While Mississippi State defeated No. 24 Tulsa, 28–26, on Thursday afternoon, the final seconds of the Armed Forces Bowl noticed a violent brawl take place between the 2 teams.
The teams met on the field following an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Mississippi State, which came during a late onside kick from Tulsa. Players from each team congregated on two distinct sides when a Mississippi State participant punched a Tulsa player.
That punch led to a spiral of players from both sides scrapping with each other, and Bulldogs extensive receiver Malik Heath kicked Tulsa senior security, Tieneal Martin.
Tyler Horka of The Clarion-Ledger reported that Heath posted an Instagram video praising himself for the act and joked about it together with his teammates in the locker room.
Then, in line with a tweet posted by Heath, he felt like he was defending himself through the brawl.
Because the brawl continued down the field, gamers continued to punch and hit one another.
Tulsa sophomore safety Kendarin Ray was helped off the sphere after being injured during the postgame brawl. It’s not sure what began the brawl.
Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach said in a postgame interview on ESPN that he was not exactly sure about what brought about the brawl.
— Ugly〽️an🤦🏾♂️ (@MalikHeath2) December 31, 2020
BOWL GAME FIGHT pic.twitter.com/xm6OHg96cm
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) December 31, 2020
“There was something before the sport, too,” Leach said.
When asked what Leach would say to his players following the brawl, Leach stated, “do not do it anymore”.
Tulsa’s Kendarin Ray being helped off after being injured in the postgame brawl. pic.twitter.com/Ft90Ld3avu
— John E. Hoover (@johnehoover) December 31, 2020
“It’s dumb and the root of it is dumb no matter what the root of it’s,” Leach said. “The root of it’s dumb and the continuation of it’s dumb. Now where the dumb began, I am not entirely positive. It was a few of that going back and forth within the game. This is a soccer recreation, we’re not going to tear fabric and I’m not going to lose my thoughts over it.”
It’s the largest postgame bowl fight since the infamous Miami Beach Bowl brawl that passed off in 2014 when Memphis and BYU played against each other.
With the victory, Mississippi State (4-7) earned its fourth win of the 2020 season and its 14th bowl win in school history.
Leach hopes to build off the bowl win for the upcoming season.
“We had a lot of space to grow and enhance,” Leach stated. “We’re long methods off however you simply got to be consistent and modify.”