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GAMEDAY College Football

Cotton Bowl: Tulane 46, Southern Cal 45

(AP Photo/Sam Hodde)

By STEPHEN HAWKINS
AP Sports Writer

ARLINGTON, Texas - Tulane tight end Alex Bauman caught a 6-yard touchdown from Michael Pratt with 9 seconds left to cap a frantic finish by the 14th-ranked Green Wave in a 46-45 win over Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams and No. 8 Southern California in the Cotton Bowl.

Bauman's contested catch, with linebacker Eric Gentry draped over him, was initially ruled an incompletion, but a replay review showed the ball never touched the ground as the players rolled over in the end zone. The Green Wave scored 16 points in the final 4:07, the game-winning touchdown coming after they got the ball back following a safety.

"I might have had a heart attack," Tulane coach Willie Fritz said moments after the game ended.

Williams was 37-for-52 passing for 462 yards and a Cotton Bowl-record five touchdowns, exactly one month after the quarterback suffered a hamstring injury in USC's loss to Utah in the Pac-12 championship game that kept the Trojans from making the four-team College Football Playoff.

Tyjae Spears ran for 205 yards and his career-best fourth touchdown started the final scoring surge for the American Athletic Conference champion Green Wave (12-2), who completed an FBS-record 10-win turnaround around after going 2-10 last season. They were in the New Year's Six game as the highest-ranked Group of Five team.

After Spears' 4-yard TD with 4:07 left, the Green Wave opted to kick deep instead of trying an onside kick. Mario Williams signaled for a fair catch, but fumbled the ball out of bounds at the 1. Two plays later, defensive tackle Patrick Jenkins met Austin Jones in the end zone and smothered him for a safety.

Pratt completed only 8 of 17 passes for 234 yards, but had two 24-yard completions on that final drive after the safety. The first one to Bauman converted a fourth-and-10, and Deuce Watts held on despite a crushing hit from a defender that left both of them on the ground after a 24-yard gain to the 6 with 18 seconds left.

After Williams followed coach Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma, the Trojans (11-3) matched the biggest turnaround in school history despite the coach's first loss in six games at AT&T Stadium. It was a seven-win improvement over last season's 4-8 record before Riley and Williams arrived on the West Coast.

January 2, 2023


Scoring Summary
First Quarter TulaneUSC
USC TD 5:58 Michael Jackson III 9 yard TD pass from Caleb Williams (Denis Lynch Extra Point) 0 7
Second Quarter TulaneUSC
USC TD 12:33 Terrell Bynum 3 yard TD pass from Caleb Williams (Denis Lynch Extra Point) 0 14
Tulane TD 9:30 Tyjae Spears 3 yard TD run (Valentino Ambrosio Extra Point) 7 14
Tulane TD 5:42 Jha'Quan Jackson 87 yard TD pass from Michael Pratt (Valentino Ambrosio Extra Point) 14 14
USC TD 2:21 Raleek Brown 39 yard TD run (Denis Lynch Extra Point) 14 21
USC TD 0:12 Brenden Rice 4 yard TD pass from Caleb Williams (Denis Lynch Extra Point) 14 28
Third Quarter TulaneUSC
Tulane TD 11:55 Tyjae Spears 7 yard TD run (Valentino Ambrosio Extra Point) 21 28
Tulane FG 4:02 Valentino Ambrosio 42 yard field goal 24 28
USC TD 1:24 Brenden Rice 19 yard TD pass from Caleb Williams (Denis Lynch Extra Point) 24 35
Tulane TD 0:40 Tyjae Spears 3 yard TD run (Shae Wyatt 2pt conversion attempt is NO GOOD) 30 35
Fourth Quarter TulaneUSC
USC TD 12:09 Kyron Hudson 4 yard TD pass from Caleb Williams (Denis Lynch Extra Point) 30 42
USC FG 4:30 Denis Lynch 43 yard field goal 30 45
Tulane TD 4:07 Tyjae Spears 4 yard TD run (Valentino Ambrosio Extra Point) 37 45
Tulane SF 3:20 Team safety 39 45
Tulane TD 0:09 Alex Bauman 6 yard TD pass from Michael Pratt (Valentino Ambrosio Extra Point) 46 45
Team Stats
  Tulane USC
First downs 16 30
  Rushing 9 6
  Passing 6 22
  Penalty 1 2
3rd Down Efficiency 3-8, 38% 11-15, 73%
4th down efficiency 2-2, 100% 2-2, 100%
Rushes-Yards 34-305 32-132
Passing Yards 234 459
Return Yards 146 65
Completions-Attempts-Int 8-18-0 37-52-1
Sacks-Yards Lost 4-20 0-0
Punts 2 0
Fumbles Lost 1-1 2-0
Penalties - Yards 4-30 5-36
Tulane Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
M. Pratt 8 17 234 2 0
USC Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
C. Williams 37 52 459 5 1
Tulane Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
T. Spears 18 210 11.7 4
M. Pratt 14 78 5.6 0
S. Clayton-Johnson 1 19 19.0 0
USC Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
R. Brown 6 61 10.2 1
A. Jones 22 61 2.8 0
C. Williams 4 10 2.5 0
Tulane Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
J. Jackson 1 87 87.0 1
D. Watts 2 83 41.5 0
A. Bauman 3 46 15.3 1
T. Spears 1 14 14.0 0
R. Brown 1 4 4.0 0
USC Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
B. Rice 6 174 29.0 2
T. Washington 5 109 21.8 0
M. Williams 6 35 5.8 0
M. Jackson III 4 31 7.8 1
T. Bynum 3 24 8.0 1
R. Brown 2 24 12.0 0
K. Hudson 4 23 5.8 1
A. Jones 4 20 5.0 0
K. Ford 2 19 9.5 0
J. Jackson III 1 2 2.0 0
Tulane Interceptions
Player Int Yards
J. Monroe 1 0
USC Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Tulane Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
C. Glover 2 86 43.0
USC Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
Tulane Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
USC Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
M. Jackson III 1 1 1.0
Tulane Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
L. Keys III 5 123 24.6
D. Hodges 1 23 23.0
USC Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
R. Brown 4 65 16.3
R. Davis 1 -1 -1.0
M. Blackmon 1 0 0
M. Williams 1 0 0
Tulane Missed FG
Player Length
USC Missed FG
Player Length
D. Lynch 52




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