In wake of the Board of Trustees' decision to dismiss Penn State President Graham Spanier and head football coach Joe Paterno, thousands of students gathered at Old Main at around 10:30 p.m., shouting chants of "F--- the Trustees" and "We want Joe."
To some students, like Andrew Hanselman, Paterno was Penn State.
"Being accepted to Penn State felt like a family, and Joe Paterno was the father. Now that he's gone my heart is in two," Hanselman (senior-marketing) said.
Jimmy Gallagher, raised on the shoulders of students at the top of the Old Main staircase, shouted from a megaphone.
"We stand united as students. We don't care what anyone else has to say. We want Joe and we want him back," Gallagher (freshman-energy business and finance) said.
The rally at Old Main lasted for about 20 minutes, then moved to Beaver Canyon at about 11 p.m.
Fireworks were set off near Pugh Street and Beaver Avenue while police officers tried to direct traffic through the mob of people.
One person was raised on the shoulders of other students, starting a "F--- the Trustees" chant.
Many expressed their concerns about the Board of Trustees' decision.
Matt Villani said the Board of Trustees' decision tarnished Paterno's legacy at Penn State.
"There's a large student and alumni outcry against what happened," Villani (freshman-industrial engineering) said. "They should have let him finish his last home game."
Despite Paterno not being able to finish the season, Villani said the morale will be higher at the game versus Nebraska Saturday.
During the riot, two light posts were ripped down -- one on Beaver and one on College Avenue.
The crowd also tipped over a WTAJ news van on College Avenue, and continued to walk on top of it. The damage included dented car roofs and shattered back windows.
"We support JoePa, but it doesn't need to result in tipping vans," Mike Cannata (freshman-political science) said. "We can show our support in other ways."
Smells of gasoline saturated East College Avenue after the van was tipped. Gasoline leaked and fire trucks were called to the scene.
"This is the first time I can say I don't love this school," said Travis Salters (senior-broadcast journalism and African and African American studies), president of the Penn State chapter of the NAACP.
The crowd lit a small fire on the Old Main lawn which was put out immediately by people standing nearby.
Rocks thrown from crowds on the sides of the road hit one man with a camera and broke car windows.
Penn State text alert called for an official dispersal order for Old Main and downtown State College. Everyone was required to vacate both areas immediately, according to the text.
The crowd on College Avenue dispersed around 1 a.m. Dozens of police officers remained in the street, controlling the few who remained on the sidewalks.
Collegian staff writers Tim Gilbert and Liz Dennerlein, Aria Moyer, Danae Blasso, Lynn Ondrusek, Mindy Szkaradnik, Jessica Weber, Christina Gallagher, Kristin Stoller, Brittany Horn and Stephen Shiflett contributed to this report.