A surprise guest at a college football game in Texas on Thursday became an overnight viral celebrity.
An unnamed opossum ran across the field during Texas Tech University’s home game against Texas Christian University and quickly captivated the internet.
“Unusually sized rodents are showing up in Lubbock,” a commentator on the Fox show said, referring to a clip of the opossum.
“He wasn’t happy about being escorted out of the stadium,” another commentator said.
The possum was fought off by stadium authorities before reaching the 20-yard line, but that didn’t stop it from making headlines.
The animal, which seemed extremely unhappy with its expulsion from the game, is already establishing itself as a meme, barely 12 hours after its television debut.
“RELEASE HIM” a user said in a message. “HE DID NOTHING WRONG.”
“My dog, when I pulled her off a cigarette butt, she wanted to eat on the road” one user joked in response to images of the possum being dragged off the field.
“There is no way TCU wins this game now,” another user wrote in a message.
After the game, the opossum appeared to have received a well-deserved pet from university president Lawrence Schovanec, according to a photo that circulated on social media.
“With no disrespect to the TCU Frogs…If you were in Lubbock last night, Jones AT&T Stadium was the place to be,” Schovanec said in an emailed statement to NBC News. “I can’t blame the opossum for wanting in on the action. Opossums eat frogs, and he may have heard there would be a lot of frogs in the stadium.”
The animal’s peculiar appearance proved to be a harbinger of good luck for the Red Raiders, who beat TCU 35-28.
Even the official Texas Tech Football account joined in the fun.
“Nice possum evening, isn’t it?” the account published on.
The Texas Tech Football account encouraged fans to take an interest in the new lucky charm online, posting a photo of the marsupial with its teeth bared and claws digging into the turf. “Caption it” the account wrote.
Fans rallied on social media to make the opossum the new Texas Tech mascot.
The team’s mascot, the Masked Rider, would have been without horses for Thursday’s game. Even the horse’s replacement was not available, the school said the.
“We are now a possum school,” one fan replied.