JSU Squirrel

A squirrel scampers across the field during Jacksonville State's football game last Sunday afternoon. The little guy caused quite a stir.

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something brand new comes along.

I’ve written previously about how we have now become Jacksonville State football fans. Our son Kyle – as well as a whole lot of other Marshall County kids – are members of the JSU band, the Marching Southerners. JSU is playing a spring football schedule with games on Sunday afternoons. It’s quite a lot of fun, especially when the weather is nice as it has been for the two games so far.

A lighter moment took place at last Sunday afternoon’s game.

A squirrel dashed out on the field. We’re not sure where the little guy came from. He just appeared. Southeast Missouri had the ball at the time and the tree rat spent a lot of time running and stopping deep in the SEMO backfield.

It was clear he didn’t know where to go or exactly what to do.

The players were oblivious to it at first. But the band and the student section picked up on it almost immediately.

“Squirrel, squirrel, squirrel,” they began to chant.

The squirrel dashed to the SEMO sideline. But seeing no means to escape there, he went back to the center of the field and soon advanced from about the 20 yard line to midfield.

He went right through the middle of a bunch of JSU and SEMO players. Everyone in the stadium had kind of taken notice by then.

One referee kind of followed the squirrel to keep him moving towards the endzone.

When the squirrel crossed the goalline, the ref signaled touchdown. A cheer went up around the stadium. The Southerners played the fight song, just as though the Gamecocks had scored.

And laughter was heard around the stadium.

There were one more absolutely great moment in this game. Jacksonville State quarterback Zion Webb was hemmed up deep in the backfield. The defender actually had hands on him and it looked to be a sack for a substantial loss.

Somehow, Zion shook the defender, threw a strike across his body to a waiting receiver and the receiver zipped for a touchdown.

There was a review of the play by the officials to make sure the receiver hadn’t stepped out of bounds. The PA system played the Beatles “Let It Be” during the review and the touchdown stood.

At one point during the game, my wife Mary looked at me and said, “I’ve enjoyed these games as much as anything we’ve done in awhile.”

I just agreed. It's great to be back out watching football. It's hard to tell the difference between a beautiful spring afternoon and a beautiful fall afternoon once you're in the stadium. 

JSU is playing a high level of football. They defeated SEMO 21-3. My son Kyle made an interesting observation after the game. “The squirrel scored more points than the other team,” he said.

Oh, and this all happened on the occasion of the 400th game to be played on Burgess-Snow Field at JSU. 

The Gamecocks are tied with Murray State for the top spot in the conference. Neither has a conference loss. They’ll meet in the final game of the regular season at Murray State. We’re pulling for JSU to win the conference and make the playoffs so maybe we get one more home game.

The last home game of the regular season is this Sunday at 2 p.m. as JSU takes on Austin Peay.

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