25 September 2007

Shasta Take-Down

I'm not much of a Pat Forde fan, but this excerpt from his column on ESPN.com is pretty funny ...
Shasta To Golden Bear: Duck!

If you're even vaguely acquainted with YouTube, you've probably seen the video of the Sept. 1 mascot throwdown between Shasta (26) the Houston Cougar and the Oregon Duck (27). It's gone worldwide, reportedly drawing especially enthusiastic response in Japan.

NOTE: Somehow I managed to miss this footage myself, so, in case you did also, here it is ...

Hysterical. Back to Forde ...

The video shows a one-sided, web-footed whuppin' at Autzen Stadium, with the Duck abusing poor Shasta far beyond the bounds of normal mascot playfulness. Punches, kicks and a flying elbow drop were enough to get the deranged Duck suspended for Oregon's home game against Fresno State on Sept. 15. But according to Houston, it was selective film usage.

"For what it's worth, [Shasta] did stick the Duck at least once," offered Houston sports information director Chris Burkhalter.

As it turns out, Houston has more than just a fake-furred mascot's manhood to protect. The guy in the Cougar suit happens to be a walk-on wide receiver named Matt Stolt (28) -- and you simply cannot have a football player being owned by a duck.

So Stolt explained his relative passivity: "Being a mascot is for the fans, it's to represent the school. If you want to fight, take off the gear. He wasn't fighting Matt Stolt, he was fighting Shasta. Shasta got his licks in, but he wasn't there to fight. If it was just me and him, I'd take off the suit and fight."

Stolt admitted he has "taken a little flak" from his teammates over the fight.

"They said there's no reason I should be taking it from a duck," he said.

This is just another line on Stolt's varied Joe College résumé. He's a mascot, he's a football player -- and for his first two years at Houston he played trumpet in the marching band. The only job Stolt hasn't had at home football games is selling popcorn.

"I just like being a part of something and I like to represent UH," said Stolt, a Texas native who will graduate in May with a degree in kinesiology.

With California visiting Oregon on Saturday for a major showdown, The Dash thought it wise to get Cal's Golden Bear (29) a scouting report on the Duck's dirty tricks. Oskie once got into quite a dustup with the Stanford Tree (30) during a basketball game, but this could be a step up in class.

Here's the dish on the duck from Shasta:

"My advice to any mascot that goes against him is not to worry. There won't be a problem. I think the duck's in enough trouble right now. But if it comes to that, just turn that duck's head around so he can't see nothin'."

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