MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. — A pair of pins by seniors Christian Cullinan and No. 5 Ben Bennett proved to be the difference as the No. 17 Central Michigan upset No. 13 Michigan 21-16 in its season opener Tuesday night at McGuirk Arena.
After trailing 2-0 in the latter stages of the third period in his dual-opening matchup at 125 with No. 15 Sean Boyle, Cullinan swung momentum in his and the Chippewas’ (1-0) favor with an escape, followed by a takedown and a pin with 20 seconds remaining in the match. The pin gave the Chippewas a 6-0 advantage to begin the dual.
Bennett’s pin at 184 came at an equally crucial point in the match, with the Chippewas trailing 13-12 after giving up seven points heading into his matchup with freshman Jordan Thomas. Bennett recorded a takedown quickly and ended the match with a pin just 1:41 into the first period.
The pin gave the Chippewas an 18-13 advantage.
Senior heavyweight Jarod Trice, ranked fourth in the nation, hit the mat for the final match of the night against redshirt freshman Justin Dozier with the Chippewas leading 18-16. Trice recorded an escape and a takedown early in the second period and took a 4-0 decision, with riding time, to clinch the upset.
No. 2 Scotti Sentes earned a 8-6 victory against Rossi Bruno at 133, with riding time, to put the Chippewas up 9-0 early.
The Wolverines responded with six unanswered points to pull to 9-6. At 141, junior Scott Mattingly held a 4-3 advantage in the late stages of the third period of his match against Camryn Jackson, but gave up an escape with 15 seconds remaining and lost 5-4 on Jackson’s riding-time point.
Senior Donnie Corby and Eric Grajales battled at 149 in what ended up being the most closely contested bout of the evening. Corby held a 2-1 advantage in the final period, but Grajales tied it up with the riding time point and forced overtime. Neither wrestler scored in the first overtime period, but Grajales earned an escape in the first half of the second extra period to claim a 3-2 decision, pulling the Wolverines within three at 9-6.
At 157, redshirt freshman Luke Smith led Michael Carpenter, 2-1 after the first period, and held on for a 3-2 decision to give the Chippewas a 12-6 lead.
No. 19 Mike Ottinger, a sophomore at 165, was upset in his opening match of the season as he fell, 8-3, to Taylor Massa. Ottinger managed three escapes, but Massa earned three takedowns, an escape and the riding time, cutting the Chippewas’ lead to 12-9.
Sophomore Anthony Bill fell 18-5 at 174 to No. 15 Dan Yates in a major decision to give the Wolverines their first lead of the night at 13-12.
After Bennett’s six-point pin gave the Chippewas an 18-13 lead, the Wolverines pulled within two, 18-16, on a 6-3 decision at 197 by No. 19 Max Huntley against CMU’s Jackson Lewis, a redshirt freshman.