But Orgeron imbued a bravado in his team: “We come,” he declared two years ago after being defeated by Alabama, and Burrow flourished with a full offseason surrounded by N.F.L. talent in each skill position, and a scheme that was taken from the New Orleans Saints. Burrow established an N.C.A.A. Season record with 60 touchdown passes.
“The first time I met Joe, I didn’t know who this guy was,” said guard Damien Lewis, who arrived as a transfer at the same time as Burrow. “Is this our quarterback? He was silent, reserved for himself. But once he got out there, I thought, ‘O.K., we got something.’ “
That L.S.U. Having something with Orgeron was not immediately apparent either.
Five years ago, he was at his home in Mandeville, across Lake Pontchartrain, watching his son play American football in high school and cooking gumbo after being overlooked in the United States. after leading the Trojans to six wins in eight games as an interim coach.
“I remember sitting on the couch in my house, I had a year to reflect,” said Orgeron. “I remember watching the SEC games, I can compete with these guys if I get the right place.”
He added: “Man, people are going to talk and all that, but you can’t let it affect you. I use it as internal motivation. People, make fun of my way of speaking, make fun of my way of seeing and it’s funny The things I was doing in Ole Miss ridiculed me, and now I hit my jaw and everyone in LSU likes it. “
The L.S.U. offensive put some shots in the jaw before straightening.
Although Clemson was trying to win his third championship in four seasons, coach Dabo Swinney was well justified this time by playing his Clemson family card, knowing that the game would be played almost 80 miles from the local L.S.U stadium.
Clemson fans turned out, as they do regularly, transforming an end zone into a sea of orange. But as anyone who had wandered the streets of the French Quarter in the days before the game could have assumed, this was the city of L.S.U.