During Belk Bowl warmups, ESPN’s cameras caught Lynn Bowden throwing a punch at a Virginia Tech player during a scuffle, the latest in a series of heated exchanges between the two teams this week. Because the incident happened over an hour prior to the game, it was not reviewable by refs, so Bowden was clear to play, but after Kentucky’s 37-30 win over the Hokies, he took the opportunity to apologize for his role in the postgame press conference.
“It’s a lot of emotions, you know,” Bowden said. “I could have hurt my team and not been out there tonight with them. I just apologized to my program, my teammates. I did it before the game, I apologized to them guys. We respect Virginia Tech and if I could go back, I wouldn’t do it. But, it’s in the past. [Points to sky] Champion.”
Mark Stoops also addressed the incident in his postgame remarks, telling reporters that the pregame tensions carried over to the field in the form of two big unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on Kentucky’s opening drive.
“There was very little discussion with the officials, you know, other than let’s get ahold of this from the start and make sure we cannot carry that over to game time. We talked to our players and they did a good job. We were amped up a little bit early and shot ourselves in the foot with some penalties and we can’t do that. We were lucky to overcome that. They gave us a break with a penalty as well that extended a drive that led to our first score if I’m not mistaken, and we did the same thing.
“You know, let’s just leave it at when you’re down here for a week and there’s are some things, there is some crossover and things happen. These guys are competitive but we do respect Coach Fuente and their program. We wanted to, you know, do the talking on the field today and we were fortunate to come out on top, but that doesn’t surprise me with our guys’ competitive nature. So, I don’t want to get too far into it. Things happen throughout the wee and that happens. There’s not a bowl game, you know, that I’ve been to that that doesn’t happen every now and then.”
While Lynn and Stoops took the high road, Vince Marrow and Calvin Taylor were more than happy to weigh in on the trash talk.
"They did a lot of talking before the game, but I can tell you they were quiet walking up that tunnel."
Vince was fired up after the win. pic.twitter.com/aHL45KvZXK
— Charlie Walter (@CharlieWalterTV) December 31, 2019
“This is the SEC. Just remember that.”
— Nick Roush (@RoushKSR) December 31, 2019
“Teams gotta learn we’re not the ones to play with,” Taylor said. “We were ready to get to the game, ready to play but all the disrespect, we take it out on the field. Talk, it’s whatever it was. When we get on the field, that’s where the men are at. Men don’t do too much talking.”
Come see about it.