Despite entering this home dual with a higher national ranking, the No. 2 Ohio Buckeyes dropped 19-17 to No. 6 Michigan in a Big Ten battle after losing six of the ten weight classes. The Buckeyes kept it close, leading by one point heading into the ranked heavyweight match, but No. 19 Chase Singletary couldn’t pull off the upset win against Michigan’s No. 8 Mason Parris.
Ohio State will take the mat next weekend against Illinois in a match that the Buckeyes should win. For now though, head coach Tom Ryan’s team will walk away from their first season loss with a list of things to fix before March. Here’s what we learned from Wolverines' win and what we need to know about the Buckeyes' loss as these two teams prepare for No. 1 Penn state on Feb. 1 and Feb. 8, respectively.
Stevan Micic lives up to his No. 1 ranking
133: Big 6-0 lead early after the first period for Micic, who scored off a snap down and go behind and added 4NF off a leg turk. He's got 1:57 RT and will start down in the second. pic.twitter.com/3uwlH5z1Gw— Michigan Wrestling (@umichwrestling) January 26, 2019
Top-ranked 133-pounder Stevan Micic proved he’s worth the hype after earning a 14-1 major decision over No. 6 Luke Pletcher in one of the more highly-touted bouts of the night. Micic came out firing, picking up an early takedown and four near fall points before the end of the first period. He controlled that period, building off of the momentum of 125-pound teammate Drew Mattin’s win, and racked up 1:57 minutes of riding time in the first three minutes. He then maintained his power through the remaining two periods to total three takedowns, six back points and nearly four minutes of riding time. He’ll face Penn State’s No. 13 Roman Bravo-Young next.
Joey McKenna is ready for March
📷 ❌cKenna notches Ohio State’s first win of the night pic.twitter.com/ZIfLMwSYok— Ohio State Wrestling (@wrestlingbucks) January 26, 2019
Ohio State’s No. 2 Joey McKenna came through when his team needed him big, earning a tech fall after the Buckeyes dropped bouts at 125 and 133. He took down No. 5 Kanen Storr and showed that he can not only handle top-5 opponents, but he can handle them with bonus points. He took an early 13-2 lead over Storr in just the first period, turning him on his back twice to rack up eight nearfall points during those initial three minutes. He notched his next three points in the following period with an escape and a takedown to set himself up for the tech in the third.
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The Big Ten tournament is going to be a battle
The difference between No. 6 Michigan and No. 2 Ohio State came down to three points in the heavyweight match. Another day, another dual, Ohio State could have won. And luckily for the Buckeyes, these two teams will have another battle in just over a month. The Big Ten tournament is just around the corner, and with Michigan leaving Columbus with momentum and confidence, watch for some surprises to come as the Wolverines move through the rest of their schedule leading up to the tournament. They will travel to State College next weekend to take on the No. 1-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions, the marquee dual in their schedule. A win over Penn State is still unlikely for Michigan and would break Penn State’s 53-dual win streak, but this match will be worth watching regardless.
The Buckeyes topped Penn State in last year’s tournament before dropping to the Nittany Lions at the national tournament after a pin by Bo Nickal over Myles Martin. This year, Penn State has a stronger roster compared to Ohio State, and this loss to Michigan proves again that the Buckeye lineup isn’t as deep as it was last year with three four-time All-Americans.
Michigan’s result against Penn State next weekend will offer more indication of how the Wolverines will fare against the defending national champions at the Big Ten tournament, but this dual against Ohio State shows that their No. 6 ranking might not do them justice.
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