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Fans at Miami Hurricanes game use American flag as net to help save cat falling from stadium's upper level

Miami Gardens, Florida — The most notable catch in Saturday's game between No. 22 Miami and Appalachian State didn't even happen on the field.

Wasn't even a football. It was a cat.

The animal somehow got into Hard Rock Stadium, then got caught by one of its paws off the facade of the upper deck in the first quarter. It eventually fell to the lower level of the stadium, where fans using an American flag as a makeshift net of sorts were able to catch it before it was carried off to safety.

"They were trying to grab it from above and they couldn't reach it but they were scaring it downward," said Craig Cromer, a facilities manager at the University of Miami and season-ticket holder who with his wife Kimberly brings the flag to each home game. "It hung there for a little while with its two front paws, then one paw, then I was like, 'Oh my goodness, it's coming soon.'"

That's when the Cromers unhooked the flag from the ties they use to keep it on a railing and hoped for the best. The petrified cat fell, bounced a bit off the flag and eventually was secured by some in the nearby student section before being brought away by stadium security workers.

CBSSports.com's Wajih AlBaroudi said the fan "held the animal up to the crowd in Lion King-esque fashion and earned as loud a round of applause and cheers as those after a Canes touchdown."

Miami coach Manny Diaz said he learned of the cat incident postgame. The Hurricanes held on Saturday, topping Appalachian State 25 to 23.

"I don't know anything about that or what was going on," Diaz said. "But I'll tell you, if the cat will help us in our red-zone offense I'm going to see if we can give it a scholarship."

The cat was not showing any signs of injury. The Cromers, other than a spilled beverage and getting sprayed by the dangling cat, were otherwise fine.

"Strangest thing that's ever happened at a game," Kimberly Cromer said.

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