Golden Eagles quarterback Jeremy Young completed 12-of-17 passing, although he finished the game with just 74 passing yards for Southern Miss, now 6-4 overall and 4-2 in C-USA action.
The Green Wave, now 3-7 overall and 1-5 in C-USA action, was led by junior running back Ray Boudreaux, who gained 51 yards on 14 carries. But Tulane managed only 85 yards of total offense, as Green Wave quarterbacks Lester Ricard and Scott Elliott combined were 4-of-16 passing for 42 yards. Ricard was 1-for-8 in the game, and was sacked twice.
Ricard started the game 0-4 with an interception and was relieved by Elliott at the beginning of the first quarter.
After the Green Wave stalled on the game's opening possession, Damion Fletcher put the Golden Eagles on the scoreboard with a two-yard touchdown run with 8:12 remaining in the first quarter.
Tulane was unable to mount an offensive threat after the ensuing kickoff and Chris Beckman punted for the Wave. The Golden Eagles appeared to completely dominate the Green Wave butultimately chose to eschew a field goal attempt and gave the ball to Fletcher on a fourth-and-goal from the Green Wave 3-yard line. Fletcher was stopped by the Green Wave's David Skehan, and Tulane took over on downs at their own 3-yard line.
However a scatter-armed Ricard then threw two incompletions for the Wave, beforew his third down pass was was intercepted downfield by the Eagles Caleb Hendrx, giving USM the ball at the Tulane 33.
The Green Wave defense stiffened again, and Young's third-down pass to tight end Shawn Nelson was short of a first down at the Green Wave 2 yard-line, and the Eagles settled for a field goal. Darren McCaleb knocked the ball through from 24-yards out to make the Eagle lead 10-0 with 12:03 remaining before halftime.
After Elliott relieved Ricard, the Green Wave used up 10:26 of the second quarter on a 19-play, 58-yard drive, that ended with a 40-yard Ross Thevenot field goal to cut the USM lead to 10-3.
The Eagles mounted a drive in the final minutes of the half that ended when McCaleb's 44-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Tulane's Julian Shives-Sam's as the first half ended.
The two teams continued to battle through a scoreless third quarter, with the Eagles offense moving the ball against a tiring Greenie defense, but unable to put points on the board. And with 13:30 to go in the game, McCaleb missed on a field goal attempt from 51-yards out.
After the missed field goal Tulane took over at their own 34, and appeared to have gotten a first down at mid-field on a 7 yard run by Adeboye Tuyo. But Ade was ruled to have lost possession of the ball and LeVance Richmond broke the ball game open for the Golden Eagles with a 50-yard fumble recovery return by LeVance Richmond for a touchdown with 12:02 remaining to make the score 17-3 in favor of the Golden Eagles.
Tulane coach Chris Scelfo challenged the ruling but the inconclusive evidence to overturn the call made on the field was not present, although Tuyo appeared to be down before losing the handle on the ball.
It was Good Night, Irene for the Green Wave as the USM defense stuffed the Wave offense on a three-and-out on the possession after the Eagle kickoff and the Eagle offense finally got untracked with a 7-play, 46-yard drive capped by a four-yard run by Fletcher with 7:22 to play that made the score 24-3.
The ensuing possession by the Tulane offense was one of the strangest in the history of Green Wave football. Ricard returned at quarterback and managed a 12-yard completion to Jeremy Williams for a first down at the Green Wave at their 32-yard line. But on successive attempts to snap the ball, Tulane was penalized for false starts by offensive linemen, setting them back to their 22-yard line.
Prior to the next attempt to snap the ball, Ricard appeared to leave the huddle for the sidelines but returned to the huddle and the team then broke and went ot the line of scrimmage. However, the play clock expired and Tulane was penalized for delay of game, creating a first-and-25 situation from the Green Wave 17-yard line. A draw by Boudreaux gained 3 yards and Ricard's second down pass was incomplete with no receiver in the area.
Tulane's Scelfo then called time out from the sidlines and, visibly upset, called his team off the field. Tulane's punting team then took the field and the Green Wave punted on third down.
After the punt, USM pounded the Green Wave defense for another touchdown, with with reserve quarterback Stephan Reaves at the helm. The Eagles final possession was capped by a 10-yard touchdown run by Tory Harrison with :46 seconds remaining in the game to make the final score 31-3.
Tulane returns to C-USA action on Saturday Nov. 18, against Central Florida in the Louisiana Superdome. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.