Kentucky quarterback Lynn Bowden apologized for his actions before Tuesday's Belk Bowl when ESPN's cameras appeared to show him punching Virginia Tech defensive tackle DaShawn Crawford.
Dick Gabriel, the sideline reporter for the UK Radio Network, also reported a punch had been thrown toward Bowden.
"It's a lot of emotion," Bowden said, per The Lexington Herald-Leader. "I could have hurt my team and not been out there tonight with them, so I just apologized to my program, my teammates. I did it before the game, I apologized to them guys. We respect Virginia Tech, and if I could go back, I wouldn't do it."
No penalty or team discipline was assessed following the pregame incident.
The incident comes just days after Bowden refused to discuss his opponent on multiple occasions during a Belk Bowl media event on Monday.
"I ain't talking about them, I ain't talking about them," he said.
Those comments seemingly stem from another incident from last Friday, when a video posted on social media appeared to show a small group of Virginia Tech players yelling obscenities at Kentucky players including Bowden, at a visit to a NASCAR facility.
The incident at the track, however, was not indicative of how the Hokies have spoken publicly about Bowden leading up to Tuesday's game. Head coach Justin Fuente praised Bowden on Monday, noting specifically, Bowden's successful position change midway through the season.
"I don't think he's got the credit he deserves on a national level for making the switch," Fuente said. "He's doing it more than running it up the middle. He's running the show on offense. He strikes me as an intense competitor. I don't know the young man personally, but watching his film. He’s been fantastic."
Bowden took over as starting quarterback in Week 7 after Kentucky suffered multiple injuries at the position. He was named to SI's All-America First Team at All-Purpose earlier this month.
Following Tuesday's pregame incident, Bowden was escorted back onto the field for warmups by UK coach Mark Stoops and one police officer.
When the game finally kicked off, Bowden ran for a touchdown on the Wildcats' first series of the game. As The Athletic's Chris Vannini noted, as he crossed the goal line, Bowden pointed at a Virginia Tech player.
Bowden and Kentucky needed a late rally to knock off the Hokies, as the dual-threat QB threw a touchdown pass with 15 seconds to play to give the Wildcats a 31–30 lead. Bowden finished the game with 233 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries and added 73 yards and one touchdown and one interception through the air.