Kentucky star Lynn Bowden punched a Virginia Tech defensive lineman amid a pregame kerfuffle approximately 90 minutes before the Belk Bowl began Tuesday. And then he threw for Kentucky’s winning score with 15 seconds to go in a 37-30 win.
Bowden, Kentucky’s offensive star, had issues with Virginia Tech when he came onto the field before the game. The two teams haven’t been thrilled with each other since a bowl event on Saturday and Bowden made that displeasure known with his actions before the game.
Those actions escalated into a scrum, where Bowden hit Virginia Tech DL DaShawn Crawford.
Kentucky QB/WR Lynn Bowden had issues with Virginia Tech pregame, and even punched a Tech player.— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) December 31, 2019
Here’s what ESPN captured: pic.twitter.com/YHPa4YXrAV
Bowden could have been preemptively ejected for throwing that punch had it happened in the 60 minutes before the game that’s supervised by officials. But since Bowden threw the punch outside of that 60-minute pregame window, he got away without facing official discipline from the bowl game.
If you watch that GIF above closely, you’ll notice the man in the white shirt is breaking up the scuffle with what appears to be a chicken tender in his mouth. What a hero.
The beef stems from a NASCAR ride-along event as part of the bowl festivities on Saturday. Virginia Tech did its ride-alongs first and crossed paths with Kentucky as the Wildcats got to Charlotte Motor Speedway to have some fun. From Roanoke.com:
According to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, the operations people from both teams kept players moving toward their respective destinations. There were no physical altercations, and the whole incident lasted a couple of minutes at most. It was a non-issue for bowl organizers.
It’s a damn good thing for Kentucky that Bowden wasn’t ejected. He did almost everything for the Wildcats on Tuesday as Kentucky came back to beat Virginia Tech.
The Wildcats got the ball trailing 30-24 with 8:25 to go. UK marched down the field in 17 plays and took up nearly every second of the clock by the time Bowden hit Josh Ali for a 13-yard touchdown that put Kentucky up 31-30 after the extra point.
Kentucky ran 67 offensive plays on Tuesday and Bowden was directly responsible for 47 of them. He had 34 carries for 233 yards and two touchdowns while also completing six of 12 passes for 73 yards and a touchdown and an interception. Oh, he also contributed on special teams as a returner too.
Bowden was visibly exhausted by the end of the game and was squatting behind the line of scrimmage to catch his breath after running out of bounds with 19 seconds left. But Virginia Tech’s defense was apparently confused and the Hokies called a timeout to get things figured out. That allowed Bowden a break and he hit Ali for the score on the next play.
It was a brutal way for the career of Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster to end. The longtime Hokie assistant is retiring and will be replaced by Justin Hamilton.
Both teams finish the 2019 season at 8-5.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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