A surprise guest at a college football game in Texas on Thursday became a viral celebrity overnight.
An opossum, whose name is unknown, ran across the field during Texas Tech University’s home game against Texas Christian University and quickly captivated the internet.
“Rodents of unusual size are showing up in Lubbock,” a commentator on the Fox broadcast said, referring to a clip of the opossum.
“He was not happy about being escorted out of the stadium,” another commentator said.
The opossum was wrangled by stadium authorities before reaching the 20-yard line, but that didn’t stop it from becoming the talk of X.
The animal, which appeared to be intensely displeased about its ejection from the game, is already establishing itself as a meme, just 12 hours after its television debut.
“FREE HIM,” one user said in a post. “HE DID NOTHING WRONG.”
“My dog when I drag her away from a cigarette butt she wanted to eat off the road,” one user joked in response to the footage of the opossum being dragged off the field.
“There’s not a chance TCU wins this game now,” another user wrote in a post.
After the game, the opossum appears to have received a well-deserved pet from the university’s president, Lawrence Schovanec, according to a photo that circulated on social media.
“With no disrespect toward 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. “Can’t blame the possum for wanting to be part of the action. Possums do eat frogs, and he may have heard there would be a lot of frogs in the stadium.”
The animal’s special appearance turned out to be a harbinger of good luck for the Red Raiders, who defeated TCU 35-28.
Even the official Texas Tech Football account joined in on the fun.
“Pretty possum night, wouldn’t y’all say?” the account posted on X.
The Texas Tech Football account encouraged fans to engage with the new good luck 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.
Team mascot the Masked Rider was reportedly horseless for Thursday’s game. Even the horse’s stand-in was unavailable, the school said on X.
“We are an opossum school now,” one fan responded.