USM offense stifled in 21-3 loss to visiting Tulane Saturday

Published: Sep. 16, 2023 at 4:51 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG Miss. (WDAM) -Tulane University quarterback Kai Horton had a hand in all three of his team’s scores Saturday afternoon as the Green Wave took down rival University of Southern Mississippi, 21-3, in another edition of ‘The Battle for the Bell.;”

Horton scored the lone touchdown of the first half at M.M. Roberts Stadium on a 1-yard run as both teams’ defenses muscled up over the first two quarters.

Horton, who completed 6-of-7 passes in the third quarter, tossed a pair of touchdowns in the period, a 35-yard strike to Jha’quan Jackson and a 3-yarder to Chris Brazzell II that capped the game’s scoring.

Tulane (2-1), which bounced back from a home loss to the University of Mississippi, did not attempt a pass in the final period.

USM (1-2), which dropped a second consecutive game, lost for third time in its last four meetings with the Green Wave.

The only points USM could manage Saturday came on a 28-yard field goal in the third quarter from Andrew Stein to cap a nine-play, 59-yard march that proved to be the Golden Eagles best drive of the day.

Stein had his first miss of the season in the first quarter, sending a 48-yard attempt wide right.

USM struggled offensively, rushing for just 36 yards while managing a slim 213 total yards.

The lack of ground game contributed to a long day facing long odds trying to pick up first downs and keep drives alive.

On 10 possessions, USM found itself facing, on average,third-and-8.6 yards when trying to convert.

Of those 10 processions, the Golden Eagles punted six times, turned the ball over twice on downs and missed a field goal.

Horton’s short touchdown run capped a 75-yard, game-opening drive by the Green Wave that was good enough for a 7-0 halftime lead as the Golden Eagles were held scoreless for an entire half for the first time this season.

After its first drive of the game, Tulane (1-1) collected only 56 more yards over the rest of the first two quarters, and had just 26 yards rushing at the break.

Horton, who opened the game 4-for-4 for 60 yard, completed just two of his next eight passes to end the half.

But Horton got hot again in the third quarter, throwing for 77 yards and the two scores.

Horton finished 12-of-19 for 186 yards.

Lawrence Keys III, who had three catches on Tulane’sfirst drive, finished with four grabs for 78 yards. Jackson had two catches for 41 yards adn his touchdown, and Brazell made three catches for 35 yards and a TD.

USM quarterback Billy Wiles went 19-of-33 for 177 yards. Taylorsville’s Latreal Jones caught seven passes for 46 yards.

Frank Gore Jr. managed just 16 yards rushing on 13 carries, with 12 yards coming on one pop.

The Golden Eagles will open Sun Belt Conference play Saturday when they visit Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Ark.

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