Golden Eagles hope to win ‘Battle for the Bell’

Published 5:03 pm Friday, September 15, 2023

It’s going to be a Saturday where Southern Miss fans find out what their Golden Eagles are made of when Tulane visits M.M. Roberts Stadium.

The game is called “The Battle for the Bell” and Southern Miss holds a 23-9 all-time advantage in a series that began in 1979.

The Golden Eagles were one of two teams to beat Tulane last season, doing so by a 27-24 final score in New Orleans.

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Tulane and Southern Miss also played in the 2020 Armed Forces Bowl, a 30-13 victory for the Green Wave.

Before that meeting, it had been 10 years since the school last played in 2010. In ten meetings from 1999-2010, Southern Miss went 9-1 against the Green Wave.

The Tulane of 2023 is a much better football program than the Green Wave of 2010. The school has made an investment in improving and hired a very good football coach away from Georgia Southern in Willie Fritz. 

Fritz was a winner at Division II Central Missouri and won even bigger at FBS Sam Houston State before taking the Georgia Southern job.

The Tulane administration should be commended for being patient with Fritz as he’s built the program towards sustained consistency. His first two teams went 4-8 and 5-7 respectively.

The Wave then went 7-6, 7-6 and 6-6 with three straight bowl berths from 2018-2020.

Tulane took a step back to 2-10 in 2021, but they stayed the course and bounced back to go 12-2 in 2022 and memorably beat USC in the Cotton Bowl.

Southern Miss head coach Will Hall was the offensive coordinator at Tulane from 2019-2020 prior to being hired in Hattiesburg.

One should hope that the Southern Miss administration will be as patient with Hall as Tulane has been with Fritz in allowing the program to grow and improve over the coming years.

The health of Tulane quarterback Michael Pratt will be a big factor in this game. Pratt missed the loss last week to Ole Miss with a lower leg injury.

Fritz has been mum on if Pratt will play, but as a quarterback that’s known for taking off on runs, the only way Pratt will suit up is if he’s fully healed from the injury suffered in an opening win against South Alabama.

Kickoff is set for 3p.m. on ESPNU.