Leading up to Georgia's end-of-season match against the University of Texas, a 750kg steer attacked the opposition team's mascot, putting dozens of bystanders at risk.
Reporters, photographers and Georgia's mascot — a pudgy, slow-moving English Bulldog named Uga — were all lucky to escape uninjured, as the steer's giant horns went unchecked.
The plan was for the two mascots to meet, given it was the first time the two colleges had gone head to head in an end-of-season clash, known to the locals as a Bowl game.
Officials got a pre-game coming together but not of the variety they had been anticipating.
A social media post shows a photographer, who had her back to the charging Longhorn, crouched down at just the right time to avoid its right horn.
American commentators, watching the live footage, were in shock as the moment unfolded.
"Oh my word."
"Can live television get better than that?" one said.
Founded in 1881, the University of Texas (UT) is one of the biggest and most followed colleges in the United States and has had a version of Bevo the Longhorn as mascot since 1916, the current version being the 15th incarnation.
Georgia, whose fans scream "Go Dawgs" as part of their college sports war cry, have had a dog called Uga as a mascot on campus since 1956.
Live mascots are extremely common among US college teams, who have large supporter bases of current and former students passionately following their alma mater's progress each year.
American football sits alongside basketball as one of the top sports in college athletics, with television audiences regularly exceeding the size of Australia's population.
28 million people were expected to tune in to this year's Sugar Bowl between Georgia and UT.