Illinois gets back on track with win over Ohio State

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- No. 4 Jimmy Kennedy scored a major decision in his return to the Illinois lineup and the Illini won four straight bouts from 133-157, with three major decisions, as the 19th-ranked Orange and Blue notched a 21-12 win over Ohio State at Huff Hall Friday. No. 7 B.J. Futrell (133) and Jackson Morse recorded the other major decisions in that stretch, and Joe Barczak (197) and Pat Walker (HWT) won consecutive matches early in the dual as the Illini improved to 4-4-1 overall, 2-3-1 in the Big Ten.

"We wrestled hard and I thought our guys were the aggressors throughout the match tonight," Illinois head coach Jim Heffernan said. "Kennedy definitely was a spark for us and Barczak keeps finding ways to win by wrestling hard and doing all the right things. We knew that was one of the swing matches tonight and he dominated it throughout."

Illinois has now won 11 of its last 14 matches against Ohio State and Kennedy ran his winning streak to seven. Futrell and Barczak both have won four consecutive bouts.

"I felt a little rusty early and I got off to a slow start," Kennedy said. "But once I got a few minutes in, I started feeling better and moving better."

The dual started at 174 pounds, where Dan Stelter started his first career dual meet against No. 15 Nick Heflin. Stelter got in on a leg on the edge but Heflin locked in a high crotch and forced a stalemate. After some heavy hand fighting and fakes from both wrestlers, they ended the first period on their feet. Stelter chose a neutral start to the second and got in on a leg, but Heflin sprawled out to force a stalemate. Heflin was hit with a stalling warning with 48 seconds left in the period and after another shot by Stelter, the period ended at neutral. Heflin started down in the third and escaped quickly for a 1-0 lead. Stelter had a pair of half-shots before Heflin countered with a throw-by attempt and a double-leg attempt, but none of them landed. Heflin got behind Stelter on a throw-by, but the Illini sophomore escaped before control was established to remain neutral. Neither could land any late offense and Heflin took the 1-0 win to put the Buckeyes up 3-0.

At 184, Dallago got a leg against C.J. Magrum with just under two minutes left in the period, but the Buckeye sprawled out to avoid any scoring. Magrum shot in on a leg after a restart but Dallago kept a tight waist to force a stalemate. The period ended scoreless and Magrum started down in the second. Dallago rode him for 15 seconds before the Buckeye slid out the back for a 1-0 lead. Dallago tried a single-leg to a carry, but Magrum blocked it and forced a restart. Magrum got in on a leg with 18 seconds left but Dallago sprawled out to avoid any scoring and time ran out. Dallago started down in the third and escaped in five seconds, tying the match 1-1. Magrum shot in on a leg off a restart but Dallago kept a tight waist into a high crotch before Magrum finished it with 30 seconds left for a 3-1 lead. Magrum was warned for stalling as Dallago went out of bounds but the Buckeye rode out Dallago for the 3-1 win and a 6-0 Ohio State lead.

Joe Barczak got in on a leg and Peter Capone initiated a scramble, the likes of which are rarely seen at 197 pounds, with Barczak scoring the takedown and getting two near-fall points before giving up the reversal to lead 4-2 with 42 seconds left in the period. Capone rode out Barczak and started down in the second and escaped in five seconds, cutting the Illini's lead to 4-3. Barczak got in on a leg with 45 seconds left and worked into a takedown with three seconds left, riding out Capone for the 6-3 lead after five minutes. Barczak started down in the third and escaped in 20 seconds to extend his margin to 7-3. He stayed on the offensive, shooting in on a leg and converting the takedown much more easily than in previous periods, to go up 9-3. Barczak rode him out for the 9-3 win, his fourth-straight, to bring the Illini within 6-3.

Zach Stolarsky came out aggressively against Illinois' Pat Walker at heavyweight, nearly scoring off the opening whistle, and notching a takedown 35 seconds into the bout. Walker nearly worked into a reversal but Stolarsky held him at bay to force a stalemate. Walker did score a reversal off a restart to even the score, 2-2, but Stolarsky escaped 13 seconds later. Walker kept pushing, though, hitting a single-leg and scoring the takedown to go up 4-3. Walker nearly scored back points on the edge but Stolarsky was able to belly out enough to avoid giving up any points. Walker started down in the second and escaped in 10 seconds, extending his lead to 5-3, and he nearly hit a takedown on the edge but both men tumbled out of bounds before Walker could gain control. Stolarsky shot in but Walker blocked it and circled around for the takedown with 12 seconds left. He rode out the Buckeye and took a 7-3 lead to the third period, where Stolarsky started down. Walker put on a hard ride, getting his riding-time advantage to nearly two minutes before Stolarsky was hit with a stalling warning and Walker cut him loose. Walker took a few late shots, looking for bonus points, but Stolarsky fended them off as the Illini won, 8-4, tying the dual, 6-6.

At 125, Ohio State's Bo Touris scored a takedown 36 seconds into his bout with Logan Arlis but Arlis escaped off a restart. Touris got a leg once again and dropped Arlis for another takedown. Arlis escaped 33 seconds later but Touris got another takedown off a single-leg to go up 6-2. Touris tried to turn Arlis near the end of the period but the Illini freshman reversed him to cut the margin to 6-4. Touris took 38 seconds of injury time after the period before Arlis started down in the second and escaped off the whistle. Arlis pushed the pace in the second, using a double-leg to start a scramble that eventually got stalemated before any points were awarded. Arlis nearly got in on a leg but Touris threw him by for the takedown. Arlis escaped with three seconds, cutting the Buckeye's lead to 8-6 with 1:26 of riding time. Touris chose a neutral start to the third and Arlis shot early, but they went out of bounds. The pair worked into a scramble that Touris won, sliding behind Arlis to score a takedown and go up 10-6. Touris nearly got Arlis on his back on the edge as time dwindled, but no back points were awarded and Touris added the riding-time point for an 11-6 decision, giving the Buckeyes a 9-6 lead.

Futrell and No. 20 Ian Paddock started their 133-pound bout with a flurry of action but no points before Paddock aggravated a shoulder injury that forced him to take 47 seconds of injury time. After the restart, Futrell picked Paddock's ankle and took him down for a 2-0 lead. Futrell was tough on top, riding Paddock for 1:05 before the Buckeye escaped. Futrell continued to attack, faking the single-leg before hitting a double-leg and putting Paddock on his back for a two-point near-fall and a 6-1 lead. He rode out Paddock and the Buckeye started down in the second. Futrell cut him loose after 35 seconds and hit a single-leg, planting him for the takedown and an 8-2 advantage. Futrell cut him loose off a restart and shot in off another restart, grabbing an ankle and scoring the takedown. He rode out Paddock and chose a neutral start to the third. Paddock took a shot but Futrell blocked it and planted him with a double-leg for the takedown, locking in a cross-face for a three-point near-fall and a 15-3 lead. Futrell cut him loose with 38 seconds left but Paddock hit a throw-by takedown as the buzzer sounded. Futrell added 3:46 of riding time for the 16-6 major decision, pushing the Illini on top 10-9.

Kennedy returned to the Illinois lineup at 141 against Randy Languis and the two traded shots early in the first period. After a restart with 90 seconds left in the stanza, Kennedy hit a double-leg and got the takedown. Kennedy cut Languis loose off a restart, Languis shot and Kennedy blocked it before circling behind for the takedown. He rode out the Buckeye for a 4-1 lead after three minutes. Languis started down in the second and Kennedy rode him for 45 seconds before cutting him loose. He quickly hit a double-leg takedown and cut the Buckeye freshman loose once more for a 6-3 advantage. Kennedy got an ankle and hustled to the takedown before riding out Languis for an 8-3 margin after two periods. Kennedy chose a neutral start to the third and hit a quick single-leg that Languis tried to fend off with a high crotch, but the Illini senior worked it into a takedown. He cut the Buckeye loose, leading 10-4, and got another single-leg but it was stalemated out. Kennedy got a double-leg with 10 seconds left but Languis kept a high crotch for a few seconds before the takedown was awarded with two seconds left to give Kennedy the 13-4 major decision and extending Illinois' lead to 14-9.

No. 20 Eric Terrazas got a leg on the mat edge and worked it into a takedown one minute into his match against Mike Fee at 149. Fee escaped 29 seconds later Terrazas shot in on a leg on the edge once again, but Fee was able to keep the whizzer in to block the attempt. Terrazas got another single-leg, eliciting a stalling warning on Fee, and he was able to complete the takedown before riding out the Buckeye for a 4-1 lead after one period. Fee started down in the second and Terrazas rode him hard for 55 seconds before cutting him loose. Terrazas hit a double-leg and worked through for the takedown in the center, extending his lead to 6-2. He rode out Fee and started down in the third. Terrazas escaped after 53 seconds, keeping his riding-time advantage at exactly 1:00. Terrazas tried some late offense, looking for the major decision, but couldn't land any shots, taking the 8-2 win to push the Illini lead to 17-9.

Jackson Morse hit a takedown 39 seconds into his 157-pound match against Jared Kusar and rode him for 18 seconds before the Buckeye escaped. Morse got another takedown with 1:45 left in the first and rode Kusar for 48 seconds before Kusar sprung free. The Buckeye tried to throw Morse, but he blocked it and circled behind for the takedown with 26 seconds left. He rode out Kusar for the 6-2 lead and 1:32 of riding time after the first period. Kusar started down in the second and Morse was tough on top, controlling him for 1:29 before he escaped. Morse kept on the offensive, hitting a double-leg 14 seconds later and taking Kusar straight to his back for two near-fall points and a 10-3 lead after two periods. Morse started down in the third and escaped quickly before nailing a single-leg takedown 17 seconds into the period. He cut Kusar loose and nailed a double-leg with 51 seconds left to go up 15-5 after he cut Kusar once more. He tried another shot but Kusar blocked it as the Illini freshman added 4:10 of riding time for a 16-5 major decision, locking up the dual victory with a 21-9 margin.

At 165, Conrad Polz got a leg and worked behind No. 7 Colt Sponseller, but he couldn't get Sponseller to the ground and the Buckeye broke the hold by scrambling through. Polz got a leg with 1:08 left in the first and dropped Sponseller for the takedown a few seconds later, taking a 2-0 lead. Sponseller escaped 18 seconds later and the two finished the period on their feet. Polz started down in the second and Sponseller rode him out. The Buckeye started down in the third and escaped in 10 seconds. Polz controlled his head and nearly worked to his leg, but Sponseller went out of bounds. Both men traded shots but neither could score and Sponseller added the decisive riding-time point for the 3-2 win to make the final score 21-12 in Illinois' favor.

The Illini return to action on Feb. 11 when they travel to No. 2 Penn State for a 6 p.m. CT start. Illinois then takes on Lock Haven the next night at 6:30 p.m.

174: #15 Nick Heflin (OSU) dec. Dan Stelter (ILL), 1-0 (0-3)
184: C.J. Magrum (OSU) dec. Tony Dallago (ILL), 3-1 (0-6)
197: Joe Barczak (ILL) dec. Peter Capone (OSU), 9-3 (3-6)
HWT: Pat Walker (ILL) dec. Zach Stolarsky (OSU), 8-4 (6-6)
125: Bo Touris (OSU) dec. Logan Arlis (ILL), 11-6 (6-9)
133: #7 B.J. Futrell (ILL) maj. dec. #20 Ian Paddock (OSU), 16-6 (10-9)
141: #4 Jimmy Kennedy (ILL) maj. dec. Randy Languis (OSU), 13-4 (14-9)
149: #19 Eric Terrazas (ILL) dec. Mike Fee (OSU), 8-2 (17-9)
157: Jackson Morse (ILL) maj. dec. Jared Kusar (OSU), 16-5 (21-9)
165: #7 Colt Sponseller (OSU) dec. Conrad Polz (ILL), 3-2 (21-12)


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