CSUS President Robert Nelsen pays football debt, wears Bulldog red

A playful video starring Sacramento State President Robert Nelsen is getting a lot of attention on social media.

Nelsen was making good on a wager with Fresno State President Joseph Castro when he stepped out of his car on Oct. 12 wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “Fresno State Football.” He and Castro had made a friendly challenge over a Sept. 10 football game between the two schools, said Jeannie Wong, a university spokeswoman.

“Whoever loses would have to wear the other team’s colors,” she said.

The California State University, Fresno, Bulldogs handed the Hornets a 31-3 drubbing; Castro sent over a shirt.

Nelsen decided to have some fun with the challenge and asked his staff to write a script and produce a video, which was eventually titled “A Dog of a Day.”

The video begins with Nelsen’s trademark cowboy boots stepping out of a car. He’s wearing the Fresno State T-shirt and he’s feeling out of sorts. He steps in gum, drops his cellphone through a grate, a squirrel refuses to take a peanut from him, and he can’t seem to get his pinkie in the “stingers up” position. That all changes when Herky – the school’s mascot – telepathically tears the Fresno State shirt off the president and replaces it with a “Made at Sac State” T-shirt.

Nelsen sent the video to Castro before both presidents posted it on Twitter and Facebook on Tuesday. The video had 10,000 views on Facebook by Thursday afternoon. California State University, Sacramento, also posted it on Instagram and YouTube, where it has been seen by about 600 people. A Fresno television station picked up the story and featured it on its newscast.

Wong said Nelsen spent about two hours on the video, engaging in a meeting and answering students’ questions during the taping. She said the campus wanted to offer a laugh during a serious time and to eschew the old images of Sacramento State as a commuter school.

“Yes, this is the new Sac State,” Wong said. “Come see us. We are a lot of fun. There is a very caring, vibrant family here.”

Diana Lambert: 916-321-1090, @dianalambert

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