CORVALLIS, Ore. -- A takedown by heavyweight Cody Crawford with 13 seconds remaining in sudden victory gave him a 3-1 victory over Nathan Butler of Stanford on Monday, powering the Oregon State wrestling team to a 18-15 triumph over the 21st-ranked Cardinal in their Pacific-12 Conference opener.
Crawford and Butler, ranked 9th nationally, each had an escape in regulation and entered the one-minute sudden-victory period tied 1-1. Inspired by a cheering Gill Coliseum crowd of 917, Crawford fought off a shot and turned the tables on Butler with a takedown of his own as the Beavers (3-6, 1-0 Pac-12) snapped a three-match losing streak in their first home appearance since Nov. 20, 2016.
"I felt him get on my leg, and I had to keep my hips in, like we worked on all week," Crawford said in describing the decisive moment. "I kept my hips in, went around behind him, keeping my hips in the whole time," and took Butler to the mat to improve to 17-5.
"I pride myself on endurance; we come out here and work hard," he added. "We don't come out here to go easy; we put it all out there.
"I definitely heard the crowd. I'm from Oregon [Turner], all the people in the stands get me going and get our team going. We love competing in Gill. "
A 197-pounder his first three seasons, Crawford moved up when incumbent All-American heavyweight Amarveer Dhesi suffered a season-ending knee injury just before the season started. He now weighs about 245 pounds.
"I love it," Crawford said of his new weight class. "Best decision I ever made. I had a tough time making weight and did not feel I could compete at 197. It was the right move to go up."
The Beavers built a 6-0 lead on decisions by Kegan Calkins (125) and Joey Palmer (133), who topped 13th-ranked Connor Schram 2-1. Joey Delgado built the lead to 9-3 with a decision at 149 but the Cardinal (8-3, 2-1), who have already defeated Boise State and Arizona, won three matches in a row for a 15-9 advantage.
However, Boise State transfer Seth McLeod won at 184 in his home debut and Corey Griego prevailed at 197, tying the match 15-15 and setting up the thrilling Crawford-Butler finale.
"It was a much better effort," OSU coach Jim Zalesky said. "The lineup changes we made, putting Bob Coleman down to 174 (from 184), his natural weight, he fought hard and getting (transfer) Seth McLeod in there just helps our lineup.
"It was a hard-fought match. I told them we need better fight and better effort, and that is the first time I've seen our team have the fight and effort I want to see, up and down the lineup."
The Beavers resume a busy week of Pac-12 action on Friday when they face the host Boise State Broncos. The annual Border War begins at 1 p.m. at Taco Bell Arena and will be televised by the Pac-12 Network.
OSU returns home on Sunday to battle Arizona State in a 1 p.m. dual at Gill Coliseum. It will be televised by the Pac-12 Network.
"We need to keep getting better, and peak at the end of the year," Crawford said. "That's what we always do; right now we're just getting ready for March," and the Pac-12 and NCAA tournaments.
For more information on the Oregon State wrestling team, follow the club's official Twitter account at Twitter.com/Beaverwrestling, or by Facebook at Facebook.com/OregonStateWrestling.
125: Kegan Calkins (OSU) dec. Brian Rossi (S), 5-2
133: Joey Palmer (OSU) dec. Connor Schram (S), 2-1
141: Joey McKenna (S) dec. Jack Hathaway (OSU), 5-1
149: Joey Delgado (OSU) dec. Tommy Pawelski (S), 5-0
157: Paul Fox (S) dec. Abraham Rodriguez (OSU), 7-4
165: Keaton Subjeck (S) pinned Weston Dobler (OSU), 2:42
174: Peter Galli (S) dec. Bob Coleman (OSU), 6-2
184: Seth McLeod (OSU) dec. Zach Nevills (S), 9-2
197: Corey Griego (OSU) dec. Josh Marchok (S), 9-5
Hwt.: Cody Crawford (OSU) dec. Nathan Butler (S), 3-1, SV