ARLINGTON, Texas - Despite quarterback Caleb Willimas tossing a Cotton Bowl record five touchdowns, No. 10 Southern California collapsed in the final seconds of Monday's Cotton Bowl Classic losing to No. 16 Tulane by a score of 46-45 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
After a hamstring injury suffered during the Pac-12 title game loss to Utah, Williams' status for Monday's game against American Athletic Conference champion Tulane was originally in doubt, but with a month to rehab the injury Williams was able to appear in Monday's game.
USC dominated possession time from the very first drive of the game — a 17-play, nine-minute march, capped off by a 9-yard touchdown pass to Michael Jackson III. The Trojans jumped out to a 14-0 lead by the second quarter, but Williams' lone gaff on the day helped the Green Wave knot it at 14. USC however would score twice in the last five minutes of the first half, heading into the locker room up 28-14.
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Junior wide receiver Brenden Rice shined for the Trojans, hauling in six catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns, equaling his touchdown total for the whole 2022 season.
The Green Wave refused to give in though, trading touchdowns with the Trojans throughout the second half. Down 15 with six minutes to play, Tulane scored 16 unanswered points including a safety with just three minutes remaining.
Tulane quarterback Michael Pratt finished the game with 234 yards and two touchdowns, including the game winner with just nine seconds left.
Junior running back Tyjae Spears dominated in the ground game for Tulane, running for 205 yards and a Cotton Bowl record-tying four rushing touchdowns. Tulane converted two fourth downs on their final drive of the game, and took the ultimate lead, their only of the game, with a 6-yard touchdown pass to tight end Alex Bauman that was originally called incomplete, but was later reversed on review.
USC finishes the 2022 season with a record of 11-3. Tulane caps the season off with a bowl game win and a 12-2 record.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.