The Armed Forces Bowl between Mississippi State and No. 24 Tulsa was largely uneventful leading up to the Bulldogs’ 28-26 victory. After the final whistle, though, things took an ugly turn when a fight broke out between the two teams.
Tensions had been high throughout the afternoon. Both teams were jawing at each other before kickoff and there were some chippy moments during the game. It’s difficult to say what instigated the situation after the game, but punches began flying and that’s when things got out of hands.
Here’s how the fight unfolded — which ESPN cut back to in realtime after initially going back to studio coverage. The fight went on for several minutes as coaches and even some law enforcement officers on the field tried to break it up.
One of the ugliest moments caught on camera came when Mississippi State wide receiver Malik Heath kicked a Tulsa player who was down on the ground.
Unfortunately, this did not appear to be a victimless situation. Golden Hurricane defensive back Kendarin Ray had to be helped off the field after apparently suffering an injury during the brawl. Tulsa coach Phillip Montgomery noted after the game that he believes Ray suffered a concussion.
When asked about the fight by ESPN in his post-game interview, Mississippi State coach Mike Leach said his message to the team would be “Don’t do it anymore. It’s just dumb,” but then added, “there was some of that stuff going back and forth during the course of the game.”
“This is a football game so we’re not going to be tearing cloth over this deal; somebody went to a football game and somebody got hit,” Leach said.
Montgomery did not want to comment on brawl post-game.
Neither program has officially commented on the post-game brawl, but seeing as it was a terrible moment for everyone involved, one has to figure statements, and perhaps some disciplinary measures, will be coming once the dust settles.