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Texas

Tulane closed a 15-point deficit in the final minutes in a 46-45 comeback victory over USC in the Cotton Bowl.

The Green Wave made an incredible comeback for the ages to defeat the Trojans.

ARLINGTON, Texas. Tulane, number 16, made up 15 points in less than five minutes for an incredible comeback win. 10 USC to win the 2023 Goodyear Cotton Bowl 46-45 on Monday.

“Like I said this week, it was an opportunity of a lifetime and we took it,” said running back Taija Spears, who finished with a 205-yard rush on 17 carries and was named the most outstanding offensive player of the game. “This is amazing”.

Down 45–30 with 4:30 left in the fourth quarter, Tulane quarterback Michael Pratt connected with wide receiver Deuce Watts for a 59-yard lead that put the Green Wave on the USC four-yard line.

Spears hit in the next play, making the game an eight-point game.

The subsequent kickoff put the Trojans on their own yard line. USC ran it twice and Austin Jones hit the end zone in the second run, making him safe.

This reduced USC’s lead to six and ensured Tulane would return the ball on the next kickoff with three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

“We were debating whether or not to do the side kick,” said Willie Fritz, Tulane’s seventh-year coach. “Obviously it was great that we did it in the first place and achieved safety.”

Pratt, with fewer than ten passes the entire game, was fired on the first down for an 11-yard loss. Facing the No. 4 and No. 6 two games later, Pratt ran to save the game with a first down.

A few games later, Pratt converted another fourth down with a pass to Alex Bauman that led to a 24-yard win to the USC 30-yard line with 22 seconds left.

Hitting on the first down, Pratt made a 24-yard pass to Watts, who was hit in the head by a USC defenseman but he held the ball, placing Tulane on the USC 6-yard line. Although the game was not called for post-watch targeting, the watch stopped the clock at 18 seconds left.

Michael Pratt made a pass intended for Bauman that was not converted, which would ultimately help Tulane as Bauman would be tackled inbounds and the clock would keep ticking.

With less than ten seconds left, Pratt hit Bauman in the end zone, who caught the ball but let it go down. While this was initially ruled incomplete, further testing proved it to be a touchdown as the ball never touched the ground.

“I kept my hands under the ball,” Bauman said after the game.

This gave Tulane a 46-45 lead after an extra point. USC ran out of time to put together a winning drive and Green Wave pulled off a miraculous comeback victory in the Cotton Bowl.

“If you had told us before the game that we had one drive, one opportunity to go down there and win the game, then we would have used it 10 times out of 10,” Pratt said.

The Green Wave (12-2) faced a tough test against USC (11-3) quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams, who hit their defense all day, passing for 460 yards, five touchdowns and one interception.

Tulane made the most of his success on the ground, with Spears having a great day with 17 carries for 205 yards and four touchdowns.

Despite Pratt’s only 13 pass attempts the entire game, Ja’Quan Jackson led in receiving yards with one reception for 87 yards that resulted in a touchdown in the second quarter.

Watts caught two passes for 83 yards that day.

The Green Wave never took the lead until the last drive. The Trojans had almost 20 more minutes of possession than Tulane, leading them 594-539 yards and 29-16 on first downs.

And yet, in a seemingly fitting fashion, The Green Wave ended an incredible season with one of the most incredible cup victories in the program’s history.



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