Ohio Mascot Rufus’ Ferris Bueller Moment, Totally Classic

BY TODD NEELEY

Here’s something you don’t see everyday.

The Ohio University athletic department issued an apology — not for the poor performance of its football team in a blowout loss at Ohio State Saturday (something fans would love to see on so many levels) — but for the actions of the Bobcats’ mascot, Rufus.

There are so many jokes in this statement, too little time to expand:

“We apologize to Ohio State University and its many loyal fans for the poor decision made by the Bobcat mascot in tackling the Buckeye mascot when Ohio State came onto the field during Saturday’s football game. The individual responsible for these actions has been banned from any further affiliation with Ohio Athletics.

“The department does not condone this behavior and apologizes for the negative effects that this had on an intercollegiate event between two proud institutions. This is not indicative of the quality partnership between the universities and reflected extremely poor judgment and sportsmanship.”

The Associated Press later reported that guy behind the mascot head, Brandon Hanning, said he planned it all along — to first win the mascot’s job, only to make the trip to Ohio State to tackle the Buckeyes’ mascot.

How’s that for a conspiracy?

Former Nebraska Head Coach Frank Solich had the most classic response to the AP’s question about the incident following Ohio’s 43-7 loss.

“Obviously we needed to tackle the guy with the ball, not the mascot,” Solich said, according to AP.

Hanning is a southeast Ohio resident who suited up 15 minutes before kickoff and made his way to the sideline as OSU players took the field.

Just as OSU mascot Brutus and a cheerleader hoisted the Buckeyes’ flag Hanning got into position and took his shot as Brutus entered the field.

Here’s how the AP chronicled Hanning’s next moves: “The Bobcat sideswiped the Buckeye, who got back to his feet and continued his sprint toward the end zone. But Rufus, um, Hanning, wasn’t done. He then chased Brutus into the end zone, climbed on his back and rode him to the ground. The two then tussled, with Rufus punching the Buckeye in his oversized head while fans booed.”

OK, all the self-righteous broadcasters on ESPN apparently didn’t find it to be very funny. I watched college football for the balance of Saturday morning and night, but ESPN never once showed a highlight of what may be the best highlight of the day.

C’mon, this is what movies are made of — Ferris Bueller, Dumb and Dumber all wrapped up in one great moment.

It took guts.

Reminds me of an experience I had as a student at Nebraska back in the early ’90s. Nebraska was playing Utah State and sometime in the first half Herbie the Husker stumbles up to the student section, high fives are flying and Herbie hits the ground — as sick as a dog.

He was obviously drunk. Then play was interrupted by this nasty thunderstorm.

What a great game.

Posted on September 21, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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