Large crowd fills streets in Cedar Village

Simon Schuster
Special to The Detroit News
Fireworks explode as hundreds of revelers at Cedar Village in East Lansing celebrate Michigan State’s victory over Iowa on Saturday night to win the Big Ten Championship

East Lansing — Seconds after Michigan State beat Iowa to win the Big Ten Championship, students spilled onto the streets of Cedar Village Apartments.

They converged in a dancing, chanting mass. Police in riot gear and on horseback watched the revelry from the crowd’s fringe, remaining alert.

The police converged on the hour at the start of the game since, but the crowd appeared larger than even they anticipated.

“It’s the ultimate celebration, the best ending to the night you could possibly have,” Michigan State student Alex Ruhs said.

About 30 minutes after the crowd had gathered a fire started in the middle of the crowd and police moved in, arresting at least one. Moments later, a large dumpster fire was started off Waters Edge Drive in the parking lot of an apartment complex.

Austin Schild was here in 2013 when Michigan defeated Ohio State and a similar revelry took over the apartment complex.

“I think this is more tame,” he said. “The one in 2013, there were fires left and right and not enough cops to handle it.”

The East Lansing Police Department did not respond to request for comment late Saturday night on how many people were arrested.

At bars around East Lansing, fans were overjoyed by the Spartan victory.

Inside Harper's Restaurant and Brewpub, students were standing shoulder to shoulder watching the game on TV screens turned up to a deafening volume.

Chris Delli Paoli, manager of the bar, said he expected to reach capacity at 500 people.

Chris Delli Paoli, manager at Harper's Restaurant and Brewpub, expects to reach capacity — 500 people, but just after the first quarter a doorman said the crowd is around 250.

For the fans pinning their hopes on a Spartan victory, only one word could describe it — stressful.

As the clock ran down toward the end of the fourth quarter, Michigan State moved closer to the end zone and the crowd grew more excited with each play.

Even before the game began, anticipation of the big game around East Lansing was electric.

It’s was a special moment for Michigan State sports and students could feel it.

In the main library early Saturday morning, there were a smattering of students in Spartan apparel, pouring over textbooks and typing away. It’s a little more than a week before final exams, so students hit the library early to ensure they were free by kickoff.

Gijs Linders, a master’s student from the Netherlands, arrived well before noon to study with a friend.

As to whether they’d normally be awake and in the library this early on a normal Saturday — “Probably not,” Linders said with a wry smile.

They hoped to finish their work by 6 p.m., in time to meet friends at a bar and enjoy dinner before kickoff. A victory may place Michigan State on the cusp of an appearance in the College Football Playoff, something Linders is well aware of.

“It's like you're playing for something bigger than the Big Ten Championship,” he said.

Just outside the the library, Michigan State alumni Beth and Brian Eggleston, of Grand Rapids, were on their way to the basketball game and stopped for a selfie in front of Spartan Stadium.

Beth Eggleston, who graduated in 2006, saw the Spartan football team lose to the University of Michigan every year as a student. She said she relied on the basketball team’s consistency for school spirit. No longer is that the case.

“It’s a great time to be a Spartan,” she said.