The "LSU T-Rex" Caleb Bates holds Mike the Tiger in Tuscaloosa.
Who said dinosaurs were extinct?
LSU engineering junior Caleb Bates was one of many students supporting the Tigers in Tuscaloosa. But he became an Internet sensation during the second quarter of the game.
After LSU wide receiver Travin Dural scored the Tigers' second touchdown, the camera raced over to a raucous student section acting like hooligans. Amidst the chaos, Bates chose to be his usual self...by dancing like a dinosaur.
The college football blogosphere and Twittersphere went haywire. Fans everywhere wanted to know who this young man was and what was going through his mind.
Bates says he is just like any other student looking to have fun supporting his Tigers. He is a member of the "LSU Painted Posse", which is a group of body-painted students of LSU's Baptist College Ministry, known for standing in the front row of the student section.
The "LSU T-Rex" spoke with Bleacher Report on how he got such good seats, why he did the dance, life as a new campus celebrity and much more.
Bleacher Report: Why did you come to LSU?
Caleb Bates: I was originally born in Louisiana, but I moved to Tennessee in an area around Nashville when I was 12 years old. But I came back to LSU because I love it.
B/R: How were you a fan of LSU before the Alabama game?
LSU T-Rex: Last two years, I have been a part of the "Painted Posse" in basically all sports. But this year, I am still a part of the "Painted Posse", but I am not able to do it in football because I have a job (with LSU Marketing) that is on the field for a little bit. But when the game starts, I am usually over there.
B/R: How did you get such great seats in Tuscaloosa?
LSU T-Rex: My freshman year, I remember LSU playing Alabama, and people camped out at the ticket office at LSU. This year I was like, "Man, I might have to camp out." I was on campus the night before they gave the tickets out and it was around 12 (midnight). What I did was, I parked my car and slept in it, set my alarm clock. I didn't feel like driving all the way home and driving back, so I slept in my car and waited out to get some tickets in the morning. So I went to sleep at midnight, woke up at 5 a.m. and the ticket office opened at 8 a.m. And it was 50 degrees, so it was cold.
B/R: Why did you choose to dance like a dinosaur?
LSU T-Rex: Usually, when I used to be in the "Painted Posse", usually everybody just claps and screams to the camera, but nobody really notices that. I usually do something goofy, like a dead stare or dance when the camera comes by. This time, I was like "I'm just going to pull a T-Rex." It was a last second kind of thing.
B/R: When did you realize you became famous?
LSU T-Rex: My phone died in the second quarter, right after (the dance) happened. Because last time I charged my phone was at noon. The first time I was on television, my mom sent me a text message. I was like "Awesome! That's cool." Then I got some tweets here and there. And then the second time, which was the dinosaur time, I received 20 tweets just from my friends. Then I tried to turn off my Internet to save my battery and then it ended up dying. Then other students were texting their friends in the student section to high-five the T-Rex guy. At halftime, everybody in the student section was telling me I was Internet famous. By the third quarter it was on the Bleacher Report already. I thought it was only going to be three days, so no big deal. But it has not stopped.
B/R: Did you have any alcoholic beverages during the day?
LSU T-Rex: No. I had some lemonade earlier. But I don't know, unless some Alabama fans put something in my lemonade. But I just drank water all day.
Can you bust the dinosaur moves as well as the "LSU T-Rex" Caleb Bates?
LSU T-Rex: Just from what I've seen, I probably look more like a velociraptor than a T-Rex. But I guess T-Rex kind of flows a little bit better with people than a velociraptor. But I think most people got the point, so I wouldn't say it was perfect form.
B/R: Did you have any special interest in dinosaurs before the dance?
LSU T-Rex: Always in science class when we would talk about dinosaurs, it would interest me. I have little dinosaur books and stuff. But that is about as far as it went. So I am not like a massive fan or anything.
B/R: What has been your favorite thing you have seen from the dance on the Internet?
LSU T-Rex: My favorite "GIF" has got to be the Jurassic Park one. But my favorite thing the Internet has done has been one where it had the guy from "Step Brothers" (John C. Reilly) saying a person can't be a dinosaur.
B/R: You have been getting tweets from celebrities, doing interviews everywhere and getting stopped on campus. Do you enjoy the fame?
LSU T-Rex: It certainly has been enjoyable. At least it is not something bad, like that guy that was crying after the last Alabama game (in Tuscaloosa). As long as I make sure my head doesn't get too big and I keep giving all the glory to God things will be fun. I look forward to meeting new friends. I try to go to as many of the other sporting events as possible. Usually, I am a superfan when I have other superfans with me. Otherwise, it is just kinda awkward.
B/R: Have the ladies been flocking your way?
LSU T-Rex: Yeah, a good bit! Although I do have a lady interest back home in Tennessee and I love her a lot. But I am getting hit on here and there.
LSU T-Rex: Yes! Let's make that official. That sounds good.
B/R: You are a diehard LSU fan. Does it frustrate you that fans leave games early?
LSU T-Rex: Some fans have a legitimate excuse. But most students live right here on campus or very near campus. The bars will be open really late at night, so I guess there is no reason to leave early. Keep supporting our Tigers. Go back to the Troy game, however many years ago that was. I'm sure if a lot of fans would have stayed they would have enjoyed the comeback. Our Tigers still need us whether we are winning or losing.
B/R: Any other impersonations coming up?
LSU T-Rex: You could be seeing a pterodactyl, a meerkat. I'm going to have to talk to my friends if we can come up with something. It is going to be hard to one-up a dinosaur, but I'm sure I can come up with something.
Follow Caleb on twitter @calebates.