LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Matt Zajac was surprised to hear he missed out on $2,000 for not attending last weekend's New Mexico State University football game.
On Wednesday night, he was shocked to hear a group of Lobo fans raised $2,000 to give to him.
"I saw the picture in the Albuquerque Journal. For some reason, it just kind of hit home," said Mark Chavez, the owner of TheLoboLair.com.
It started with a post online. Chavez asked people if they could raise $2,000.
"They started at 8 a.m. and by 3:50 in the afternoon, we had $2,000. I think it really speaks volumes to the community we have," Chavez told ABC-7.
The money is for Zajac, an NMSU student and Army veteran who would have won $2,000 had he attended last weekend's game. Instead, the Army vet, who lost his legs in Iraq, was at home taking care of his grandma.
"It would've been nice to have the money, that's for sure, but I'm sure there's people that need it more than I do," Zajac told ABC-7 on Sunday.
So how do Aggies fans feel knowing their rivals stepped up to the plate?
"Well, it kind of hurts a little bit, but either way it goes to a good cause," one NMSU student said.
"Since it happens to be involved with the football program and the big game's coming up, I think they're trying to soften up the NMSU fans, trying to bribe them before the big game," another student said.
"It would've been nice if our fans would've done it, but it hasn't been a really big topic around our school," said another student.
Chavez said these donations go beyond any school rivalry.
"When you strip all that stuff down, in the end, what he did for our country is much bigger than school colors or if he roots for the Aggies and we root for the Lobos. It's much bigger than that," Chavez said.
Zajac said he didn't know how to react to the donations. He said he was honored but didn't feel right taking all of the money.
Zajac said he will accept half of the money and donate the other half to the Fisher House Foundation, a group that helps military families. Zajac used to volunteer for the group.
NMSU will play the Lobos on Saturday in Albuquerque.
Editor's Note: Watch original story from this weekend by clicking on the video under related content to the left of this article.