College football said goodbye to an ugly year in appropriate fashion on Thursday, showing off the worst of its sport and drawing sharp criticism from its most recognized cheerleaders.
Minutes after Mississippi State finished a 28-26 victory over Tulsa, the teams punched, kicked and piled on each other in an extended fight lasting several minutes.
“For the coaches … Mike Leach (of Mississippi State) should be embarrassed,” ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit said on Friday’s “College GameDay” show. “His postgame interview and what he said, ‘Hey, it’s football, it’s physical, it’s going to happen …’ are you kidding me Mike? You should be embarrassed about your program and what it did.”
Tulsa coach Greg Montgomery said sophomore safety Kendarin Ray was treated for ‘‘some sort of concussion’’ after the brawl.
Herbstreit cited the need to control the situation.
Leach said a group of Tulsa players circled his group before the game and “were talking,” but he wouldn’t speculate further.
“If the officials and the coaches will not police the game as it escalates in the first quarter and then into the second quarter … eventually the players will police it themselves,” Herbstreit said.
Most of the “GameDay” ire was directed at Leach.
Host Rece Davis said of Leach: “Who are you gonna be? What’s your program gonna be about? … Mississippi State has some questions to answer about their program after this.”
Herbstreit added: “Mike Leach should be embarrassed. This is a black eye for the sport. Maybe you don’t care about the sport.”
Leach didn’t appear overly concerned.
“Somebody went to a football game and somebody got hit,” he said. “There’s a point where I’m not going to lose my mind over it.”
He did later tell reporters that the brawl was “dumb,” but “where the dumb started, I’m not entirely sure.”