CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — No. 8 Illinois won seven of 10 bouts and fifth-ranked B.J. Futrell added the exclamation point with a pin in 2:32 as the Illini pounded No. 18 Northwestern 26-10 at Huff Hall. Futrell won his eighth consecutive match and recorded his 10th pin of the season, tying for the fifth-most pins in a season in school history. The Illini improved to 12-2 on the season, and 4-2 in the Big Ten.
“It was a big win for us,” Illinois head coach Jim Heffernan said. “We won the swing matches. I was very impressed with Daryl Thomas’, Jordan Blanton and Mario Gonzalez’s wins. We were the aggressive team the entire time, we scored points and really hustled.”
No. 12 Jordan Blanton started off the dual for the Illini against Northwestern’s No. 13 Lee Munster as the two traded takedowns to end the first period 2-2. Munster started down to start the second and got the hard fought escape to make the score 3-2 before Blanton scored two takedowns to Munster’s escape to go up 6-4 to start the final period. After the neutral start, Blanton then scored four takedowns in the third period to win 14-8, to take a 3-0 lead for the Illini.
Tony Dallago recorded his fifth major decision of the season when the redshirt-sophomore moved past Robert Kellogg of Northwestern. Dallago got out to an early 7-1 lead after the first, scoring a takedown and a three-point nearfall. Kellogg returned with a takedown, then the Illini recorded a two-point reversal to go up 9-3 after the second. Dallago started down to start the third and got the escape to move the score to 10-3 before Dallago scored another takedown and riding time to defeat the Wildcat, 13-3 and push the Illini lead to 7-0.
At 197, Mario Gonzalez had a hard fought battle against John Schoen as the Wildcat slammed Gonzalez into the mat and was given an illegal hold, putting the Illini up 1-0. Gonzalez scored another takedown but was then penalized with a penalty point to lead 3-1 going into the second period. The Illini and Wildcat traded escapes to make the final score 4-2 in favor of the Orange and Blue and push the score to 10-0.
The Wildcats got on the scoreboard with the next two bouts as Pat Walker dropped his bout to Northwestern’s No. 15 Mike McMullan, 4-2 while No. 5 Jesse Delgado dropped just his fourth match this season, losing 13-7 to Levi Mele, the ninth-ranked wrestler in the nation. Northwestern’s victories made the Wildcats down by four leading into intermission23, 10-6.
Futrell took down Jameson Oster of Northwestern quickly and got him on his back, earning the fall in 2:32 to give the redshirt-junior his second consecutive fall this season. With the pin, Futrell moved up the Illinois record list as his 10 pins tie the fifth-most pins in a season in school history. With the big win, the Illini increased the lead to 16-6.
“B.J. has the ability to pin a lot of people,” Heffernan said. “Having a pin to start the second half of the match went a long way to help get the momentum back as a team.”
At 141, Daryl Thomas earned his seventh victory against a Big Ten opponent in his career, as the redshirt-junior moved past Colin Shober. Thomas scored a takedown in the first to secure the early 2-0 lead. The Illini then posted three more takedowns to Shober’s three escapes to make the score 8-3 going into the final period. After four takedowns and riding time, Thomas won his second match in two weeks by a major decision, winning tonight’s match 17-6 and bringing the Illini’s score to 20-6.
No. 16 Eric Terrazas scored two takedowns while Kaleb Friedley escaped twice to make the score 4-2. Terrazas started up for the start of the second, however Friedley got on his feet for the escape and cut the lead to 4-3 into the third. The Illini scored a takedown but Friedley scored a two-point reversal, making the score 6-5. Terrazas got the escape only to be taken down to tie the score 7-7 with 27 seconds remaining. Terrazas scored an escape and added the riding time to win the bout, 9-7. With two bouts remaining, the Illini lead by 17, 23-6.
At 157, Northwestern’s No. 2 Jason Welch was too much for Jackson Morse to handle as the Wildcat defeated Morse 13-3 to bring the team score to 23-10. However Welch’s victory would be the last for Northwestern as No. 10 Conrad Polz moved to 14-1 on the season as he defeated Pierce Harger 5-2 to give Illinois the 26-10 victory.