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Joe Burrow Leading LSU

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Going back to late last year, Joe Burrow might be the hottest quarterback in college football.

For as good as Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger is, LSU's Joe Burrow enters Saturday's high-profile pairing on a hot streak like no other. He opened this season completing 23-of-27 passes for 278 yards and five touchdowns in a 55-3 win over Georgia Southern. That performance ranks Burrow third in the entire country, one week through the season, in passer rating. Notably, that performance was more of an extension than an exception.

Going back to late last year, Burrow might be the hottest quarterback in college football.

Burrow earned Fiesta Bowl MVP honors, registered the highest passer rating of any quarterback in the postseason, with 394 passing yards and four touchdowns in a 40-32 Fiesta Bowl triumph that ended Central Florida's record winning streak. The week before, he threw for three touchdowns, ran for three more and compiled 370 total yards in a seven-overtime loss to Texas A&M that many deemed last season's game of the year. Prior to that stretch, Burrow completed over 71% of his throws for 307 yards and a pair of scores in a win over Rice.

Over his last four games, Burrow has completed over 70% of his passes for 1,249 yards, 14 passing touchdowns and just one interception, adding 143 rushing yards and three more scores. The aforementioned week one performance against Georgia Southern was one for the recent record books. Burrow became the first quarterback this millennium to open a season against an FBS opponent with at least 85% completions and five touchdowns passing.

Ahead of a signature showcase at Texas, a game that already comes with national implications, Burrow, along with Ehlinger, will enter with confidence, momentum and a growing legacy. A year ago at this time, there was some uncertainty around Burrow at LSU as he was still settling in after transferring from Ohio State. Burrow, stepping into the spotlight right away, showed grit and resolve in a conspicuous position. He earned his stripes with the Tigers and is now a leader and playmaker for a College Football Playoff contender.  

After having just one game with a passer rating above 150 in his first nine contests with LSU, Burrow has now had five straight: 165.14 at Arkansas, 187.10 versus Rice, 151.52 at Texas A&M, 192.05 against Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl and, most recently, a career-high 232.79 versus Georgia Southern to start this season. For point of reference, Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa just set a new college football record with a single season mark of 199.44.

It goes without saying that Burrow, in a relatively short period of time, has found his comfort zone. The end result could ultimately be him shaking up the national standings. 

From nationally-ranked Texas A&M to a New Year's Six bowl game against undefeated UCF, this weekend's game at Texas will be Burrow's biggest test since turning the corner in early November of last year. In a clash with primetime top ten billing, the winner Saturday night will take a big step into the national forefront. Not long after being in the thick of a quarterback competition, Burrow will be in the middle of it all. Though a trip to Tuscaloosa for another chance at Alabama awaits, a win over Longhorns would be an early statement for Burrow and LSU alike.    

The Tigers are coming. Burrow is leading the way.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports