Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger discuss Tulane’s miraculous comeback win over USC in the Cotton Bowl on Monday, and talk about what this win means for Tulane and what the loss means for USC.
ROSS DELLENGER: Tulane's quarterback Michael Pratt completed eight passes-- eight passes in the game. I think a lot of people emerged with, how the heck did we lose to that team?
DAN WETZEL: Let's talk about what did happen.
PAT FORDE: There you go.
DAN WETZEL: Tulane, roll wave-- unbelievable Cotton Bowl, absolutely unbelievable Cotton Bowl. They are trailing 45-30 with 4:07 remaining to USC, and it looked like-- they really played hard, and it was kind of disappointing. You don't want to see these teams get their big chance, and finally-- and fall apart. But touchdown, dropped kickoff, 1 yard line-- USC runs the ball twice, I think, right? And get stuffed for the safety, just like the one thing you couldn't have happen-- they take the ball out of Caleb Williams' hands.
Then, in 23 seconds, Tulane rolls down the field, takes the victory on the last second-- or almost the last second pass. One of the most amazing comebacks you'll ever see, one of the most exciting games you'll ever see, one of the worst defeats you'll ever see, and one of the great victories you ever see-- so the Green Wave, which once left the SEC voluntarily because they didn't want to be a part of all that, is back winning major bowl games. Ross, here our Tulane expert. They won two games last year, won 12 this year.
ROSS DELLENGER: Yeah, the whole thing's a remarkable story. This was their first major bowl victory since 1934, so it's crazy-- almost 100 years, 89 years, 88 years or so from the last time that they did something like this. And of course, at the time, they were part of the SEC then. I think that was the Sugar Bowl that they were playing in.
It's been an incredible season by them. To me, it's got a TCU kind of feel to it. It's a small private school that, historically, when you go back decades, it hasn't had a ton of success, that's put together just this incredibly magical season, and somehow finds ways to win. I think a lot of teams emerge from their game against TCU, like we said, over the weekend, like how did we lose to that team-- saying, how do we lose to that team?
I think a lot of people emerge from a game against Tulane kind of saying the same. Now, their running back, Tyjae Spears, is incredible. He had over 200 yards and four touchdowns against USC. But Tulane's quarterback Michael Pratt completed eight passes-- eight passes in the game, now over-- for over 200 yards. He hit a couple of long bombs.
But I think a lot of people emerged with, how the heck did we lose to that team? They seem to find ways to win. I think Lincoln Riley said after the game that it was-- I can't remember exactly his quote, but it was something like it was the worst loss he's ever took or the worst feeling after a loss or something that he's ever had. I think a lot of people feel that way.
DAN WETZEL: As if the people in Oklahoma couldn't hate him more-- right? You lost the double overtime game to Georgia, you blew this--
PAT FORDE: Yeah.
DAN WETZEL: I mean, come on.
ROSS DELLENGER: There was a stat. I think it was from ESPN stats and info. I wish I could remember exactly what it was, but it was an absurd stat that Lincoln Riley coached teams with double digit leads-- how often that they lose those games. Maybe later in the pod, I can track it down, but it was incredible stat.
PAT FORDE: Yeah. I saw it in person twice against Utah. They did it twice this year. Yeah, this was just astonishing. I mean, it was unbelievable in every way. First of all, the very concept of Tulane going to the Cotton Bowl, going 12 and 2, beating USC-- what? And then the fact specifically this coming off of last year, when I had really thought, oh my gosh, the bloom is off the Willie Fritz rose. That thing's falling apart. Maybe not.
But then the specifics of this game, to be behind by 15 points with less than five minutes to play and to come back to win-- and the last drive was just-- it was so riveting. It was unbelievable, unbelievably riveting drama to score that way, and to win that game, and to have that season. That's what college football is-- is just incredible.
ROSS DELLENGER: That stat, by the way-- real quick, Dan, that stat-- Lincoln Riley has now lost six games when holding a lead of at least 14 points since becoming a head coach in 2017-- so average over one a year, basically, of his head coaching career that he had at least a 14-point-- so not even double figures, but two-touchdown lead, and lost the game six times. It's the most in the FBS over that span.
DAN WETZEL: Once the script ends, the offense stalls, man. I'm telling you.
PAT FORDE: Yeah.
ROSS DELLENGER: Yeah.