Tulane RB Tyjae Spears carries against Tulsa. Nov 5, 2022; Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA; Tulsa Golden Hurricane running back Tyjae Spears (22) runs the ball during the first quarter against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most remarkable stories of this Division I FBS college football season is the American Athletic Conference’s Tulane Green Wave. The Green Wave went 2-10 last season, their sixth season under head coach Willie Fritz and by far their worst by record under him. But Tulane stuck with Fritz, and he and his team have pulled off a historical turnaround this season, improving to 8-1 with a 27-13 road win over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane Saturday:

Saturday’s contest saw Tulane’s ground game shine. Running back Tyjae Spears (seen at top) picked up 157 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, an average of 11.2 yards per carry. Fellow RB Shaadie Clayton-Johnson added another 106 yards on 14 carries (7.6 yards per carry). All in all, the Green Wave finished with 357 rushing yards against Tulsa versus just 125 passing yards.

This season has seen a lot of history for Tulane. Oct. 16 saw the Green Wave ranked in the AP Top 25 (and also the coaches’ poll) for the first time in 24 years, entering the AP poll at No. 25 following a win over USF that bumped them up to 6-1. They entered Saturday’s game at 7-1, and were ranked No. 19 in both the College Football Playoff rankings and the AP poll. And their eighth win of the season here marks the first time they’ve won eight games in a season since 2002, when they finished 8-5 under Chris Scelfo (and that was with a 4-4 Conference USA mark and a Hawaii Bowl win).

The Green Wave can still improve on this further. They’ll close out the regular season with home games against UCF (currently No. 25 in both the AP and CFP rankings) and SMU, then a road game against Cincinnati. And it’s possible for them to get close to their undefeated 12-0 season in 1998. That season, the last time they were ranked, saw them coached by Tommy Bowden (who left for Clemson before the bowl game and was replaced by Scelfo), with Rich Rodriguez as offensive coordinator. Now, Fritz has the chance to get close to some of the best seasons in Tulane history. We’ll see how he and the Green Wave do from here, but at least fans won’t have to worry about Aaron Judge interruptions going forward.

[ESPN; photo from Brett Rojo/USA Today Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.