Rutgers’ Lord Nelson, only horse penalized in NCAA game, dies at 42

A general view of Rutgers Stadium in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

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NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — The only horse ever to be penalized in a college football game has died.

Rutgers University says Lord Nelson was 42, or the human equivalent of 126 years.

One of Lord Nelson’s duties during his 37-year Rutgers career was carrying the school’s Scarlet Knight mascot during football games. It was against Army in 1994 that Lord Nelson was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after he broke free and raced down the sideline at Giants Stadium.

Lord Nelson was one the first horses to comprise the university police department’s mounted patrol unit when he was purchased in 1978. He served for 10 years before becoming part of a student-run patrol unit for 20 years.

He retired as equine professor emeritus in 2000 to teach children about horses.

Lord Nelson brings to mind another incident that involved horses and an infraction.

In the 1985 Orange Bowl, Oklahoma’s Tim Lashar kicked a 22-yard field goal and the Sooner Schooner hit the field.

An illegal procedure penalty had been called on the play and that made the Schooner’s appearance "non-contact" unsportsmanlike — unhorsemanlike — conduct.