The year 2020 had to end somehow — why not with a big fight at the end of the Armed Forces Bowl between Mississippi State and Tulsa?
Tensions were high even before Thursday afternoon's game in Fort Worth, Texas, as a scuffle broke out pregame. Then a big hit on a late onside kick attempt added fuel to the fire. By the time the final whistle sounded, an all-out brawl had broken out along the sideline and Mississippi State's 28-26 win was quickly forgotten.
Here's one angle of the fighting that took place, with social media accounts suggesting it took several minutes to break it all up.
Ugly fight breaks out between Mississippi State and Tulsa at the end of the Armed Forces Bowl.pic.twitter.com/YFbefLMSuT— Sporting News (@sportingnews) December 31, 2020
Here's another view that follows the action a little further than the first video.
The Armed Forces Bowl ended in a pretty ugly brawl that took several minutes to break up. pic.twitter.com/HxbCdeaC7n— The Comeback (@thecomeback) December 31, 2020
By the time the cameras had focused in on the teams along the sideline, it wasn't clear what had brought them into close proximity. At the bottom of the shot, Mississippi State's Aaron Brule (No. 3) can be seen throwing a punch, which prompts Tulsa's Tieneal Martin (No. 7) to unload some shots back at him. From there, it's difficult to track the action as punches are being thrown and players are being shoved up and down the sideline.
A third angle displays another Mississippi State player joining the fray despite appearing to be inactive for the game.
There was also this:
Kicked a guy and then ran away pic.twitter.com/DZqY3zVy2x— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) December 31, 2020
It's not obvious what would create such bad blood between these schools on a grander scale as they don't have any sort of built-in rivalry. In fact, this was the first time they'd ever met in a football game, according to Tulsa Athletics.
Whatever the reason, the sparks seemed to start flying pregame. It's not uncommon for football teams to bunch up like this before a game, but apparently Thursday afternoon was going to be different.
Here are the two teams, pre-game.pic.twitter.com/OYX5EpnRSn— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) December 31, 2020
If one thing came out of the fighting, it's that it's unlikely Tulsa will be scheduling Mississippi State in football anytime soon, or vice versa. It's probably safer that way.