(Photo credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports)
No. 24 Tulane held serve in its battle for the American Athletic Conference crown, defeating host Florida Atlantic 24-8 in Boca Raton, Fla., on Saturday.
Michael Pratt threw for 252 yards and three touchdowns for the Green Wave (10-1, 7-0 AAC), who kept pace with UTSA (7-0) atop the conference. The leaders will meet at New Orleans on Friday.
Chris Brazzell II caught seven passes for 103 yards and one touchdown, Chris Carter had the other two scoring receptions and Makhi Hughes picked up 72 yards on 21 carries.
Pratt completed 21 of 28 passes and set the school record for yards passing at 9,248, surpassing Patrick Ramsey's 9,205.
The Green Wave's defense, which entered the game fourth in the nation in run defense at 82 yards per game, held the Owls to 32 yards rushing among 234 total yards. Tulane amassed 336 total yards.
Daniel Richardson completed 24 of 31 passes for 202 yards with one touchdown and one interception for Florida Atlantic (4-7, 3-4), which lost any hope of bowl-game eligibility. LaJohntay Wester, who entered leading the AAC in catches (93) and receiving yards (1,042), added 11 and 86, respectively.
Leading 14-0 at the break, Tulane held Florida Atlantic to a three-and-out to start the third quarter and then took up nearly six minutes in going 55 yards, capped by a Pratt's 8-yard touchdown pass to Carter.
After another Owls three-and-out, the Green Wave chewed up another 6:14, pushing their lead to 24-0 on Valentino Ambrosio's 20-yard field goal.
Florida Atlantic broke the shutout with its own six-plus-minute drive. Kahlil Brantley caught Richardson's 4-yard touchdown toss, and Devin Price caught the two-point conversion to make it 24-8 with 8:58 remaining.
Tulane scored touchdowns on back-to-possessions in the first half. Pratt hit Carter for a 9-yard touchdown to cap a five-play, 77-yard drive with 5:10 left in the first quarter.
After the Green Wave's Tyler Grubb sacked Richardson for a 2-yard loss on fourth-and-2 to regain possession, they went 58 yards on nine plays, this time cashing in on Pratt's 9-yard toss to Brazzell.
Florida Atlantic's best chance to stay in the game came on its next drive, which covered 73 yards on 19 plays. The Owls picked up six first downs, including one on a fourth-and-1 conversion from the Tulane 16. But they stalled on fourth-and-goal from the 2.
Tulane led in total yards at halftime 183-137.
--Field Level Media