OSU Fans Celebrate Peacefully

Mark Watson of Yakima, Wash., in Columbus for the OSU / Michigan game, says Saturday's victory is "satisfying."
Mark Watson of Yakima, Wash., in Columbus for the OSU / Michigan game, says Saturday's victory is "satisfying."

An estimated 200,000 fans came to Ohio State University on Saturday to take part in football festivities. Nearly 106,000 were inside Ohio Stadium to see the Buckeyes defeat the Wolverines 42 to 39. Police say there were about 40 arrests and dozens of fires were reported afterward. But it was nothing like the post-game rioting that followed the OSU Michigan game in 2002.

An Ohio State University employee worked through Saturday night into Sunday morning, said he would not give his name because he’s not authorized to speak for the university, but he said the aftermath of the OSU – Michigan game could have been a lot different.

“I have seen worse! I have seen worse! The Texas game was probably worse than this,” the man said.

He was talking about the mountains of trash that fans left behind, not about any post-game disturbance. It was a relatively quiet night by most accounts. And by noon on Sunday crews had made a sizeable dent in the debris.

Fans dropped a lot of beer cans on campus Saturday and Sunday afternoon they were still dropping a lot of cash around Columbus.

“It’s $101.26, please,” said a cashier.

College apparel shops on Lane Avenue were flooded with fans looking for souvenirs. Joan Ottolenghi was shopping for her son who drove from Colorado to attend Saturday’s game.

“I saw a sweatshirt in church with the score and all on it and I couldn’t believe it was already done,” Ottolenghi said.

“So did you find what you were looking for?”

“Yes, very nice. A man who was keeping it for his own family gave it to me. He said he’d get another one later in the week.”

She was fortunate because some stores had run out of bowl game merchandise earlier in the day.

“We had bowl game items this morning about 9 o’clock. And we sold out within an hour,” said Rob Cohen.

“Maybe we can get an extra large in ‘Lose the Carbs, Eat a Wolverine.’”

“Well we’ve got to get something that talks smack to ‘em.”

“I like ‘Fear the Nut!’”

OSU graduates Rick and Angelique Seifert from Charlotte wanted a tee-shirt as a not-so-subtle reminder of the Buckeyes’ victory.

“She works with a guy from Michigan,”Rick Seifert said. “He’s been talking smack about Michigan beating Ohio State before we got here. We were going to get him a Choke shirt, but they’re all out of every size because there’s been a buying frenzy.”

“It was the most well-played football game that I’ve seen here,” according to Angelique Seifert. “I was really impressed with Michigan’s offense. They were scary, scary good in that anytime they had the ball they could score.”

“We were much better. Scary, scary better!”

Almost 22 million people watched Saturday’s game on television – the largest audience for a regular season college football game in more than a decade. Now enthusiastic fans are calling their travel agents.

“They want to know what the prices of our packages are and what they include. Most of them are at deluxe hotels. The prices are a little bit more than four years ago but this is a very special occasion.”

Columbus travel agent Rob Elking says people began calling Saturday night asking about trips to the national championship. He’s booking packages to Glendale, Az., in the $2800- to $3400-per person price range. He was still taking clients’ phone calls Sunday afternoon.

“I have you on leaving Saturday, January 6th, returning Tuesday, January 9th, it’s non-stop from Columbus, and you’re staying at the Deluxe Double Tree Suites in Phoenix. Includes the upper level end zone ticket…”

That game will be played Monday evening, January 8th.