Orange and blue flood streets after upset in Columbus

A crowd of Illinois football fans celebrate the 28-21 victory against No. 1-ranked Ohio State on Green Street, Saturday. Both eastbound and westbound traffic was shut down between Wright and Fifth streets as students paraded from Campustown bars to Memor Laura Prusik

Adam Babcock

A crowd of Illinois football fans celebrate the 28-21 victory against No. 1-ranked Ohio State on Green Street, Saturday. Both eastbound and westbound traffic was shut down between Wright and Fifth streets as students paraded from Campustown bars to Memor Laura Prusik

By Daily Illini Staff Report

Following the Illini football team’s victory over Ohio State – the program’s first win against a No. 1-ranked team since 1956 – a crowd of approximately 400 to 500 students gathered near the Alma Mater statue on the corner of Green and Wright streets. Several students climbed onto the statue as those on the ground cheered, sang and chanted “Ill … ini.” Others sprayed champagne over the crowd.

The crowd funneled into Green Street and continued west, stopping temporarily in front of Gameday Spirit, 519 E. Green St., at the intersection of Sixth and Green streets. Several of the revelers picked up a plastic construction barrel that had been placed on the street to redirect traffic around ongoing construction and began tossing it in the air.

Though the celebrations closed down traffic on Green Street for about 15 minutes, University and Champaign police reported no arrests had been made on campus by Sunday afternoon in connection with the impromptu rally or entry of Memorial Stadium, Saturday.

A large portion of the crowd in the street began running west on Green Street past a University Police squad car that had been blocking traffic.

Some of the cheering students made their way down Fourth Street toward the football stadium. Many were screaming or making noise with cans as yielding motorists honked horns.

Approximately 100 people continued to Memorial Stadium and entered the field and about 10 had climbed the goal posts when officers arrived, said University Police Sgt. Aaron Fredrick.

“I was hanging on the goal post, I see one flashlight and everyone runs, and I decide I’m not going to be left behind so I run, too,” said Jamie Wood, sophomore in LAS who was inside the stadium. “I trip over some guy, I do a somersault and I get up and run.”

“All were asked to leave the field and complied,” Fredrick said.

Approximately 200 fans crowded a landing strip at Willard Airport later Saturday night to welcome the team home.

The plane, carrying players, trainers, coaches, cheerleaders and other staff arrived from Columbus, Ohio, at 9 p.m. to the sounds of chanting, cheering and music provided by members of the Marching Illini.

Head coach Ron Zook exited the plane first, his arms raised victoriously in the air.

Linebacker J Leman and quarterback Juice Williams followed, leading the rest of the team from the plane as many players cheered or snapped photos of the crowd.

The team boarded busses and a police escort led them from the airport.

Phil Slama, junior in Engineering, spent Saturday with friends watching the victory before joining the crowd near the stadium.

“We’ve been watching and cheering our favorite hometown team,” Slama said.

Angelina Cole, Kathleen Foody, Roxana Ryan and Patrick Wade contributed to this report