ATLANTA — THE PARTY began weeks in the past. In Louisiana, this was all a foregone conclusion. A nationwide championship recreation is to be performed, in New Orleans of all locations, and so in fact LSU can be there. This was future.

The Tigers gamers knew it, too. They spent the previous two weeks watching movie of an undersized, undermanned, overmatched Oklahoma, and so they knew how this is able to finish.

“It is conversations we had all week,” tailback Clyde Edwards-Helaire stated. “We knew we would put up 40 or 50.”

Because it seems, that was simply the beginning.

By the third quarter Saturday, a large portion of the occasion had already spilled onto the streets of Atlanta. There was no drama to be discovered inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the place Joe Burrow and LSU’s electrical offense totally embarrassed Oklahoma with a first-half onslaught and rounded out a 63-28 win within the Faculty Soccer Playoff semifinal on the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. All of it got here so simply.

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What remained of the LSU crowd on the finish, a number of thousand revelers in masks and make-up, stood and chanted a name and response: Joe. Burrow. Joe. Burrow.

A sheet, spray-painted in purple and gold, hung within the far finish zone, with a rudimentary drawing of the state of Louisiana captioned: “N’awlins, we’re coming.”

A Louisiana occasion is at all times a movable feast, and for the second time in a month, scores of LSU devoted invaded Atlanta, overwhelming the streets, lodges, bars and eating places with chants of “Geaux Tigers.” However that was a warm-up act for the nice homecoming.

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On Saturday, that date with future was formally accepted in as emphatic an announcement as any crew has delivered this season, and now the Tigers are headed dwelling for one last showstopper.

“The state of Louisiana goes to be on hearth,” stated head coach Ed Orgeron, a Louisiana native whose raspy, Creole-tinged voice has develop into the soundtrack to a dream season.

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The humorous factor is yr in the past, this was little greater than a group of misfits. Burrow, the cast-off from Ohio State. Orgeron, the coach nobody else needed. LSU, the seemingly typecast second fiddle to huge, dangerous Alabama.

Now right here they’re, headed again to New Orleans, poised for a nationwide title.

A FEW DAYS earlier than he accepted the Heisman Trophy, Burrow was considering his unusual journey from Ohio to the bayou, from cast-off QB to one of the best participant within the nation.

May he have ever seen this coming?

“I actually did,” Burrow stated. “I knew the work I put in. I knew the sort of crew we could possibly be.”

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Joe Burrow explains that it may be quite a lot of enjoyable taking part in in New Orleans for the CFP Nationwide Championship.

Even in a spot corresponding to Louisiana, the place swagger is a birthright, Burrow brings a bit one thing extra. It is half chip-on-the-shoulder, half confidence that comes with immense expertise, however it’s additionally partly a capability to see the dream so clearly that he can will it into being.

Burrow’s teammates at LSU have gotten used to that. They’re bought now, too. There’s nothing their QB cannot do, so why doubt even the boldest prognostications?

On Friday, Burrow discovered lineman Saahdiq Charles within the crew resort and provided a prediction for the sport.

“I’ve acquired seven for you,” Burrow stated.

Charles grinned. Seven TDs in a recreation sounded about proper.

“I did not know he meant seven within the first half,” Charles stated.

That is what Burrow delivered Saturday in an absolute dismantling of Oklahoma’s protection. Burrow threw landing passes on seven of LSU’s first 9 drives, ending the primary half with greater than 400 yards passing and etching his identify into faculty soccer postseason historical past.

Afterward, Burrow shrugged off the efficiency. It wasn’t his greatest, he stated. He had some first rate throws and a few nice performs from his receivers. There’s extra within the tank. That is terrifying.

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“We go into each recreation pondering no one can cease us,” Burrow stated. “We expect we have to rating on each drive. That is simply the best way we expect.”

LSU’S OFFENSE has created issues for protection coordinator Dave Aranda, too. He calls it a kind of psychological experiment, a battle of wills with the uproarious offensive assault and his want to remain offended.

“The offense comes out and is happy as a result of they only scored once more,” Aranda stated, “and we’re like, ‘No, do not smile. Be pissed off.'”

AP Picture/Danny Karnik

The Tigers performed offended by a lot of Saturday’s recreation, even when Aranda wasn’t happy. Except for an enormous play to CeeDee Lamb that arrange an early TD for Oklahoma, the once-dominant Sooners’ offense appeared totally perplexed. LSU was up 35-7 earlier than Oklahoma crossed the 100-yard mark within the recreation, and Jalen Hurts, taking part in in his fifth Faculty Soccer Playoff recreation, was overwhelmed. He accomplished simply two of his first 11 passes and tossed an interception that led to a different LSU landing.

Aranda stated he was shocked by Oklahoma’s lack of offensive id early. The Sooners threw a handful of devices on the LSU protection, however the Tigers have been ready. By the point Oklahoma discovered any sense of rhythm, there was no hope for a comeback.

All of that ought to’ve been yet one more examine mark in protection of this unit, a gaggle that spent an excessive amount of of this season shouldering the criticism that used to go to the offense. Not for Aranda, although. LSU allowed 28. Which means again to work.

“You have a look at the scoreboard,” he stated, “and I’ve to do higher.”

LSU RECEIVER Ja’Marr Chase stooped in entrance of his locker, pulled off his jersey and held it up, marveling.

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Positive, he knew LSU would win this recreation. He knew his offense can be electrical. It was solely now, although, that the magnitude of all of it started to sink in.

“This one’s occurring the wall,” he stated.

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Chase, the Biletnikoff Award winner because the nation’s high receiver, completed his day with simply two catches for 61 yards. That is what was so wild, he stated. Shut down the nation’s greatest receiver, and LSU will nonetheless grasp 63 factors on you.

Fact be advised, Chase stated, he was pondering 45. That appeared like quantity. That appeared like a formidable efficiency in opposition to the No. four crew within the nation. As an alternative, LSU had 49 on the half.

That quantity stopped Chase in his tracks.

“Actually?” he stated. “We had 49 factors within the half? I did not even have a look at the rating till the third quarter.”

Why trouble watching the scoreboard? LSU knew the result when it acquired off the bus. Chase stated the receivers joked earlier than the sport, taking a look at Oklahoma’s corners and remarking on the diminutive stature of the group.

“It was only a greater and higher situation,” receiver Justin Jefferson stated.

Watch Burrow scramble to the sideline halfway by the primary quarter, heave a cross down the sideline into site visitors and see Terrace Marshall Jr. come down with it for an enormous acquire, after which ask how any DB is meant to cease that. Or see Marshall, only a handful of performs later, safe a landing seize whereas falling backward with a defender draped throughout him. Oklahoma had no likelihood.

“I do not see how a protection can cease us,” Jefferson stated. “It is only a blessing to be on this scenario.”