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Fires and arrests after Mich. State's Big 10 title win

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Thousands of Michigan State students and fans celebrated the football team's Big Ten title win Saturday night with large, rowdy bonfires which led the East Lansing police to arrest "multiple people" near River and Cedar streets, Capt. Jeff Murphy said in a statement. No injuries were reported in what he called "a large civil disturbance."

Murphy declined to release arrest figures Sunday. East Lansing police got help from Michigan State University police, state police and the Ingham County sheriff's department, Murphy said.

The No. 10 Spartans defeated No. 2 Ohio State 34-24 late Saturday, earning its first Rose Bowl appearance in a quarter-century.

Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon issued a statement Sunday expressing pride at the victory and anger at the disorder, vowing punishment for any students involved.

Celebrants threw landscaping trees, a bicycle and fire extinguishers into a bonfire near the Cedar Village apartments and overturned a car outside other apartment, The Detroit News reported.

The bonfire flames reportedly reached 15 or 20 feet high as rioters fed the fire.

According to the Detroit Free Press, MSU athletic director Mark Hollis said, “People need to celebrate in a responsible way. I am proud of the performance of our football team. There is no place for destructive celebrations. I hope our fans and campus are safe.” Erika Gonzalez, 26, of Lansing, said eight people approached a red car near Milford Arms apartments and quickly flipped it on its top.

Officers surrounded another large fire about 2:30 a.m. Sunday and marched slowly down River Street to disperse the crowd.

"The behavior last night on campus and in East Lansing by both students and non-students was disappointing," said Simon. "Unfortunately, the behavior of a small number casts doubt on many.

Simon said investigators would review the incidents "and individuals will be held accountable. I ask that you join me in reinforcing that Spartans honor the success of our teams by celebrating with class."

The disorder spread beyond Michigan State, with authorities in Ypsilanti - the home of Eastern Michigan University about 55 miles southeast of East Lansing - reporting two couch fires early Sunday apparently linked to Michigan State's victory.

"It seems to be the in thing for college students to do when they're out so-called 'celebrating,'" Ypsilanti fire Lt. Mike Kouba told MLive.com.

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