The biggest story of the Sugar Bowl wasn’t Georgia’s lackluster performance or the disappearance of Justin Fields. It happened in pregame when Texas’ mascot, a 1700-pound steer named Bevo, broke free of its barricade and lunged at Georgia’s mascot, Uga.
Ricky Brennes, Bevo’s handler, however told the Associated Press that Bevo wasn’t in fact charging at Uga, but was rather trying to break free from its tight quarters on the field.
“He had kind of gone up and bumped the barricade a few times before,” Brennes said. “He ran through the gate and into where Uga’s area was. It really was more just unfortunate timing and he wasn’t aware Georgia’s mascot was there. It had nothing to do with the dog.”
After the game, PETA issued a statement asking for both schools to stop using live animal mascots.
“Live animals used as mascots, such as Baylor University’s bears and the University of North Alabama’s lions, are held in captivity and often denied the opportunity to fulfill many of their most basic instincts. They’re frequently carted around to sporting events and public appearances, which are confusing and frightening for them. Human mascots can engage with sports fans, pose for pictures, lead cheers, and pump up their teams and fans much better than a terrified animal can. They’re also much less expensive for schools, and some universities offer scholarships for student mascots.
“If your favorite team is still forcing live animals to serve as mascots, please send a polite e-mail to its fundraising or community-outreach committee urging it to use willing human participants instead.”
A spokesman for Texas also spoke with the AP and said, “all established safety and security measures were in place for Bevo” at the Sugar Bowl, including two halters, two chains and six handlers to hold him.
After the pregame scuffle, it did appear that Uga went back over to the side of the field where Bevo was quartered.
Great shot from my buddy Rob Saye.
Uga wasn't going out like that against Bevo, so he came back for the smoke afterward. pic.twitter.com/f4zQtseqKY
— Jake Reuse (@ReuseRecruiting) January 3, 2019
Many joked after the fact that the Bevo-Uga incident was a precursor for what happened in the game, as Texas came out playing far more aggressive than Georgia. The Longhorns built an early 17-0 lead as they cruised to an upset over the No. 5 Bulldogs. Georgia scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to make the final score 28-21.
Hopefully the next time these two mascots meet, which is scheduled to be 2028 in Austin, the pregame meeting goes much smoother.
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