Hundreds of Pitt students take to Oakland streets to celebrate football victory


Clare Sheedy | Assistant Visual Editor

A Pitt student sits on another student’s shoulders in Oakland in a crowd celebrating Pitt’s ACC Championship win against Wake Forest University earlier in the night.

By Rebecca Johnson and Millicent Watt

About 500 students gathered outside the Cathedral of Learning — singing “Sweet Caroline” and chanting “Let’s Go Pitt” while the Victory Lights streamed overhead — late Saturday night to early Sunday morning to celebrate Pitt football’s win.

The celebration started soon after Pitt’s 45-21 victory over Wake Forest in the ACC Championship game Saturday night at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. The crowd of hundreds of students first congregated at the intersection of Forbes and Oakland avenues. Police attempted to clear the two streets. 

People shouted “Kenny Heisman” and “Hail to Pitt,” among other chants. Students also got on top of each other’s shoulders and threw rolls of toilet paper through the crowd. Some climbed light poles. 

Nick Locastro, a sophomore supply chain major, was one of the students celebrating the win. He said he’d “die” for Pitt’s quarterback Kenny Pickett and was excited about the team’s victory. 

“Kenny, I would die for you, and I love you and you embody this City, and I hope you come to the Steelers,” he said. “We love you Kenny.”

The crowd ran down Forbes Avenue to the lawn in front of Cathy about 30 minutes later. The police blocked vehicle access to Bigelow Boulevard between Fifth and Forbes avenues, and then reopened Forbes Avenue to traffic. Students sang, chanted and threw more toilet paper under the Victory Lights. 

Samuel Dooling, a sophomore marketing major, commemorated the win with fellow students at Cathy. He said winning the championship game was “dope.” 

“What just happened is we just won the ACC Championship for the first time ever, it’s insane, it’s so, it’s so dope,” Dooling said.

Around 15 minutes later, most students left the Cathedral of Learning. A group of about 100 to 150 people went back onto Forbes and walked to the Boulevard of the Allies toward Downtown. Police blocked off the lane for students to walk on, but kept the inbound lane open for vehicles. Most people in the group went back to Oakland by 1:30 a.m. 

Gabby Thompson, a first-year communications science and disorders major, said the crowd went from singing and cheering to walking on the highway, presumably to Heinz Field.

“Everyone after we won the ACC stormed Forbes and then stormed Cathy and everyone was just celebrating and singing and now for some reason we’re walking all the way Downtown on the actual highway,” Thompson said. 

Bryn Miller, a first-year biology major, was also walking on the highway.

“I’m so far invested now, I have to see where this happens and where this ends,” Miller said. 

In anticipation of large crowds and parties, extra Pittsburgh and University police were on patrol in Oakland and the South Side. There were also additional mounted, motorcycle, bicycle, K-9 units and emergency medical services personnel. Pitt and Pittsburgh Public Safety spokespeople did not immediately respond to requests for comments Saturday night. 

Thompson said as a first year, it was fun being able to attend football games and watch Pitt win. 

“I was so pumped, I was so hyped the whole time, I mean being a freshman, finally going to college games as a student is like a big … it was so exciting and just being at Heinz and watching the away games on TV was just so fun,” Thompson said. “And seeing Kenny do so well and now being up for the Heisman.”