“I came here to play, I didn’t come here to sit on the bench for four years. I’m a pretty darn good quarterback, I want to play somewhere.”
That’s the reason Joe Burrow gave after announcing his intention to leave the Ohio State. The former Ohio Mr. Football is from The Buckeye State, but he wasn’t given the chance to play under head coach Urban Meyer. Burrow only needed one chance, and all he did was become the most prolific quarterback college football has ever seen.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow broke damn near every record the book has to offer in a dominant senior season. No matter what defense opposed him, Baton Rouge’s favorite adopted son cooked them like a German rabbit stew. Game after game, just when you thought Burrow might slow down, he just kept on going. Memories of a landslide victory to win the Heisman Trophy, an undefeated season, College Football Playoff National Championship Game victory, and likely becoming the first overall NFL Draft pick will live on through the records he broke this season.
Joe Burrow isn’t just the only quarterback in SEC history to throw for more than 4,000 passing yards and 40 touchdowns in one season. With 60 passing touchdowns in a season and 65 total touchdowns responsible for in a season ? his 76.3 completion percentage is the also second-highest ever ? he set conference and FBS marks that may go untouched for years.
Oh, and he was the only player to eclipse 6,000 yards of total offense in one season.
Here’s how LSU’s Joe Burrow became the most-prolific player in history:
Joe Burrow’s Single-Season Records
Georgia Southern: 5 TDs
Burrow’s first game, a 55-3 romp over the Eagles, saw him throw more touchdown passes (5) than incompletions (4). It was also the last time he’d throw for less than 300 yards…
Texas: 4 TDs
College GameDay was on location in Austin, but LSU flexed its muscles and left the Longhorns in the dust. Burrow threw for a career-high 471 yards as Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase and Terrance Marshall Jr. all racked up over 100 receiving yards.
Northwestern State: 3 TDs
Yes, Burrow did score his first touchdown on the ground in a 65-14 blowout. No, LSU was not challenged at all.
Vanderbilt: 6 TDs
The Commodores had no answers on their home turf, as Burrow showed out for an LSU-record six touchdown passes, four of which went to Chase. Don’t worry, that school record wouldn’t last either…
Utah State: 6 TDs
The Aggies fell victim to a 600-yard day by LSU’s offense. Burrow threw for five touchdowns, scored his second rushing touchdown of the season, and moved the Tigers to 5-0 on the year.
Florida: 3 TDs
The Gators offered the first, major SEC challenge for the Tigers. This game was tied at 28 mid-way through the third quarter before 14 unanswered points by LSU put it away. Burrow also matched his season-high 87.5 completion percentage, finishing the day 21-of-24.
Mississippi State: 4 TDs
LSU’s first SEC West division opponent actually held LSU to 413 total yards, but still couldn’t stop the avalanche (or Joe’s ass from falling out). Burrow’s 327 passing yards and four touchdown tosses put this one away by the third quarter.
Auburn: 2 TDs
Statistically, this was Burrow’s worst performance of the year. His 143.5 passing efficiency rating was his worst of the season, which says something considering he completed 32 of 42 passes and had 352 yards of total offense. LSU hung on for a 23-20 win and moved to 8-0.
Alabama: 3 TDs
When the moment was brightest, Burrow delivered. The Crimson Tide couldn’t slow him at all as he’d run for a season-high 64 yards and toss three more TDs. Clyde Edwards-Helaire had a monster day with 180 scrimmage yards and four total touchdowns.
Ole Miss: 5 TDs
The Rebels’ offense hung around, dropping 614 yards on the Tigers, but LSU was absolutely sick. They amassed 716 total yards, with 489 coming on Burrow’s arm. He did toss two interceptions, but November 16 was the last time he’d turn the ball over all season…
Arkansas: 3 TDs
You have to feel bad for the Razorbacks. They were losing 56-6 in the fourth quarter before mustering two late scores of their own. Burrow was already yucking it up on the bench at that point.
Texas A&M: 3 TDs
Another week, another overwhelmed SEC West opponent. Jimbo Fisher’s squad wasn’t ready for this Senior Night onslaught, surrendering 50 points as LSU avenged a historic seven overtime loss and finished the regular season in style.
Georgia: 4 TDs
In the SEC Championship Game, the Bulldogs defense couldn’t contain a 349-yard passing day for Burrow. He cemented his Heisman Trophy campaign with a conference title, and even caught his own pass for a 16-yard gain. Things were getting out of control at this point.
Oklahoma: 8 TDs
Holy. Shit. No one really gave the Sooners a chance in the Peach Bowl semifinal game, especially considering Jalen Hurts’ electric final season. But for Joe Burrow go out, throw for a season-high 493 passing yards and seven first-half touchdowns? If you thought LSU was scary before, this game proved how dangerous they really were with the Heisman Trophy winner gaining even more confidence in Louisiana.
Clemson: 6 TDs
Record breaking time. The Tigers had answers for Burrow and company early in the CFP title game, but once they started rolling, there was no way the LSU train was slowing down on Monday night. Dabo Swinney’s defense had allowed at least 20 points only twice all season. LSU doubled that, winning 42-25.
Burrow’s 59th TD pass ? a 4-yard strike to Thaddeus Moss ? was also his 64th total touchdown responsible for this season, breaking two records previously held by Hawaii’s Colt Brennan.
For good measure, Burrow connected with Terrance Marshall Jr. in the fourth quarter to secure the FBS passing touchdown record (60) and total touchdown record (65).
Even in today’s pass-happy football, 60 touchdown passes is absolutely absurd. The only quarterback in major college football to even get close this season was Washington State’s Anthony Gordon. In an air-raid offense, Gordon threw 48 in two fewer games.
Burrow’s season isn’t just historic; it’s transcendent. The LSU superstar did something no one has ever done before, and he did it leading the best team in college football. It might be years before any player comes close to these marks, so get used to seeing “Joe Burrow” at the top of college football’s record book for a long, long time.
This article was originally published April 23, 2020.