Weekend passes without incident

The University area was quiet Friday.Excited fans hoped for a Gophers win.

P Police and journalists – not rioters – staked out the University area Friday night as disappointed Gophers fans dispersed without causing any harm.

In the wake of riots last weekend at Minnesota State University-Mankato and riots after last year’s NCAA hockey championship, administration officials took measures to prevent riots – including increasing campus police presence and an e-mail warning to students.

Perhaps because prevention measures worked, or maybe because the Gophers loss quashed the mood for would-be rioters, the University was free of major disturbances Friday night.

Dinkytown business employees seemed unconcerned Friday as diners ate at the Loring Pasta Bar, others browsed the CD Warehouse and some studied over coffee at the Purple Onion. A Loring Pasta Bar employee only sneered when asked about a riot, and a barista at the Purple Onion laughed at the idea.

“If anything happens, I hope it happens after midnight,” he said. “I get off at midnight.”

Others, however, evoked the ire of the University when they made comments seemingly in favor of riots.

Local KDWB-FM radio host Dave Ryan upset University officials when he announced on his Thursday and Friday shows that rioters would receive free KDWB T-shirts.

University General Counsel Mark Rotenberg contacted KDWB after he heard the statements, and the station apologized, airing public service announcements to atone for the comments.

The announcements began airing around 2 p.m. Friday and told listeners that rioting is illegal and anyone caught rioting would face prosecution in addition to possible suspension or expulsion.

Students in Stadium Village on Friday night, however, were torn on whether the preventative measures were wise.

“I think the police and University are almost asking for something,” said first-year Institute of Technology student Ryan Fraibich.

Kate Linge, a first-year College of Liberal Arts student, said she felt differently.

“I thought it was a good idea to tell people if you’re in a large group you should disperse,” Linge said.

Others, including first-year CLA student Derrick Fong, said students would keep their cool.

“People will get rowdy, but just not like at Mankato,” Fong said.

But first-year Institute of Technology student Greg Kuehne said some people might get out of control.

“I think that fair-weather fans might riot,” Kuenhe said after the game.

Some interested students, however, still gathered, waiting to see if someone else would start something.

“We all want a riot so we can have something to do tonight,” first-year student Maia Savitt said.

Her friends were equally prepared.

“I have my Mace and I’m ready for a riot,” said first-year family and social sciences student Carly Stein, laughing as she produced a small tube of keychain Mace. “I’m hoping there’s a riot so I can watch.”

But buses bringing students back to campus after the game produced only dejected football fans – not rioters. The street was soon busy with gold T-shirt clad fans who dispersed into bars, coffee shops or their apartments.

Across the bridge at Seven Corners, it was also just another Friday night as thousands of heartbroken Gophers fans shuffled into bars and restaurants.

Nate Kaselnak, a part-time bouncer for Bullwinkle’s Saloon, said he was certain there would be no riots.

“The new laws are pretty stiff now,” Kaselnak said. “Jail time and expulsion makes me fairly optimistic that I won’t have to deal with anything tonight.”

But Milo Ward, a bouncer for Grandma’s Saloon & Grill, said the business took no chances.

“We have our best crew here tonight and put one extra guy on just in case,” Ward said. “I don’t think rioters will make a distinction between hockey and football.”

But the only disturbances were benign, as somber, yellow-clad football fans brandished stolen traffic cones, ignored red lights and yelled obscenities at no one in particular as they wandered into nearby bars.

Lacking a football victory and riots, some fans still celebrated the Gophers.

“It’s still definitely a school I can be proud of,” CLA junior Jackie Carlson said.

While Gophers fans were quiet and somber after the fourth quarter of Friday night’s football game, it was a different story before and during most of the game.

An hour before game time, student tailgaters Kirk Montgomery and Mark Gregware tossed a football in the dirt parking lot at Washington Avenue and 10th Street.

“We’re taking the Little Brown Jug home,” Gregware said. “First time since 1986, can you believe that?”

Fans streaming into the Metrodome spontaneously broke into chants of “Let’s go Gophers!” and sang the rouser all the way to their seats.

In anticipation of kickoff, fans jumped up and down, shaking the Dome’s temporary seats where the right-field “baggy” normally sits for baseball games. As fans spelled out “Minnesota” in the rouser, each deafening letter bounced off the Teflon-covered roof.

Enthusiasm did not wane much while the Gophers led the game.

One fan in section 117 could not handle the excitement; Metrodome workers cleaned up a mess of vomit that stretched about four rows deep and five seats wide.

Another hungry fan who did not want to get up midquarter and miss any of the game reached out and grabbed the popcorn of someone making her way to her seat.

Charlie Arnfett, a business and marketing sophomore, came decked out in his lucky full-body yellow chicken suit. He said the $100 costume helped the Gophers men’s hockey team win at least one national championship.

“We always bring this out for the big games,” he said.

Things started to turn as Michigan tied the game 35-35.

“This is bogus, man,” Arnfett said, holding the chicken’s head in his left hand. “We were up by 21 points and we’ve blown it. What’s the deal?”

While most of the trash-talking was constrained to “Michigan sucks!” some took pot-shots at Michigan’s affirmative action policy.

“I really want Michigan to lose because I didn’t get accepted there because of the Supreme Court thing,” first-year student Liz Laudolff said.

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