By ANDY RESNIK, Associated Press Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio State fans at the Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe leaped into each other's arms, hugged and some even cried as Miami's final pass in the Fiesta Bowl fell incomplete.
"I feel wonderful," said Tom York, 40, of Columbus. "It was perfect."
The Buckeyes upset the top-ranked Hurricanes 31-24 in double overtime to give Ohio State its first national title since it won the 1969 Rose Bowl.
"This is awesome," said student Katie Grimm, 20. "Only Ohio State would make it a double-overtime play."
Meanwhile, Columbus police were hoping to prevent the rioting that broke out after Ohio State's 14-9 win over Michigan on Nov. 23. More than 60 people, including 16 students, were arrested after that game.
On Friday night, a few hundred people ran around campus after the win, but they were ordered by police to stay out of the streets.
"Right now, the crowds are pretty much responding to our order to vacate," police spokesman Sgt. Brent Mull said. "If they want to stay up on the sidewalk in their yards and whoop and holler a
little bit, that's fine."
About 2,000 fans, many dressed in scarlet and gray, packed into the Buckeye Hall of Fame, which is filled with Ohio State memorabilia, and cheered every play.
Matt Lambert waved scarlet and gray pompons and danced around a banquet room at his wedding rehearsal dinner.
"Oh, baby! It doesn't get better than this," said Lambert, 23, who is getting married Saturday. "The wedding, we've got years to go on that. This is the most important night of my life now."
Columbus imposed a parking ban Friday on 11 streets east of campus where crowds overturned cars and set them on fire in November, and Mull said police in riot gear were in position as the end of the game neared.
"If you see a cop, you think twice about doing something," said Gavin McCord, 22, a senior from Granville. "I'm not worried about the riots. It's winter break. There are not many students around here."
Classes resume Monday, and most residence halls don't open until Sunday. The university had already removed the goalposts from Ohio Stadium at the end of the regular season. Fans unsuccessfully tried to tear them down after the Michigan game.
The Arena Grand movie theater in downtown Columbus showed the game on its two largest screens.
Cory and Mary Hupp, both 23, came from their home in Delaware instead of heading to campus.
"There's nowhere left to go on campus," Cory Hupp said.
In Cleveland, parties were more low-key, said Sandra Hunt, 50, a former Columbus resident who now lives in Bedford.
"In Columbus, the whole city shuts down," she said. "If Ohio State is playing, there's scarlet and gray everywhere. In Cleveland, not as much."
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)