Miss St tops Tulsa in brawl-marred Armed Forces Bowl

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A wild, post-game brawl erupted after Mississippi State held off No. 22 Tulsa 28-26 on Thursday in the Armed Forces Bowl, overshadowing true freshman Will Rogers’ big game for the Bulldogs.

Minutes after the game ended following an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Mississippi State on a late onside kick as Tulsa tried to make a comeback, the teams became involved in a large melee on the field. Tulsa coach Greg Montgomery said sophomore safety Kendarin Ray, who was helped off the field after being at the bottom of a dogpile during a second scrum, was treated for “some sort of concussion.”

Rogers scored his first rushing touchdown and had a 13-yard scoring pass for the Bulldogs (4-7). They finished the season with a second straight win in a game played at TCU in steady rain and temperatures in the upper 30s.

Jo’quavious Marks scored a rushing touchdown on the game’s first possession and Emmanuel Forbes returned an interception 90 yards for a touchdown. Forbes’ third-quarter touchdown was initially called back on an illegal blocking penalty, but officials reversed the ruling to a penalty on Tulsa.

Deneric Prince and Corey Taylor II scored rushing touchdowns, Zach Smith had a 15-yard TD pass to Keylon Stokes and Zack Long kicked field goals of 27 and 33 yards for Tulsa (6-3, No. 24 CFP).

Tulsa pulled to 21-19 with 12:30 left on Taylor’s 5-yard run, but Smith’s two-point conversion pass intended for Stokes was broken up in the end zone. Mississippi State answered with Rogers’ 13-yard throw to Lideatrick “Tulu” Griffin to go ahead 28-19.

Smith’s 15-yard scoring pass to Stokes came with 1:23 to play. Long then attempted an onside kick, which was recovered by the Bulldogs at the Mississippi State 47, and Erroll Thompson was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.

ARIZONA BOWL

BALL STATE 34, NO. 19 SAN JOSE STATE 13

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Antonio Phillips returned an early interception 53 yards for a touchdown, Drew Plitt accounted for two scores and Ball State beat short-handed San Jose State in the Arizona Bowl.

San Jose State (7-1, No. 22 CFP) had to play without its two coordinators and Mountain West Conference player of the year Cade Hall due to COVID-19 and other issues.

The Cardinals (7-1) took advantage, quick-hitting their way down the field on offense after Phillips’ interception for a 27-0 lead in the first quarter. The Mid-American champions bogged down in the second half but had four interceptions to win their first bowl game in 10 tries.

Already short-handed, the Spartans lost tight end Derrick Deese, Jr., the team leader with five touchdown receptions, to a neck injury on the first play from scrimmage.

Quarterback Nick Starkel injured his left knee in the second quarter but later returned wearing a brace. He threw for 268 yards and a touchdown with three interceptions for the Mountain West Conference champions.

Plitt’s 48-yard TD pass to Yo’Heinz Tyler made it 33-0 before San Jose State finally scored on Charlie Bostic’s 99-yard kickoff return.

LIBERTY BOWL

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Reserve quarterback Austin Kendall threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Simmons with 5:10 left and West Virginia held off Army in the Liberty Bowl.

Army (9-3) had a chance to tie it with 1:50 left, but Quinn Maretzki’s 39-yard field goal was wide left. Josh Chandler ended Army’s final possession with an interception, and led the Mountaineers (6-4) with 13 tackles.

Simmons also scored on a 5-yard pass from starting quarterback Jarret Doege.

Army quarterback Tyhier Tyler had three rushing touchdowns – from 1, 6, and 2 yards – to tie a Liberty Bowl record.

The Black Knights initially were scheduled to play in the Independence Bowl but seemed left out of the bowl lineup after the Shreveport, Louisiana, bowl was canceled. They got the opportunity to play in the Liberty Bowl after Tennessee (3-7) opted out because of COVID-19 cases.

The game was played in overcast conditions with occasional showers and sub-40-degree temperatures.

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