Students storm the field

A 23-game losing streak and a week of rain can create one hell of a celebration.

With nine seconds still remaining in Duke's first football win since 1999, students rushed the field at Wallace Wade Stadium Saturday night, waited impatiently for the official end of the game and then tore down both goalposts amidst a downpour of rain.

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A portion of the around 1,000 fans congregated at centerfield to meet their victorious Blue Devils, who outpaced the East Carolina Pirates 23-16 in the season opener. Purple and yellow-clad ECU fans filed quietly out of the stadium that at gametime they mostly filled, but by halftime they had been drowned out by a sea of blue and white.

With cheers of "undefeated" bellowing, the west upright was the first to go, although it took several minutes and the weight of about a dozen students to make the 30-foot yellow structure give way. The second goalpost came crashing to the muddy turf minutes later.

Legions of students then carried pieces of the posts out of the stadium in various directions-some through the stands and others out the far end of the stadium.

The posts made their way to the heart of Main West Campus, the first piece finally nestling between James B. Duke's cigar and his tweed jacket on the Chapel Quadrangle. A second piece was carried down Chapel Drive and toward East Campus.

More pieces of the posts then arrived, finding initial homes on the steps of the Chapel, but then being carted off to various points on campus.

"I never thought I would see this, but now that I have it's amazing," said senior Michael Desimone.

Members of the Class of 2003 were the last to witness a victory by the Blue Devils (1-0).

"It's awesome," said freshman Laura Serwer. "It's just my first game, but my sister went here, too, and I had to suffer through it with her.... I had a bet with my friend from [Michigan State University] about who was going to riot first, and I guess we won."

Added freshman Russ Ferguson, "We made a decision before the game to go to all the games this year, but I think now we're going to have to go to every game, all four years. Five years if we have to, but hopefully four."

As the rain continued to pour, students made their ways to their dorms to continue celebrating the victory-for the first time in a long time, one not captured on the hardcourt.

Dave Ingram contributed to this story.


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