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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Nolan Turner stuck with football after the tragic death of his father, and now he's making quite a name for himself at Clemson. Turner came through with a game-clinching interception in the Fiesta Bowl victory over Ohio State, preserving the Tigers' two-year-long winning streak. Turner and the Tigers are getting set to face top-ranked LSU and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow in the national championship game. Turner kept playing football even though his father was stricken with ALS. After Kevin Turner died in 2016, it was revealed that repeated blows to the head while playing football triggered the deadly disease.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The increased emphasis on the passing game in college football has given rise to a Golden Age of wide receivers. Good teams have at least one. And the very best teams usually have multiple pass-catchers who are some combination of too big, too strong, too fast or too athletic to be contained by one defender. There will be several on the field during the College Football Playoff championship game. No. 1 LSU and No. 3 Clemson are loaded with game-changing receivers like Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — LSU assistant Joe Brady says he intends to remain at the school and coach Ed Orgeron noted the Tigers are finalizing a plan to make that happen. Brady is credited as the catalyst for the Tigers' offensive transformation this season. He says preparing for No. 3 Clemson on Monday has kept him too busy to be distracted by speculation about his future. He has hired an agent to handle inquiries about what's next. A year ago, Brady was working as an analyst with the New Orleans Saints. He helped craft a record-breaking offense, led by Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — It would be one thing if all top-ranked LSU could hang its hat on was Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Joe Burrow leading the top offense in college football. But LSU's defense also has improved in recent high-stakes games against Georgia in the SEC championship and Oklahoma in the CFP semifinal at the Peach Bowl. And that unit gets an additional boost with 2018 co-sack leader Michael Divinity returning fresh for the final. Then there's quasi home advantage LSU is bound to enjoy Monday night against Clemson in the Superdome. That's why LSU looks primed to win its fourth national title.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Clemson's road to another national championship was likely mapped out in the Tigers' defensive coordinator's office. Brent Venables has been scheming for the past two weeks to do what no one has this season: slow LSU and Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow. Venables is a $2 million a year coordinator and everyone will see once again on Monday night why he is so well paid. Venables lost four starting defensive linemen from last season but has molded a versatile, hard-hitting group that's better than a year ago and is why Clemson will beat LSU.
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — No. 5 Auburn routed Georgia 82-60 to raise its record to 15-0, getting 17 points from Samir Doughty and strong play from the bench. Auburn surged with a 40-13 run after falling behind, a stretch that extended into the second half. Auburn got hot and the Bulldogs cooled down. Georgia freshman Anthony Edwards struggled with his shooting but still scored 18 points.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Skylar Mays hit a jumper from just inside the 3-point line at the buzzer to give LSU a 60-59 victory against Mississippi State in a Southeastern Conference game. Williams was the top scorer for LSU (11-4, 3-0) with 17 points. Manning had 15 points, while Mays finished with 11 points. The Tigers shot just 37% from the field and missed 19 of their 21 3-point attempts. Weatherspoon had 14 points to lead the Bulldogs (9-6, 0-3). Perry had 13 points and 15 rebounds, while Abdul Ado had 12 points and 12 rebounds.
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Dru Smith scored 22 points and dished six assists to lead Missouri to a 91-75 victory over Florida. The Tigers (9-6, 1-2 Southeastern Conference), who entered the game ranked next-to-last in the league in scoring offense, tied their season-high point total. They shot a blistering 61.5% from the field and 63.2% from 3-point range. Kerry Blackshear led Florida (10-5, 2-1) with 22 points.
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