Emotions 'boiled over' following ASU victory

By Craig Degel
Arizona Daily Wildcat
November 25, 1996

The bad blood that began brewing in Arizona Stadium Saturday night didn't stop flowing when the players left the field.

In fact, when the teams departed for the locker rooms after Arizona State University's 56-14 win, it boiled over.

Things got ugly during the game when ASU lineman Glen Gable threw what many were calling a cheap shot at University of Arizona lineman Daniel Greer while Arizona's Mikal Smith was returning an interception for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

And when the game ended, things seemed to get even uglier.

The large contingent of fans that came down from Tempe - many of them carrying roses to commemorate Arizona State's 11-0 Rose Bowl year - stormed the field after the game in an attempt to tear down the goal posts. Resistance, however, did not come from police. It came from UA fans and players.

UA linebacker Chester Burnett leveled a fan as he ran onto the field. Freshman lineman Tyron Gunn elbowed a few people before the coaching staff ordered the team off the field.

About an hour later, the goal posts remained upright, but the Sun Devil fans' point was made.

"This is sweet revenge for last year," ASU student R.C. Reynolds said, referring to UA's come-from-behind 31-28 win in Tempe.

Numerous fights broke out on the field as UA fans tried to pull ASU fans off the goal posts. The few UA students who did brave the crowd, largely outnumbered by the 500 or so people surrounding the south goal, were helpless to stop what they saw.

"This just sucks," one UA fan said. "I think I'm going to cry."

Lt. Brian Seastone of the University of Arizona Police Department said, "There were like three very small pushing and shoving matches that required no police intervention whatsoever."

At one point during the celebration, an ASU fan planted a Sun Devil flag at midfield only to have it ripped from the ground by a UA fan. The ASU fan gave chase, but the flag was gone.

"That's the best run Arizona had all night," Dave Davis, UA media arts senior, said.

Police in riot helmets moved in to the chants of "tear gas, tear gas" from UA fans, but didn't do much more than observe the celebration.

Seastone said no arrests were made during the disorder after the game.