/A New Year’s Eve bowl game that matched 2020 State 28, Tulsa 26, decorum 0

A New Year’s Eve bowl game that matched 2020 State 28, Tulsa 26, decorum 0

This is the New Year’s Eve end of the Armed Forces Bowl. Mississippi State was 3-7 on the season and played Tulsa in Fort Worth, in conditions only ducks would love — miserable freezing and wet. What a wonderful reward for a great season! That will be for the cynics living among us. You know that they do. State won 28-26 after a tough-fought and well-played match that was not very visually pleasing, but turned into a brutally ugly finale. This is when the brawl began with punching and kicking, sucker-punching as well as wrestling and stomping. This brawl went beyond the “boys will always be boys” stereotype. It was the type of brawl that happens more often in bars near closing. If police had been present on the field, they could have made multiple arrests. When interviewed by ESPN postgame, Mike Leach, the state coach, added some humor to the situation. What advice would Leach give his players regarding the postgame brawl Leach deadpanned, “Don’t do that anymore.” Leach added, “I mean, yeah. Well, it’s stupid you know.” Tulsa had not experienced such problems in his team’s previous 10 games, so he inferred that Tulsa was the culprit. However, he also said that he hadn’t seen enough of the film to be able to judge the sequences. Leach stated that the root of it is stupid, no matter what it was. It was dumb. It would be solidly in the dumb category. It is not clear where the dumb began.” It was beyond dumb on both sides. Now, I’m 440 miles from it and trying to write about what happened. This is not a problem. Neil Price, a former Bulldog quarterback and radio personality from Mississippi State, broadcast their broadcasts remotely from Starkville while they viewed the same ESPN broadcast as me. (COVID-19 changed almost everything about sport this year. Wyatt later said that Saturday was “interesting, to say the minimum.” It was difficult for Neil, as he had to describe the action and can’t see everything. “The brawl?” Wyatt stated that they were wrapping up their post-game wrap-ups while the TV was on a commercial break. “We were in the middle doing that, then they come back on, and there’s fighting all over the field.” Wyatt said, “Now, this is what I will do,” Wyatt added. It started in the pregame, with lots of chirping, jawing and other such things. And it continued throughout the game. Early in the game, I said that there was just too much noise and that they should control it. We witnessed what happens when stuff like this goes on and on.” It was very chippy all the way through, with players continuing to play until the whistle. There were 18 penalties. These penalties were worth 162 yards. This was more than any team could rush. Statistically, Tulsa is the winner with 484 yards and 27 second downs to State’s 271 yards. Tulsa has 16 first downs and 16 first downs. One thing hasn’t changed about 2020 COVID-19: Turnovers are often the difference. Tulsa turned the ball over twice, State did not. The State bowl win on the last day in 2020 provided me with something new: a punt where the State punter injured himself hitting the ground first instead of the ball. We would say that he either chili-dipped the ball or hit it fat in golf. It went for zero yards, precisely. I felt his pain. That was the kind of day. It’s been this kind of year. 2020 could be called a punt. This might have been 2020 if it were a game. Pregame was dominated by State’s 3-7 record in bowl games, and Ole Miss’s 4-5 record in bowl games. Here’s the deal: They both played in all Southeastern Conference games. There were no gimmes. Vanderbilt was there, but that’s not the point. State would probably have been 6-6 in a normal season, which consisted of eight league games and four simpler ones. This would have allowed them to reach a bowl. Ole Miss would probably have finished 7-5 and been in a bowl. Both teams have had a few more days of practice. State won a victory against a Tulsa team ranked No. 24 teams were ranked in the country before. Ole Miss will now face sixth-ranked, 6-1 Indiana at the Outback Bowl in Tampa this Saturday. It should be much, much better. We hope that the same will be true for the postgame décorum.