Columbus, Ohio Turns out, the Bobcat had it in for the Buckeye all along.
“It was actually my whole plan to tackle Brutus when I tried out to be mascot,” said Brandon Hanning, formerly known as Ohio University’s Rufus Bobcat. “I tried out about a year ago, and the whole reason I tried out was so I could come up here to Ohio State and tackle Brutus.”
And that’s what he did Saturday, wrestling unsuspecting Brutus to the ground before 105,075 screaming college football fans at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State got even in the end, trampling the visiting team, 43-7.
The tussle led to an apology from Ohio University on Monday, and the 19-year-old Hanning is banned from further affiliation with the school’s athletics department. Actually, he’s not even a student there anymore; he now attends nearby Hocking College.
Hanning, of Meigs County in southeast Ohio, not far from Ohio University’s campus in Athens, suited up about 15 minutes before the Bobcats faced Ohio State, went on the field near the OU cheerleaders and waited for his chance.
It came as Brutus and an Ohio State cheerleader hoisted an OSU flag, and prepared to lead the Buckeyes players onto the field. With his Bobcat head in place, Hanning ran along the sideline and got in position.
“As soon as they started running onto the field, that’s when I went,” he said.
The Bobcat sideswiped the Buckeye, who got back to his feet and continued his sprint toward the end zone.
But Rufus, um, Hanning, wasn’t done.
He then chased Brutus into the end zone, climbed on his back and rode him to the ground. The two then tussled, with Rufus punching the Buckeye in his oversized head while fans booed.
Kolb back; Vick reserve again
Philadelphia — Michael Vick is more likely to begin the game at wide receiver than quarterback this week.
Eagles coach Andy Reid said Kevin Kolb will be the starting quarterback at Jacksonville on Sunday, despite a pair of impressive performances by Vick.
Kolb has been cleared to practice after missing the second half of a season-opening loss to Green Bay and Sunday’s victory over Detroit because of a concussion. So he’ll start unless he has a setback this week.
In other NFL news:
• A day before his 23rd birthday, Jimmy Clausen received a job promotion he seemed destined for since before he entered high school: NFL starting quarterback. In a rapid ascension made possible by Matt Moore’s six turnovers and Carolina’s 0-2 start, Panthers coach John Fox announced the second-round pick from Notre Dame will start Sunday’s game against Cincinnati.
• The Steelers aren’t saying yet how long quarterback Dennis Dixon will be out due to a left knee injury, a problem that typically sidelines a player for multiple games.
• Quarterback Byron Leftwich has re-signed with Pittsburgh after being released to create a roster spot for a defensive lineman.
• The Jacksonville Jaguars have lost backup quarterback Luke McCown for the season because of a knee injury. McCown tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee at San Diego on Sunday.
• Bills coach Chan Gailey wasted no time in trying to find a spark to his anemic offense by announcing Ryan Fitzpatrick will replace Trent Edwards as the team’s starting quarterback.
• Jets All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis says an MRI exam has revealed that he has a strained left hamstring, but will not rule himself out of New York’s game at Miami on Sunday night.
• St. Louis Rams tight end Billy Bajema will be sidelined two to four weeks because of a knee injury, and defensive lineman Darell Scott has a high-ankle sprain that also could put him out for as long as a month.
• Authorities say Baltimore Ravens assistant offensive line coach Andy Moeller is facing drunken driving charges. Maryland State Police say the coach was arrested after being pulled over for speeding on the Maryland beltway early Saturday.
• Redskins coach Mike Shanahan says an MRI exam on starting left tackle Trent Williams’ injured left knee showed no structural damage.
Cubs’ Colvin sad season over
Chicago — Chicago Cubs outfielder Tyler Colvin remained hospitalized in Miami on Monday, a day after his season ended when part of a shattered bat wound up puncturing his chest.
“You never want to have a season end early, and I’m disappointed that I’m not going to be able to make it through the finish line with the rest of my teammates,” Colvin said in a statement released by the team. “That being said, I couldn’t be more thankful for the Cubs organization, my teammates and the opportunity to play for Cubs fans my rookie season.”