Home Featured Teams LSU Tigers #1 LSU vs. #4 Oklahoma Showcases Impact of NCAA Transfer Portal

#1 LSU vs. #4 Oklahoma Showcases Impact of NCAA Transfer Portal

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Photo courtesy of LSUsports.net

The new transfer rules have paid off tremendously for No. 1 LSU (13-0) and No. 4 Oklahoma (12-1), as a pair of former backup quarterbacks take center stage in the semifinals of the College Football Playoff.

LSU’s Joe Burrow captured the Heisman Trophy, while Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts was a finalist for the award. Burrow and Hurts were previously members of Ohio State and Alabama, respectively.

The Tigers and Sooners compete in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 28. The winner advances to the national championship game in New Orleans on Jan. 13, facing either No. 2 Ohio State or No. 3 Clemson.

Burrow rode the bench during the entirety of his time at Ohio State before resurrecting his collegiate career in these last two seasons at LSU. Hurts lost his starting job at Alabama after Tua Tagovailoa emerged in the national title game two seasons ago but has redeemed himself this year at Oklahoma.

This season, Burrow has passed for 4,715 yards and 48 touchdowns while Hurts has totaled 4,889 yards from scrimmage and 50 touchdowns (32 passing, 18 rushing).

Both graduate players square off in the CFP as validation of how the transfer portal can be transformative. LSU coach Ed Orgeron is a strong advocate for the system that afforded Burrow and Hurts a second shot.

“You know, I think the transfer rule for graduate assistants is really good; for graduate students, really good,” Orgeron said. “I think there’s some cases where a young man ought to transfer if the situation for him in that school is not right.”

Orgeron commends Burrow and Hurts for seizing the second chances afforded to them.

“Obviously, on the other end, with coaches, we have to choose the right transfers. And, obviously, we got it right, and they got it right,” Orgeron said. “Two fantastic young men that got their opportunity, made the best of it.”

Orgeron points out that Burrow and Hurts are both quality individuals who are excellent leaders for their teammates.

“I’m proud of Jalen Hurts. I know him. I think he’s a great young man. I got to meet him at a couple of deals,” Orgeron said. “He has great parents, outstanding character, and obviously very proud of Joe and what he’s done. Those two are very similar in character, and they’re team players.”

Orgeron is grateful to have the leadership of a Heisman Trophy winner as LSU seeks two victories to secure the program’s first national title since 2007.

“I think I’ve been fortunate to be in four National Championships, and two at Miami and two at USC,” Orgeron said. “We had great quarterbacks. Two of them Heisman Trophy winners — three of them were Heisman Trophy winners out of the four. They make a difference, obviously.”

Orgeron is confident Burrow is rejuvenated for the task at hand after making the Heisman rounds.

“I think he’s been fine. I think he’s a little tired. When he got back, obviously a little tired. We rested him last week a bunch,” Orgeron said. “But I think he’s fine, he’s back to normal now and ready to go.”

Orgeron respects the challenge Hurts and Oklahoma will pose, yet has the utmost believe Burrow and LSU can emerge victorious in their CFP debut.

“The magnitude of the football game, everybody’s awareness and alertness is heightening,” Orgeron said. “I don’t think there’s any anxiety or sense of confidence, but a sense of knowing we got to go get the job done.”

Watch LSU Gameday LIVE for updates and analysis before Saturday’s Peach Bowl – Saturday, Dec. 28 at 11:00 am CT on Cox Sports TV (Cox Ch. 1037 in Louisiana. Other regions check local listings).

After the Game, watch LSU Tonight for Peach Bowl highlights, in-depth analysis and player interviews (6:30 pm CT).