Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase: How LSU teammates have regained university success with the Bengals

It is rare for university footballers to immediately repeat their success at the NFL level. It’s even rarer when it happens to more teammates from the same team.

So what does the Joe Burrow-Ja’Marr Chase connection mean? Former LSU teammates and top LSU players in their second and rookie seasons with the Bengals were less than a minute away, re-establishing the deadly connection that haunted the SEC’s defenses during the 2019 Tigers College Football Playoff Championship.

MORE: Bengals Joe Burrow calls LSU with a winning cigar to celebrate the AFC North title

Simply put, Burrow and Chase are both stars – whether high or professional. The fact that they were able to continue their incredible chemistry testifies not only to their individual talent, but also to the relationship they built in Baton Rouge as part of a record attack.

Burrow has already broken the Bengals franchise record by crossing 4,611 yards in 2021, a record originally set by former Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton in 2013 (4,293 yards). Burrow’s favorite goal in breaking that record was Chase, who leads the Bengals 2021 in goals (128), receptions (82), income yards (1,455) and touchdown receptions (13).

By the way, Chase’s 1,455 yards in a single season also breaks some remarkable records: a record for newcomers in one NFL season (formerly 1,400 yards, achieved by Vikings receiver and former LSU outstanding player Justin Jefferson in 2020) and single-Bengals. a seasonal record (previously 1,440 yards set by Chad Johnson in 2007).

Burrow and Chase look like another great NFL quarterback-receiver duo. But you can’t fully appreciate what they’re doing now until you see how – and where – they started. With that, Sporting News returns to college to check out the duo’s time at LSU:

MORE: NFL 500-yard passes: Joe Burrow joins the “500 Club” with huge stats in Bengals vs. Ravens

Statistics Joe Burrow-Ja’Marr Chase LSU

Burrow together completed 621 of 906 passes (68.5 percent) to 8,565 yards and 76 yards to 11 interceptions in two seasons at LSU. Most of these statistics come from his record season of 2019, in which he completed 402 passes on 5,761 yards and 60 touchdowns in just six captures.

Chase, a rookie when Burrow moved from Ohio State to the LSU in 2018, combined for 107 receptions at 2,093 reception yards and 23 touchdowns, also in the 2018 and 19 seasons (he checked out of the 2020 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic). Like his quarterback, Chase enjoyed an explosive campaign in 2019, with 84 receptions for 1,780 yards and 20 landings at the head of the team.

It’s weird that Chase only caught passes from Burrow during his college career. Reserve quarterback Myles Brennan in 2018 and 19 completed 28 of 46 passes at 418 yards and one touchdown to one capture, but none made it to Chase. The only other player to complete the pass during these seasons – apart from Burrow – was runningback Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who in 2018 completed an 11-yard pass against Texas A&M.

Overall, Chase accounted for 17.2 percent of Burrow’s career completion at LSU; 24.4 percent of his career; and 30.2 percent of his landing in a career. These numbers are even more impressive when we focus only on the 2019 season: 20.8 of its adoption; 31.3 percent of his yardage; and 33.3 percent landings.

MORE: Ja’Marr Chase by Numbers: Rookie WR performs as Randy Moss in Bengals win over Chiefs

Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase University football records

The Burrow-Chase connection at LSU naturally set several school, SEC and national records. Below are the records that both players helped create during the two joint seasons:

Ja’Marr Chase One Season Records

  • 2019: 20 receiving touchdowns (SEC record)
  • 2019: 1,780 reception yards (SEC record)

Chase’s one-season SEC records were broken a season later when DeVonta Smith of Alabama had 1,856 admission yards and 23 admission landings in 2020.

Joe Burrow single season records

  • 2019: 60 touchdowns (NCAA record)
  • 2019: A total of 65 landings (NCAA record)
  • 2019: 402 completions (SEC record)
  • 2019: 527 attempts (SEC record)
  • 2019: 5,671 yards (SEC record)
  • 2019: 76.3 percent completion (SEC record)
  • 2019: 6039 yards total (SEC record)
  • 2019: 402.6 yards total per game (SEC record)
  • 2019: Total 642 plays (SEC record)

Joe Burrow records in one game

  • Eight touchdowns responsible for (SEC in one game, vs. Oklahoma)
  • Seven touchdown passes (SEC record in one game, vs. Oklahoma)

Burrow still enjoys the many records he set at LSU in 2019, with only two being usurped since leaving the NFL. Alabama Quarterback Mac Jones set the SEC record of one-season completion in 2020 (77.3 percent). The following season, Western Kentucky’s Bailey Zappe broke Burrow’s one-season NCAA touchdown record of 62. He also matched his NCAA record for the total number of touchdowns per season (65).

MORE: SN 50: Memories of Joe Burrow’s record season at LSU

Why did the Bengals draft Ja’Marra Chase over Penei Sewell?

Many expected the Bengals to propose a needed position in the NFL draft in 2021: an offensive campaign. This move made sense for several reasons, not least Burrow suffered a torn ACL and MCL at the end of the season after being hit in the back by Bengals vs. Washington Football Team. The injury occurred during the 11th week of the 2020 NFL season – he was fired 32 times at the time he was injured. Only Russell Wilson (33) of the Seahawks and Carson Wentz (40) of the Eagles have experienced more at this point in the season.

In addition, the Bengals were in the best position to win Penei Sewell of Oregon, the best offensive draft pick, with an overall 5th pick. After selecting quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Trey Lance with the first three draft picks, the Bengals were on track to win their husband only Atlanta. The Falcons eventually chose Florida’s close Kyle Pitts.

The Bengalis then had a choice: going with an offensive solution, a needed position, or reuniting Burrow with one of his favorite LSU targets?

Bengali offensive coordinator Brian Callahan admitted that the Bengalis considered Sewell, Pitts and Chase to be clearly the best prospects available at a time of their choice. According to the Bengals:

“After the passes, we felt like we finally looked at the top three draft players,” Callahan said. “Those guys were one level higher after that, and they’ll be good players. But these guys are elite. The best in their position. … It’s not an easy decision. We were with those guys back and forth.”

Burrow’s relationship with Chase helped inform the Bengals of his decision to draft him, especially during the season when the receiver did not produce any tape and had interviews with teams limited to Zoom calls. Callahan also considered Chase – who had demonstrated remarkable success against future NFL turns, including Trebon Diggs of Alabama – one of the best receiving talents in recent memory.

“It ended up being a guy who could change our attack. He’s so explosive,” Callahan says. “For me, it’s the best receiver to come out in the last three years. It’s worth the place where guys like AJ (Green) and Julio (Jones) were drafted. It’s hard to miss such talent.”


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