Armed Forces Bowl between Mississippi State, Tulsa devolves into all-out brawl
Mississippi State and Tulsa squared off in a New Year’s Eve edition of the Armed Forces Bowl, though the two schools are making headlines for something other than their play.
A full-on brawl broke about between the two teams Thursday, with players and coaches getting involved in the fracas.
The brawl spilled onto the sidelines, where a Mississippi State player even kicked out at a Tulsa athlete.
Kicked a guy and then ran away pic.twitter.com/DZqY3zVy2x
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) December 31, 2020
The full view can be seen below. It appears coaches had little success holding players back, with many sprinting down the sidelines to get involved.
Mississippi State and Tulsa got into a massive brawl after the Armed Forces Bowl
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 31, 2020
This is an ugly occasion for college football.
The game was already in hand when the brawl occurred, with Mississippi State holding a 28-26 lead and on the cusp of victory. But the fight made for a rather gross feeling of finality.
Perhaps this was in the cards all along. Emotions had run very high before the game even started, as the two teams came together for an altercation between Mississippi State and Tulsa well before kickoff.
The incident prompted all kinds of reactions, including this from former NFL receiver Brandon Stokley:
“The NCAA/teams need to make the penalties so severe for fighting especially after games that we don’t see the nonsense @HailStateFB and @TulsaFootball just had,” Stokley tweeted. “How embarrassing for both programs!! Head coaches should be suspended plus fined also. JOKE”
Indeed, the NCAA will be looking into the incident, and likely asking whether the pregame skirmish is partly to blame for tempers flaring at the end.
Regardless, it is a fairly nasty scene.
Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach responded to the incident with a rather odd response.
Mike Leach downplayed the brawl after the game: "Somebody went to a football game and somebody got hit. I'm not going to lose my mind over it." Poor leadership from a guy who gets paid a lot of money to be a leader of young men.
— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) December 31, 2020