Mon, 06 Feb 2023

No. 19 Tulane tops No. 24 Cincinnati, will host AAC title game

Field Level Media
26 Nov 2022, 12:40 GMT+10

Tyjae Spears rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns and No. 19 Tulane defeated host and No. 24 Cincinnati 27-24 to win the American Athletic Conference regular-season title Friday afternoon.

Spears had his sixth consecutive 100-yard rushing game and eclipsed 1,000 yards for the season as the Green Wave (10-2, 7-1 AAC) earned the host spot in the conference championship game Dec. 3.

Michael Pratt added a 30-yard touchdown pass to Duece Watts that provided the winning points with 5:10 left.

Whether Cincinnati will oppose Tulane in the title game depends on the outcome of Saturday's game between UCF and South Florida. A win by UCF would match the Bearcats at 6-2 in a tie for second, but UCF defeated Cincinnati 25-21 on Oct. 29 and holds the tiebreaker.

Evan Prater made his first start at quarterback for Cincinnati (9-3, 6-2) in place of injured Ben Bryant. Prater completed 10 of 26 for 102 yards and an interception as the two-time defending conference champion Bearcats saw their 32-game home winning streak end.

Tulane notched the first turnover of the game in the third quarter when Dorian Williams snared a tipped pass from Prater at the Cincinnati 40.

The Green Wave converted a fourth and 3 from the 6 when the Bearcats were called for pass interference. On the next play, Spears ran 2 yards for a touchdown and a 20-10 lead.

On the ensuing possession, Cincinnati converted a fourth and 1 on its way to Ryan Montgomery's 8-yard touchdown run that trimmed the lead to 20-17 at the end of the third.

The Bearcats converted two fourth downs on their way to Montgomery's 15-yard touchdown run that briefly gave them their first lead at 24-20 with 6:27 left.

The Green Wave needed just three plays to set up Pratt's game-winner to Watts.

Valentino Ambrosio kicked a 34-yard field goal for a 3-0 Tulane lead that held up through the end of the first quarter.

On the first play of the second quarter, Ryan Coe kicked a 28-yard field goal that tied the score.

Spears ran 11 yards for the game's first touchdown, giving the Green Wave a 10-3 lead.

On the ensuing possession, the Bearcats' Charles McClelland ran 35 yards for a tying touchdown.

Ambrosio kicked a career-long 47-yard field goal with 16 seconds left to give Tulane a 13-10 halftime lead.

--Field Level Media

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