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Several injured in coast-to-coast celebrations

Associated Press

Fan celebrations got out of hand after several college football games Saturday, as several people were injured following victories and Washington players were pelted with debris.

Ohio State riot
A frenzied partier jumps over a fire on Chittenden Avenue on Ohio State's campus. As police approached, students were 'proving themselves' to one another by leaping across the fire.

Most, but not all, of the rowdy behavior surrounded the usual goal-post-dismantling parties that followed big victories:

  • In Columbus, Ohio, about 45 people were arrested when crowds celebrating No. 2 Ohio State's victory over Michigan set fires and damaged cars early Sunday near campus.

    Police spokeswoman Sherry Mercurio didn't know how many people were injured. She said the arrests were for carrying open containers of alcohol, rioting, resisting arrest or setting the fires.

    Celebrations began Saturday afternoon, after Ohio State edged Michigan 14-9 to complete a 13-0 regular season. The Buckeyes next will play in the BCS national championship game at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3.

    Police at Ohio Stadium used pepper spray to subdue fans who swarmed the field and pushed toward a goal post.

    A little after midnight, police used tear gas and pellets to disperse a crowd of several hundred east of Ohio State's campus.

    At one point, nine cars were piled together and burning, Mercurio said. Disturbances continued in portions of a 10-block area for several hours.

    "Once we'd get one street under control, the crowds would move to one or two others and things would break out again,'' she said.

    Streets were mostly empty near campus Sunday morning, with a few traffic barricades at some intersections and some uprooted park benches.

  • In Clemson, S.C., a 67-year-old sheriff's officer and a female fan were hurt when fans rushed the field and tore down a goal post following the Tigers' 27-20 win over South Carolina. The victims were taken away by ambulance. Officer James Booth was in stable condition at a hospital; he was hurt when 30 fans piled on top of him. Details on the female fan's condition weren't available, but her injuries were not life-threatening.

  • In Raleigh, N.C., three people were injured on the field when fans tore down goal posts following North Carolina State's 17-7 victory over No. 14 Florida State. One person had a broken leg and two others had knee injuries.

    There were 21 arrests, but none was related to the on-field celebration. Pepper spray was used on fans to keep the goal posts standing as police remembered a similar episode two years ago, when car windows were broken by a group of people who paraded the goal posts down a street.

  • In Berkeley, Calif., hundreds of Cal fans overwhelmed security guards and tore down the goal posts following the Golden Bears' 30-7 over Stanford in the 105th Big Game. Some of the fans were taken away in handcuffs.

  • Fans of the losing team in Pullman, Wash., showed their displeasure by showering the field with objects, including bottles and plastic souvenirs, after the visiting Huskies beat No. 3 Washington State 29-26 in triple overtime.

    "I feared for my life,'' Washington athletic director Barbara Hedges said following the dramatic Apple Cup, which was decided by a referee's call that went against the Cougars.

    None of the players on either side was hurt, but some journalists had cuts and needed minor treatment.

  • After Hawaii's 20-19 victory over Cincinnati, players from both teams charged onto the field at Aloha Stadium and scuffled for about five minutes before order was restored by coaches and police.

    As the Bearcats were escorted by police to their locker room, Warriors fans pelted the players with water bottles and trash. Police used pepper spray to disperse the crowd, but there were no arrests.

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