MINNEAPOLIS -- The Ohio State University wrestling team marched into the Maturi Pavilion and pillaged a 22-13 win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Three bouts featured a pair of top-10 competitors squaring off, all of which went in favor of the Scarlet & Gray.
According to the rankings, Minnesota was expected to win six of 10 bouts. Ohio State flipped the script, however, with a half dozen victors. The fourth-ranked (in the NWCA Coaches Poll) Buckeyes improve to 8-2, 4-1 B1G while No. 14 Minnesota drops to 7-5, 2-2 B1G despite a top-5 standing in the tournament-based predictions.
Luke Pletcher, Kaleb Romero and Sammy Sasso were responsible for the top-10 triumphs while Ethan Smith, Jordan Decatur and Kollin Moore all accumulated bonus points over their unranked opposition.
The evening began at 157 pounds where Ryan Thomas snuck past Elijah Cleary, 3-2. Smith immediately snagged the lead at 165 pounds though, fighting for bonus points from start to finish. He recorded takedown No. 1 right off the whistle to jumpstart the bout before rattling off three third-period takedowns for a 12-4 major decision.
Romero's decision for a neutral start versus No. 7 Devin Skatzka out in Vegas last month didn't pay off in a 1-0 setback. He came away without a takedown Sunday night after making the same decision in Period 2. Scoreless heading to the third period with Skatzka's chance to start on bottom once again, the Twitter trolls emerged questioning Romero's decision. The Mechanicsburg, Ohio native muted them in the end though, finishing off his patented blast double late in the period for the bout-winning takedown.
Minnesota then secured another one-point decision at 184 pounds, cutting the dual deficit to 7-6.
Moore did what Moore does at 197 pounds, banking more bonus points for his Buckeyes. He tech'd Hunter Ritter, 19-3, for his 16th bonus-point performance as a 20-0 senior.
Gopher wins in the next two bouts shifted the lead to Minnesota momentarily, 13-12. Ohio State then scored 10 unanswered to leave no doubt with three wins in a row. Decatur ignited the flurry by putting on a takedown clinic and disposing of Jake Gliva, 16-6.
Pletcher kept it coming at 141 pounds, moving his season record to 20-0. More than half (11) of those wins have come against top-25 adversaries, including Sunday's 12-6 decision over No. 3 Mitch McKee. Pletcher fell behind 2-0 before securing 12 of the bout's next 16 points.
Sasso provided an exclamation point, putting on quite an encore to his unseating of No. 1 Pat Lugo Friday night in Iowa City. Sasso once again flashed elite defensive prowess, fending off fourth-ranked Brayton Lee's offensive advances. The pair of freshman phenoms are quite familiar with each other, splitting two previous collegiate folkstyle meetings (both 6-4 decisions) and clashing several times on the freestyle circuit. Sasso starred in the latest chapter, recording a dramatic 4-2 winner to close out the dual.
157 lbs | Ryan Thomas (MINN) def. Elijah Cleary (OSU) | D, 3-2; Team Score: 0-3
165 lbs | No. 13 Ethan Smith (OSU) def. Bailee O'Reilly (MINN) | MD, 12-4; TS: 4-3
174 lbs | No. 8 Kaleb Romero (OSU) def. No. 7 Devin Skatzka (MINN) | D, 2-1; TS: 7-3
184 lbs | No. 18 Owen Webster (MINN) def. Rocky Jordan (OSU) | D, 5-4; TS: 7-6
197 lbs | No. 1 Kollin Moore (OSU) def. Hunter Ritter (MINN) | TF, 19-3; TS: 12-6
285 lbs | No. 1 Gable Steveson (MINN) def. Gary Traub (OSU) | MD, 13-2; TS: 12-10
125 lbs | No. 14 Patrick McKee (MINN) def. Malik Heinselman (OSU) | D, 5-1; TS: 12-13
133 lbs | No. 18 Jordan Decatur (OSU) def. Jake Gliva (MINN) | MD, 16-6; TS: 16-13
141 lbs | No. 1 Luke Pletcher (OSU) def. No. 3 Mitch McKee (MINN) | D, 12-6; TS: 19-13
149 lbs | No. 6 Sammy Sasso (OSU) def. No. 5 Brayton Lee (MINN) | D, 4-2; TS: 22-13
Two more conference clashes await next week, one at home and one on the road. Ohio State hots Maryland Friday (Jan. 31) night at 7 p.m. ET before venturing to Lincoln, Neb., to face the Cornhuskers Sunday (Feb. 2) at 1 p.m. ET.