Heisman Trophy 2019: The winning case for LSU record-setting quarterback Joe Burrow

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 07: Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers runs with the ball in the second half against the Georgia Bulldogs during the SEC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 07, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 07: Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers runs with the ball in the second half against the Georgia Bulldogs during the SEC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 07, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

There is no doubt Joe Burrow will win the Heisman Trophy. The only question is if he sets the record for the most lopsided win.

The LSU Tigers have been the story of the 2019 college football season and Joe Burrow has been the focal point of LSU’s thrilling year. Without Burrow’s exciting, explosive, and efficient play, the Tigers aren’t contending for a national championship. Given just how good Burrow has been, he’s almost certainly set to win this season’s Heisman Trophy.

And that’s the way it should be.

This year, Burrow’s stats have been otherworldly. Through 13 games this season, LSU’s quarterback has thrown for 4,715 yards and 48 touchdowns while only throwing six interceptions all year and completing 77.9 percent of his throws. He shattered LSU passing records, set the SEC record for touchdowns in a season and smashed the FBS completion percentage record.

And while he’s not doing much running around as Kyler Murray did a season ago, Burrow’s passing numbers compare favorably to and are actually better than, the two most recent Heisman Trophy winners.

In his Heisman season, Murray completed 69 percent of his passes for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdown passes and 7 interceptions. In 2017, when Mayfield took the Heisman home, he had a 70.5 completion percentage, 4,627 passing yards, 43 touchdown passes and six interceptions.

But the biggest place that Burrow shines is in his efficiency. Burrow beats just about everybody with his completion percentage. And he’s not throwing check downs to boost his stats, he’s dropping bombs on defenders.

He’s seen a remarkable improvement from 2018 to 2019

As impressive as those numbers are, it’s almost more impressive the sort of improvement Burrow has made since last season.

Prior to arriving in Baton Rouge, Burrow had been nothing but a backup at Ohio State. Having attempted a grand total of 39 passes in two seasons, it was clear that Burrow’s future would not include being the starting quarterback of the Buckeyes. So, when he did leave OSU, it was without much meaningful experience.

His first season at LSU reflected that reality.

Burrow completed a total of 57.8 percent of his passes in 2018, throwing for a fairly respectable but not stellar 2,894 yards and 16 touchdowns against 5 interceptions. LSU still had a successful 2018 season, but it was clear that the Tigers weren’t winning games because of their quarterback.

Now it’s clear that Burrow is a completely different passer in 2019, with the Tigers dominating teams because of his performances.

Burrow has been dominant against really good competition too

As the 2019 SEC Championship Game came to an end, the LSU Tigers secured their first SEC Championship in eight years. The Tigers, led by Burrow, dismantled Georgia in Atlanta completing LSU’s dominant run through the conference.

LSU has largely taken the SEC by storm this year and Burrow is the main reason for that. So far this season, LSU has wins over five teams that were ranked in the top 10 at the time that the game was played.

That includes road wins against then No. 9 Texas (the only ranked non-SEC team that LSU faced this season) and No. 2 Alabama, home wins against then No. 7 Florida and No. 9 Auburn, and now a neutral-site victory over current No. 4 Georgia. Against these five teams, Burrow threw for 1,827 yards and 15 touchdowns against two interceptions while completing 78.6 percent of his passes.

That puts him at 365.4 yards, three touchdowns, and two-thirds of an interception per game when facing ranked foes all while completing 78.6 percent of his passes. Against all foes, the LSU quarterback has averaged 362.7 yards, 3.7 touchdowns, and 0.46 interceptions per game while completing 77.9 percent of his passes.

There’s an argument that could easily be made that Burrow is actually better when facing ranked teams.

Burrow’s journey has been a fun one

It took some time for Burrow to find a team where he fit, but he found one in Baton Rouge.

That said, it took some time before things really started to click. His first season as the starting quarterback of the Tigers was less than ideal, but with Joe Brady helping to design this offense and a seemingly more progressive plan of attack, LSU and Burrow have found nothing but success this season.

It took nearly 20 years, but LSU’s offense finally looks like it belongs in this millennia. Burrow has been electrifying for the Tigers all year-long, with few quarterbacks actually being good enough to possibly rival him.

With how good Burrow has been this season, and how good LSU looks right now, it’d be difficult to give the Heisman to anyone else. He’s proven himself to be the best player on the field against every team he’s faced and is almost certainly the best player in the country this season.

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