A classic post-win celebration turned into a stampede Saturday as thousands of fans stormed the Oklahoma State football field to celebrate the Cowboys’ huge 44-10 victory over their in-state rivals, the Oklahoma Sooners. An unstoppable crush of revelers streamed onto the field, creating a thousands-strong crowd that left 13 injured – two critically – after being trampled in the celebration.
The fans were quick to tear down both goalposts at Boone Pickens Stadium, a popular tradition following a huge win. But fans on the field were unprepared for the towering hunks of metal to come bending down. Videos show dozens of people scattering to avoid the nearly 20-foot-tall posts, as many more continued to flood the field. “Some were jumping off the stands and hit the field and others got trampled. It was a nasty deal,” Michael Authement, a commander at emergency responder LifeNet EMS, told the Associated Press.
At least one of the injured fans fell more than 15 feet onto concrete as the crowd hopped barriers and stormed onto the field. The other 11 injuries ranged from back sprains to broken ankles. The two critically injured fans were airlifted away in helicopters, and ambulances helped shuttle away nine others who required hospitalization. It took police more than 45 minutes to regain order on the field.
Oklahoma State, ranked third in the nation, beat their archrivals, the #13 ranked Oklahoma Sooners, to clinch the Big 12 championship title and guarantee a spot in a BCS bowl game. But the win was bigger than that for Cowboys fans: despite their disparity in rankings, the Sooners had won the two teams’ previous eight battles. Their annual matchup is called the Oklahoma Bedlam Football Game, and on Saturday night it lived up to its billing. “This was way worse than the earthquake,” Authement said.