Dec. 31 (UPI) -- No. 24 Tulsa and Mississippi State got into a massive brawl following the Bulldogs' 28-26 win over the Golden Hurricane in the Armed Forces Bowl on Thursday at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas.
It remains unclear what sparked the all-out fight, which featured kicking and punching from several players on both teams. During the postgame handshake, players started to shove each other near midfield before the scuffle spilled down the sideline.
"It's dumb. The root of it is dumb, no matter what the root of it is. The root of it is dumb and the continuation of it is dumb," Mississippi State head football coach Mike Leach said after the game. "I would have that solidly in the category of dumb. Now where the dumb started, I'm not entirely sure."
Tulsa head coach Phillip Montgomery also didn't provide a motive for the brawl.
"The one thing I'll say is our program, our guys, we're a team that is going to stand up for each other and we're going to battle," Montgomery said. "We talked about faith, family, football, and family is going to take care of family. We're a team that has battled all year long.
"We battled again today and from that standpoint our guys are going to continue to protect each other and go from there."
Leach said a group of Tulsa players hovered around the Bulldogs' pre-game warmups and "were talking," but he wouldn't speculate further about what could have caused the skirmish.
"I haven't seen enough film or anything like that to entirely let us off the hook on this thing by any stretch," Leach said.
The game was chippy after the pre-game incident between the two schools. Tulsa and Mississippi State combined for 18 penalties in the bowl game.
In a statement, Tulsa said it is "reviewing the conduct that followed today's bowl game."
Tulsa safety Kendarin Ray was seen being escorted off the field with an injury following the brawl.
"I think he has probably some version of a concussion and we'll leave it at that," Montgomery said.
Tulsa ended the 2020 season with a 6-3 record. Mississippi State went 4-7 this season.