While Mississippi State defeated No. 24 Tulsa, 28–26, on Thursday afternoon, the final seconds of the Armed Forces Bowl saw a violent brawl take place between the two 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 both teams congregated on two distinct sides when a Mississippi State player punched a Tulsa player.
That punch led to a spiral of players from both sides scrapping with each other, and Bulldogs wide receiver Malik Heath kicked Tulsa senior safety Tieneal Martin.
Tyler Horka of The Clarion Ledger reported that Heath posted an Instagram video praising himself for the act and joked about it with his teammates in the locker room.
Then, according to a tweet posted by Heath, he felt like he was defending himself during the brawl.
As the brawl continued down the field, players continued to punch and hit each other.
Tulsa sophomore safety Kendarin Ray was helped off the field after being injured during the postgame brawl. It is not certain what started the brawl.
Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach said in a postgame interview on ESPN that he was not exactly sure what caused the brawl.
"There was something before the game, too," Leach said.
When asked what Leach would say to his players following the brawl, Leach said, "don't do it anymore".
"It is dumb and the root of it's dumb no matter what the root of it is," Leach said. "The root of it is dumb and the continuation of it is dumb. Now where the dumb started, I'm not entirely sure. It was some of that going back and forth in the game. This is a football game, we are not going to tear cloth and I am not going to lose my mind over it."
Tulsa and its conference, the AAC, later said they would review the incident.
"We take this incident very seriously and will respond appropriately after the review is complete," Tulsa said in a statement.
AAC commissioner Mike Aresco added: "We will work with the University of Tulsa to conduct a thorough review of the altercation pursuant to our Conference Code of Sportsmanship process and expect that the university will respond accordingly."
The incident marks the biggest postgame bowl fight since the infamous Miami Beach Bowl brawl that took place 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.