Justin McMillan threw three touchdown passes in the third quarter and Tulane scored the final 30 points in a 30-13 victory over Southern Mississippi in the Armed Forces Bowl on Saturday afternoon in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Green Wave fell behind 13-0 in the first quarter and scored just six first-half points before McMillan led a 24-0 third-quarter blitz.
Tulane (7-6) won a bowl game for a second consecutive season for the first time in school history. It defeated Louisiana 41-24 in the Cure Bowl last season.
The Green Wave, who lost five of their last six games in the regular season, finished with a winning record in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1997-98. All their losses this season came against bowl teams.
McMillan, a senior who arrived before last season as a graduate transfer from LSU after Joe Burrow joined the Tigers, completed 13 of 18 for 215 yards.
The Golden Eagles (7-6) got off to a fast start behind junior quarterback Jack Abraham, but he didn’t play in the second half because of a shoulder injury.
Tulane struck on the first possession of the third quarter when McMillan threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to Jalen McCleskey to tie the score.
Merek Glover kicked a 36-yard field goal to give Tulane its first lead before Larry Brooks intercepted backup Southern Miss backup quarterback Tate Whatley. That set up McMillan’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Robertson to give the Green Wave a 23-13 lead.
McMillan added a 20-yard touchdown pass to Amare Jones to increase Tulane’s lead to 30-13 at the end of the third quarter.
Abraham threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Quez Watkins and ran 3 yards for another touchdown as the Golden Eagles took a 13-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
The Green Wave defense settled down and the offense drove to two 31-yard field goals by Glover that pulled Tulane within 13-6 at halftime.
Abraham completed 17 of 23 passes for 167 yards before Whatley replaced him and completed 9 of 22 throws for 134 yards with two interceptions. Watkins caught eight passes for 121 yards.
—Field Level Media