Miami, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - The inaugural Miami Beach Bowl turned into a Miami Beach brawl.
Before actual punches were thrown, Memphis beat BYU 55-48 in a double-overtime thriller on Monday, taking the lead on Paxton Lynch's 11-yard touchdown pass to Roderick Proctor, then sealing the win with an interception.
But the Tigers' celebration was interrupted by an ugly on-field melee in which players from both teams exchanged blows, leaving some bloodied and threatening to overshadow the first football game played inside Marlins Park.
And what a game it was.
BYU scored 17 straight points off turnovers in the fourth quarter to take a 45-38 lead, but Memphis tied the score on Lynch's 5-yard touchdown pass to Keiwone Malone with 45 seconds left in regulation.
In the first overtime, BYU's Jordan Leslie was close to scoring a touchdown when he squeezed the ball against his right shoulder pad while falling into the end zone. But the ball touched the ground and the Cougars settled for Trevor Samson's 45-yard field goal.
Lynch and the Tigers lost 12 yards on their first overtime possession before Jake Elliott hammered through a 54-yarder to tie the score.
Proctor's sliding catch in the right side of the end zone gave Memphis lead and the game ended on a turnover when DaShaughn Terry intercepted Christian Stewart's overthrown pass, sparking a celebration on the field.
The brawl appeared to start with Memphis defensive lineman Martin Ifedi and BYU offensive lineman Tejan Koroma, but many other players were involved.
In the clearest example of how bad it got, BYU defensive back Kai Nacua punched Memphis tight end Alan Cross from behind as Cross was being held by one of his coaches.
The blow was captured live on the TV broadcast, which also showed that Nacua was bleeding from a cut below his left eye.
Elsewhere, Memphis offensive lineman Chase Johnson was seen swinging his helmet at a BYU player and Cougars linebacker Harvey Langi appeared to throw several rapid punches at an opponent.
"It's not who we are. It's not what we want to represent," said Memphis coach Justin Fuente. "I hope it doesn't take away from an incredible football game on both sides."
Lynch accounted for all seven Memphis touchdowns, throwing for four of them and rushing for three. He passed for 306 yards and threw three interceptions, but the Tigers (10-3) won in their first bowl appearance since the 2008 season.
Malone had two touchdown receptions and Cross caught the other as Memphis picked up its seventh consecutive win.
Stewart passed for 348 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions for BYU (8-5), which fell to 6-4 in its 10th consecutive bowl game under coach Bronco Mendenhall. Leslie, Mitchell Juergens and Mitch Mathews had touchdown catches and Paul Lasike rushed for two scores.
"It seemed like one long game of the same game," Mendenhall said. "Of one team scoring, the other answering, one team trying to separate, the other closing ... back and forth. Basically a dead-even game."
BYU trailed 17-14 after a back-and-forth first quarter but had a 28-21 lead at halftime after turning a Lynch interception into Lasike's 3-yard touchdown.
Memphis took the lead with two touchdowns in the third quarter, including Lynch's 1-yard run on the opening possession.
Later, Manoa Pikula's interception set up Samson's 23-yard field goal and the Cougars tied the score after Memphis return man Joe Craig was stripped on the ensuing kickoff and Lasike scored from seven yards out.
They took a 45-38 lead on Zac Stout's 19-yard interception return with 7:48 left in regulation.
Lynch had almost 10 seconds to make his game-tying throw, working his way toward the right sideline behind good protection before finding Malone near the middle of the end zone for the 5-yard score.
Stewart's long pass to Leslie on the last play of regulation was knocked down by Andrew Gaines near the Memphis 5-yard line as time expired.
BYU fell to 13-19-1 in bowl games while Memphis improved to 5-3 ... It was the first-ever meeting between the teams.