COLUMBUS — Ohio State football fans took to the streets after their team’s championship victory early Tuesday, yelling and screaming in delight, setting nearly 90 fires and tearing down an Ohio Stadium goal post.
Police made a handful of arrests after using tear gas and pepper spray to disperse crowds of Ohio State University students and other fans following the Buckeyes’ win.
Officers on foot, on horses and in cruisers patrolled the main drag through campus after midnight, when revelers spilled out of nearby bars to celebrate the football team’s 42-20 win over the University of Oregon in Dallas.
Thousands of fans chanting “Let us in!” converged on the Ohio State football stadium, where police used tear gas to turn them away. Most headed back to the bar area, where cruisers lined the street and officers limited pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
Fans tore down a temporary goal post used for high school games on the south end of the Ohio Stadium field, university spokesman Dan Hedman said.
University police responded to various places in and around campus, including Ohio Stadium, the university’s Mirror Lake, a popular student gathering spot, and the neighborhood north of campus.
Courtney Olesh, a 19-year-old economics and finance major from Kent, witnessed the early morning scenes on campus.
“There was like a fog, because there was so much tear gas being used,” Olesh said.
The 89 fires reported to the Columbus Fire Department involved trash bins, Dumpsters and couches. The fire department said it responded to three reports of people with injuries in the campus area.
Some police officers used pepper spray to clear an estimated 5,000 revelers from the streets, while canisters of tear gas also were deployed. The crowds began going home within about two hours.
Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs said officers tried to use as little force as possible to control those celebrating. She said repeated requests for people to clear the streets were ignored and fire trucks couldn’t get through the crowds to respond to fires.
She said the energy level of the crowd increased as the number of people grew.
“It was getting amped up,” Jacobs said. “What we know is that when crowds start to behave that way that bad things can happen.”
WCMH-TV, showing images of revelers burning a couch, reported that police arrested a handful of students, who could face criminal and university charges.
Gunfire in the campus area after the game was reported by police dispatchers, with no reports of injuries, the Columbus Dispatch said.
No problems were reported in Oregon.