Despite a long lineage of outstanding football, LSU has surprisingly only had one Heisman Trophy winner in program history, dating all the way back to Billy Cannon’s 1959 campaign.
However, the 60-year drought for the Tigers could be in prime position to be snapped, as senior quarterback Joe Burrow is off to a blazing start to the 2019 season.
Through four games for No. 5 LSU (4-0), Burrow has amassed incredible stats. Even with LSU on a bye in Week 5, Burrow enters Saturday’s contest (11 a.m., SEC Network) against visiting Utah State (3-1) near the top of the nation in many categories.
Burrow is fifth in passing yards (1,520), third in touchdowns (17), second in passer rating (225.6) and first in completion percentage (80.6). Burrow set an LSU record with six touchdown passes and finished with 398 yards in a 66-38 week 4 road victory at Vanderbilt and still had the maturity to set the bar higher.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 21, 2019
“Yeah, I think that was probably the worst game I’ve played so far. I don’t want to say ‘bad game,’ because I still played very well. But I played better in the first three,” Burrow said according to The Advocate’s Brooke Kubena. “I have some things to correct, just like we do as an offense. I think through my first four games, I’ve played very well. I’m just going to try and get better every game.”
Joe Burrow says convincing wk. 3 win proof of improved LSU offense:
Burrow has tossed at least four touchdowns and thrown for 300+ yards in three of LSU’s four games, and he has already earned SEC Player of the Week three times this season.
The LSU offense is averaging a blistering 57.8 points per game while being 27-for-27 in the red zone. LSU has scored the most points (231) through the first four games of the season in SEC history.
— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) September 26, 2019
Add it all up and you have the makings of a legit Heisman contender. ESPN currently ranks Burrow at No. 3 in their Heisman Watch, behind only Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts and Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
Per Caesars Sportsbook, Burrow has 9-2 odds to win the Heisman.
ESPN’s Joey Galloway is effusive in his praise of Burrow. Galloway heavily credits Burrow for LSU’s offensive resurgence and considers him a bonafide Heisman candidate.
LSU is traditionally known for having a punishing rushing attack. Burrow has certainly injected some passing flair into the LSU offense.
“This LSU team with Joe Burrow now is actually fun to watch on the offensive side of the ball,” Galloway said. “Joe Burrow has been as good as anyone in the country.”
And in one way, better than recent Heisman predecessors.
According to Forbes’ Gant Player, Burrow has thrown more touchdown passes through this point in the season than the last three Heisman winners: Kyler Murray (11), Baker Mayfield (13), Lamar Jackson (13).
— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) September 30, 2019
Burrow will attempt to continue his hot streak against an offensively potent Utah State squad, who used a career-high 179 yards rushing from Gerold Bright to defeat Colorado State 34-24 in Week 5.
LSU coach Ed Orgeron raves Utah State’s Jordan Love is “one of the top quarterbacks in the country” and “definitely a first round pick” according to 247Sports’ Billy Embody. Orgeron says that he’s preparing the LSU defense on “warp speed” by having the second-team unit simulate their offense.
Utah State’s offense is 35th in rushing yards per game (206.8), tied for 19th in points per game (38.5), 12th in passing yards per game (326.3) nationally.
“The thing that makes their offense go is the speed of their offense,” Orgeron said to 247Sports. “Very, very fast. Faster than any team we’ve seen, including Missouri.”
With Heisman hopeful Burrow orchestrating his own uptempo offense and the defense keying in on pace during practice this week, Utah State will get all they can handle from LSU in Death Valley.
“We’ll put the best players in the best positions we can to simulate what they have on offense,” Orgeron said. “And I think we’ll do a pretty good job of it.”