CINCINNATI (AP) — Michael Pratt found Shae Wyatt with a 30-yard touchdown pass with 5 minutes left to lead No. 19 Tulane to a 27-24 win over No. 24 Cincinnati on Friday, making the Green Wave the hosts for the upcoming American Conference Championship game.
Tyjae Spears rushed for two touchdowns and had 181 yards to contribute to the cause for Tulane (10-2, 7-1 AAC), which beat Cincinnati (9-3, 6-2) for the first time in five tries. Tulane also snapped the Bearcats’ 32-game home streak.
Pratt went 13-for-22 passing for 162 yards and the winning touchdown. He also rushed for 30 yards on nine carries.
Redshirt sophomore Evan Prater started at quarterback for Cincinnati in place of Ben Bryant, who suffered a foot injury in the win over Temple. Overall, Prater was 10-for-26 for 102 yards and rushed for 83 yards on 18 carries.
But he was intercepted by Dorian Williams on a tipped pass to Devean Deal midway through the third quarter. Bryon Threats was flagged for pass interference on a fourth-and-3 pass attempt to set up Spears’ go-ahead two-yard run.
Tulane had a 13-10 lead at halftime as Valentino Ambrosio kicked a 47-yard field goal with 21 seconds left. The kick followed a 28-yard pass from Pratt to Lawrence Keys III, which was ruled a touchdown on the field as Keys appeared to roll over Arquon Bush for a 58-yard score but overturned when replays showed Keys’ knee touched the turf.
Tulane: Has something special in Spears, who passed the 1,000-yard mark for the season with 103 yards in the first half. He leads the AAC in touchdowns with 16.
Cincinnati: Missed its bid to win three consecutive AAC regular-season championships in its final three years of membership. There’s still a possibility the Bearcats will make it into the AAC title game, though it depends on how UCF does on Saturday night. The Bearcats move to the Big 12 Conference next season.
The Green Wave will likely move up with the win.
Tulane: Hosts the AAC Championship game on Dec. 3.
Cincinnati: Awaits their fate, which depends on the outcome of the UCF-South Florida game on Saturday. If UCF wins, it will be tied with Cincinnati in the conference standings — and holds the tiebreaker because UCF beat the Bearcats on Oct. 29.