Tulane shuts down and stops Southern Miss

Published 8:52 pm Saturday, September 16, 2023

HATTIESBURG — Southern Miss head coach Will Hall had a long list of things that went wrong, things his team didn’t do well, and things it needs to improve following Saturday’s 21-3 loss to Tulane.

One sentence of it, it seemed, boiled it all down.

“They tackled extremely well and kicked our butt pretty good,” Hall said.

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Tulane held Southern Miss to 36 rushing yards and 213 total yards, and Kai Horton threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score for the Green Wave.

Southern Miss (1-2) lost its second game in a row, after it was destroyed 66-13 by No. 3 Florida State last week. Tulane dropped out of the AP Top 25 after losing to No. 17 Ole Miss last week.

Southern Miss plays its Sun Belt Conference opener Sept. 23 at Arkansas State.

“We’ve probably played the two best football teams that we’re going to play. We knew going into this season that Week 2 and Week 3 were going to be the two best teams we played, and we’ve got to learn from it and grow from it,” Hall said. “We’ve got conference play coming up, which is ultimately what our eyes are on and what we’ve got to move towards now.”

Southern Miss’ defense did a respectable job, holding Tulane to XXX total yards and only seven points in the first half. Horton bullied into the end zone from the 1 to cap Tulane’s seven-play, 75-yard drive on its opening series.

Southern Miss’ offense, though, couldn’t find its groove. They went three-and-out on two of their five series in the second half, and an 11-play drive on their final possession only reached Tulane’s 32-yard line before stalling.

The Golden Eagles did not score until Andrew Stein kicked a 28-yard field goal with 5:45 remaining in the third quarter. It was the only drive that got into the red zone.

“They’re a really good, really well-coached team with a really good defense and a lot of talented players but I think execution on offense is really what bit us in the butt today,” said Southern Miss quarterback Billy Wiles, who was 19-of-33 passing for 177 yards.

Horton threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Jha’Quan Jackson and a 3-yard TD to Chris Brazzell in the third quarter to blow the game open in Tulane’s (2-1) favor.

Horton was 12-of-19 passing for 186 yards. Lawrence Keys III added 78 receiving yards on four catches, and Makhi Hughes had 83 rushing yards.

“I thought it was a great complimentary football game. I thought the coaching and defensive staff members had a good game plan and the team tackled it really well,” Tulane coach Willie Fritz said. “The team as a whole has a hang of this now and they were able to make some plays at a tough time. In the second half the offense gave us some breathing room to work through as well.”