by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher/AP Member –

In their renewal of the Battle for the Ball rivalry with Tulane University at Yulman Stadium in New Orleans, La. on Saturday, September 24, 2022, the Southern Miss (USM) Golden Eagles beat the undefeated Green Wave 27-24.

With a crowd over 20,000, USM (2-2) won their second consecutive game and their first game ever at Tulane’s new Yulman Stadium in uptown New Orleans.  After giving up just 20 points in its first three games, Tulane surrendered 27 to the Golden Eagles in this contest.

Southern Miss ended a two-game skid in the series, a 30-13 loss in the 2020 Armed Forces Bowl and a 66-24 defeat at home during the 2020 regular season. It was the 33rd meeting in the series dating to 1979, but the first in New Orleans since 2010, a 46-10 Southern Miss win at the Louisiana Superdome.

Following a two touchdown 14-0 lead in the second quarter, the Golden Eagles got on the board with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Zach Wilcke to Jason Brownlee. It was the second TD catch for Brownlee and 15th of his career. It was the third-straight game for Wilcke with a TD pass as he now has four for the year.

USM Placekicker Briggs Bourgeois then knocked in a field goal from 36 yards to cut the lead 14-10.  The Green Wave countered with their own three point conversion from 28 yards and no time left on the clock at the half for a Tulane 17-10 lead.

Jakarius Caston established a career high for catches with eight for 91 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown reception from Wilcke near the end of the third quarter with under 2 minutes to tie the game at 17. It was his second-straight with a TD catch and third scoring reception this season. 

Once Southern Miss chipped in a 26 yard field goal from Bourgeois, the Golden Eagles took their first lead and never looked back again.

During the next possession of Tulane, USM Defensive Back Eric Scott, Jr., returned an interception 35 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to put the Golden Eagles up 27-17 in the game. It was his second interception for a touchdown this season.

The Golden Eagles registered four sacks for the third straight game and now have 14 on the year and didn’t let loose securing the victory.

USM’s Special Teams defender Jay Jonescollected his first blocked punt of his career in the second quarter as it was the program’s first blocked punt since Jordan Mitchell did it against UTEP on Sept. 28, 2019.

The next Southern Miss game is scheduled for October 8, 2022 at Troy University against the Trojans for the Golden Eagles inaugural game in the Sun Belt Conference.