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Tuesday September 22nd, 2020 7:17PM

The Latest: LSU, Clemson national title showdown kicks off

By The Associated Press
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The latest from the College Football Playoff championship game between No. 1 LSU and No. 3 Clemson in New Orleans (all times local):

7:20 p.m.

Thunderous applause and chants of “Four More Years” welcomed President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump as they took the field at the New Orleans Superdome before college football’s championship game between LSU and Clemson.

The crowd also broke into chants of “USA, USA.”

The president and first lady walked onto the field Monday night for the singing of the national anthem.

Trump won a nearly 20-point victory in Louisiana in the 2016 presidential election.

LSU then won the coin toss and kicked off to Clemson, which was forced to punt on its first possession.

___

6:55 p.m.

President Donald Trump has arrived at the New Orleans Superdome to watch No. 1 LSU and No. 3 Clemson battle square off in the College Football Playoff championship game.

Trump arrived at the domed stadium shortly before the game’s scheduled kickoff. He was accompanied by his wife, first lady Melania Trump and South Carolina U.S. senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott. Graham and Scott are Republican, like the president.

Trump predicted that it will be a “great game” as he departed the White House.

Trump is familiar with LSU. He took attended a November game in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, when the Tigers beat the Crimson Tide.

The president hosted many of Clemson’s players and coaches at the White House in January 2019 after the team won the 2018 national championship.

___

2:45 p.m.

The College Football Playoff has extended the contract of executive director Bill Hancock.

The 11 university presidents and chancellors that make up the Board of Managers unanimously approve the extension Monday, a few hours before the national championship game in New Orleans between Clemson and LSU.

Terms were not disclosed. Hancock's current three-year deal was set to expire in June.

Hancock has been executive director of the playoff since its start in 2014 and helped craft the current postseason system through the transition from the Bowl Championship Series.

“It's a rolling agreement, so I intend to be here as long as they'll have me and as long as I want to,” Hancock said. “I'm having a blast. I'm honored and delighted to get to do what I do."

Hancock was the first executive director of the BCS, appointed in 2009 after working as an administrator for the FBS conference commissioners who manage the postseason.

___

1 p.m.

Top-ranked LSU faces No. 3 Clemson for the college football national championship Monday night at the Superdome in New Orleans.

Both sets of Tigers are 14-0, seeking to cap a perfect season. President Donald Trump is expected to be among those in attendance.

It's practically a home game for LSU. Its campus is just 90 minutes away and purple-and-gold clad supporters could be found all around New Orleans.

There were plenty of orange-wearing Clemson fans on the streets, hoping their team wins a second straight national championship. A second-story veranda near Jackson Square boasted Clemson flags from its 2016 and 2018 national titles, along with an inflatable Tiger figure.

Clemson is after its third crown in four seasons and its 30th straight victory.

LSU is seeking its first national championship since 2007 and first in the CFP era.

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/APTop25CollegeFootballPoll and https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP National News, AP Online National News, AP Elections, General Presidential Election News, College Sports, AP Sports - College Football, AP Sports - College Playoffs
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