzell, to work with Gigi as well.

Young started the game wearing a # 8 jersey and taking an eight second violation.

Young had 45 points and 14 assists to lead the Hawks to victory.

“One of the last conversations we had, he was just telling me how much he’s seen my game progress and he’s just been happy for me,” Young said between pauses. “He said how proud he was of me and how he wants me to continue to be a role model for kids growing up and for Gigi and all the kids looking up to me to inspire these kids and continue to play my heart out.”

Atlanta had lost three of four going in to that game. They scored the most points in a game this season. Several other players stepped up and had big games. De’Andre Hunter finished with 25 points, Kevin Huerter had 18 and John Collins scored 16.

Bradley Beal scored 40 points for the Wizards, who dropped to 15 – 30.

“Trae, he’s a problem,” Washington coach Scott Brooks said. “He’s a handful. He’s an All-Star for all the right reasons. He’s a hard guy to guard. He was making his shots and getting guys involved.”

I was initially outspoken about wanting the Hawks to keep Luka Doncic instead of trading him to Dallas on draft night.

I was wrong about him because he has proven to be a great pick thus far. He has averaged 30 points per game, 9 assists per game and 5 rebounds.

Journeyman Jabari Parker has been a pleasant surprise. He has averaged 15 ppg and 6 rpg. The other power forward John Collins is averaging 19 ppg and 10 rpg.

The player they are counting on to be great is rookie small forward Cam Reddish. He was drafted tenth overall out of Duke. So far, he is only averaging 9 ppg. He has to develop into a star player, which is what we expect from players drafted that high.

The season could be a blessing down the road. This is a young team experiencing growing pains and learning how to play together. The best-case scenario is to continue at this pace and have one of the worst records in the league.

I hope that they can draft a player in the top five. If they can add a game changing player to pair with Young, they can become an instant playoff contender.


The Big Game

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

The matchup for Super Bowl LIV is set, San Francisco versus Kansas City. The 49ers are the top seed in the NFC and the Chiefs are No. 2 in the AFC.

The teams are polar opposites. San Fran (15-3) has an elite defense, ranked second in total defense. They only give up 19 points per game and 282 yards. They have a great front four and can generate pressure with them. They ranked fifth in sacks with 48.

They also rank second in rushing offense. They average 31 rushing plays and 144 yards per game. The only team that had more yards was Baltimore.

This is old school football we used to see in the 80’s and 90’s. The surprising thing is that the Niners don’t have a bell cow running back.

They have a true committee with Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert.

Each of them has at least 530 yards during the season. Mostert was the star of the NFC Championship game against Green Bay, rushing for 220 yards and 4 touchdowns.

“I did have a lot of doubters and naysayers,” said Mostert, who has been cut seven times in his career. “Now I get to actually tell them, ‘Look where I’m at now. I never gave up on my dreams.”

Kyle Shanahan is in his third season as head coach in San Francisco. He was the offensive coordinator for Atlanta prior to this and he coached them in Super Bowl LI.

The Falcons had a decisive 28 – 3 lead late in the third quarter but lost. Shanahan was criticized for being too aggressive and not trying to run the ball more to control the clock.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo only had 8 pass attempts in the NFC Championship. He’s the one obvious weak link on the team.

San Francisco is playing in their seventh Super Bowl. They are trying to tie Pittsburgh and New England for the most Super Bowl wins for a franchise with six.

On the flip side Patrick Mahomes is the catalyst for the Kansas City offense. He was the league MVP last season. He missed two games in 2019 and still finished 10th in passing yards. Garoppolo was 12th.

In the AFC Championship, Mahomes threw for 294 yards, 3 TD’s and 0 interceptions. He also ran for 53 yards and a touchdown. The Chiefs (14-4) have not been to a Super Bowl since 1970.

KC has great skill players and a lot of speed. Travis Kelce might be the best tight end in the league. Tyreek Hill is a top ten receiver and the fastest player in the NFL.

The Chiefs do not have a running game. They were 23rd in rushing and average 98 ypg. KC also has an average defense, ranked 17th in total defense. They give up 350 ypg.

Andy Reid has the most wins without a Super Bowl victory. He’s looking to change that in Miami.

I think this will be a very close game. I think the 49ers can get pressure on Mahomes without blitzing. They have a good secondary, so they can slow down the explosive Chiefs offense.

Kansas City’s defense has to stop San Francisco from running and force Jimmy G to beat them.

I give the slight edge to the 49ers.

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Geaux Tigers

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

The CFP National Championship game was a matchup of two great teams. No. 1 LSU (14-0) versus defending national champion No. 3 Clemson (14-0). Both sets of Tigers were trying to make history.

Louisiana State is led by Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow. Burrow broke the single-season passing touchdown record previously set by Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan in 2006 with 58. Burrow had 60 this season.

Before this game Trevor Lawrence was undefeated as a college player. Early on Clemson had the momentum. They scored first to take a 7-0 lead. LSU scored on their opening drive in the previous six games but got off to a slow start.

Clemson squandered opportunities on their first two drives. They got inside the LSU forty, but they did not score and they had to punt both times.

Clemson led 17 – 7 early in the second quarter before the Bayou Bengal offense started clicking. Burrow finished the game with 463 passing yards, 5 touchdowns through the air and 1 rushing TD.

Biletnikoff Award winning wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase finished with nine catches for 221 yards and 2 touchdowns. Justin Jefferson had 9 catches for 106 yards.

“He’s one of the greatest players in LSU history,” Tigers coach Ed Orgeron said. “He’s done so much for the state of Louisiana and LSU. We are so grateful to Joe Burrow.”

Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire had 16 carries for 110 yards. He also had 5 catches for 54 yards. LSU won the game 42 – 25.

“This is what I wanted to do from the time I was 5 years old, was hoist this trophy, and bringing it back to Louisiana,” Burrow said, then caught himself. “I guess we’re in Louisiana, but staying in Louisiana, we weren’t going to let someone come in here and steal this from us in our home state. We have a great fan base that came out and supported us. We were going to keep this thing right here.”

Lawrence had 234 passing yards with no touchdown or interception. He also rushed for 49 yards and a touchdown. Travis Etienne had 15 carries for 78 yards and a TD.

“This team is going to be mentioned as one of the greatest teams in college football history,” Orgeron said, “15-0, as one of the greatest teams in LSU history. But that’s for you guys to decide.”

This team might be on the short list with teams like 1995 Nebraska and 2001 Miami. This is LSU’s first national title since 2007 and fourth overall.

This has been a very impressive year because LSU has struggled on offense for the last decade. They typically have great skill position players but poor quarterback play. Now they have a QB that probably had the best season ever at the position.

“What this offense has done, I’m amazed. I really am,” co-offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger said. “We changed the whole durn thing in one year, you know what I’m saying? We changed everything in one year. And these guys bought into it. They worked their ass off to get where they’re supposed to be, to get where they want to be, and they did it.”

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