The Scotty Walden era at Southern Miss hasn’t gotten off to a very good start.
Last week, the Golden Eagles gave up a game-winning touchdown to Louisiana Tech with 14 seconds left in the ballgame, ultimately falling 31-30 to the Bulldogs, and today, Southern Miss (0-3) looked like a shell of that team, losing 66-24 to Tulane (2-1) in the historic “Battle for the Bell.”
The first half was much prettier than the second as Southern Miss got off to a quick 14-0 lead, in large part due to big plays from both Kendrick Perkins and Jason Brownlee, however, the lead wouldn’t last for long.
Two possessions later, Tulane got themselves on the board with a 2-yard rushing touchdown from Tyjae Spears.
After a couple of defensive stops, the Green Wave were able to tie things up with yet another touchdown from Spears.
Southern Miss bounced back, though, as senior quarterback Jack Abraham hit junior tight end Naricuss Driver for a 61-yard score, which would be the Golden Eagles’ final touchdown of the day.
The Tulane rushing offense was both phenomenal and unstoppable as Cameron Carroll and Stephon Huderson, two Mississippi natives, combined for 283 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. With scores from both Tyjae Harris and quarterback Michael Pratt, the Green Wave offense rushed for seven touchdowns in total.
Keon Howard, who transferred from Southern Miss in 2018, initially got the start at quarterback but was replaced by Pratt midway through the first quarter. Seemingly, the change at signal caller was a good choice by head coach Willie Fritz as Pratt finished the day with 182 total yards and four touchdowns.
For the Golden Eagles, Abraham completed 22 of 37 passes for 306 yards and two touchdowns, despite the absence of All-Conference USA receiver Tim Jones, while Jason Brownlee led the depleted receiving corps with 110 yards and one touchdown.
After today’s unexpected performance by Southern Miss, the team will look to find its first win of the season next week against North Texas (1-1). It’s the first 0-4 start for the Golden Eagles since 2013.