On Thursday afternoon, No. 24 Tulsa and unranked Mississippi State met in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.
With some incredible plays and an exciting 28-26 finish in favor of the Bulldogs, the matchup had the potential to be everything you could ask for in a bowl game. But, the sterling image of this game was quickly marred with an ugly brawl after the final whistle blew.
Some mild postgame jawing turned dangerous at the drop of a hat. Players from both teams started throwing punches and it only escalated from there. One Mississippi State player even kicked a downed Tulsa player in the head before running away.
It took nearly a whole minute to break up the fight.
Obviously this isn’t a good look for either program, but Mississippi State is taking the brunt of the criticism after some questionable comments made by Mike Leach after the game. The head coach essentially glossed over the issue with a lackluster statement.
Mississippi State Director of Athletics John Cohen released a statement denouncing the actions his college athletes.
“While I’m proud of the representation of our football student-athletes in our previous 10 SEC games and applaud the effort of our team during the Armed Forces Bowl, I’m deeply concerned about the actions of some student-athletes. No matter what led to the situation, fighting is inexcusable and does not represent Mississippi State University’s core values. Our administration and (head coach Mike) Leach are working diligently with the SEC office to review yesterday’s events and will address the situation in an appropriate manner.”
Statement from Director of Athletics John Cohen: pic.twitter.com/Mpoc7Z2Pfi
— Mississippi State Athletics (@HailState) January 1, 2021
The conference and team are still deliberating on potential punishments for the involved parties.
Stay tuned for updates on the situation as it develops.