A year ago, the Buckeyes went to Ann Arbor and dropped a close battle on a tie-breaker that decided the very last match of the night.
The Wolverines came to Columbus Friday night, and the result wasn't even close.
Michigan won eight out of 10 matches to run away with a 29-8 victory, putting Iowa and Penn State on notice that they'll have something to say about who wins the Big Ten and NCAA titles this season. Ohio State let a couple of matches slip away, but the Wolverines' graduate-heavy roster simply had too much talent and veteran savvy for the home team to keep up.
The loss marks the first time in the Tom Ryan era that Ohio State has lost three consecutive dual meets to Michigan.
Ryan's teams have defeated the Wolverines seven times since his arrival in 2006; no other Ohio State head coach in history won more than five against That Team Up North. The Buckeyes' all-time record against Michigan now stands at 20-67-3.
Winning this one was always going to be a tall task for the host school, as Michigan was favored in eight of 10 matches from the outset. The Wolverines have seven men ranked in the top 10 of their respective weight classes; Ohio State has four.
Graduate transfer Nick Suriano got the night started for the visitors, earning a major decision over true senior Malik Heinselman at 125 pounds. Dylan Ragusin would follow suit at 133 with a major over true freshman will Betancourt.
No. 21 Dylan D'Emilio acquitted himself fairly well against No. 4 Stevan Micic, an Olympic qualifier who has been with the Michigan program for nearly eight years. The young Buckeye held the Serbian Sickle to a decision with a key takedown late to slow the flow of bonus points.
No. 2 Sammy Sasso came out swinging for the home team at 141 pounds, getting the Covelli Center crowd back into the meet, but sophomore Cole Mattin refused to shrink away from the competition and held Sasso to a mere decision.
Unranked Jashon Hubbard looked poised to turn in an upset victory over Michigan's Will Lewan at 157, but gave up a takedown late in the third when he appeared to run out of steam, putting the win out of reach.
The clear highlight of the night for Ohio State fans was No. 7 Carson Kharchla's technical fall over Patrick Nolan. Nolan was sent in to sub for No. 10 Cameron Amine, and gave up nearly 20 pounds of weight to the Columbus native; even so, Kharchla put on the kind of performance Buckeye fans want to see from the team's top talent. He'll be one to watch in March.
Ohio State wasn't out of the match at that point, down just six with four matches to wrestle. But things simply didn't break the home team's way down the stretch.
No. 7 Ethan Smith wrestled really tough through two-and-a-half periods of the match, but No. 6 Logan Massa managed a 4-point turn late to seal a decisive victory. No. 7 Kaleb Romero too, No. 2 Myles Amine to Sudden Victory and was on the cusp of finishing the upset, but got on the wrong end of the scramble and dropped a heartbreaker.
By the time the big men came to the mat the meet was decided. Gavin Hoffman couldn't find any offense against No. 8 Patrick Brucki at 197, and No. 2 Mason Parris pinned No. 12 Tate Orndorff late in the first period at heavyweight.
Essentially, Michigan won every match it was supposed to, and Ohio State won the two matches they were supposed to, based on the rankings. That's cold comfort to either the Buckeye wrestlers or the fans in the stands, but the reality is that Michigan has its sights set firmly on unseating Penn State and Iowa for top billing at the end of the season, and they've got the horses to make a legitimate run at doing so.
Ohio State, meanwhile, still has one of the best teams in the country. Ranked No. 7 in the NWCA Coaches Poll, that won't likely change much based on Friday's loss. Sammy Sasso and Carson Kharchla are legitimate title contenders, and Ethan Smith, Kaleb Romero and Tate Orndorff are all reasonable All-American candidates.
But losing to Michigan... well, to quote Ryan Day, "it’s gonna leave a mark for a while.”
|125||No. 1 Nick Suriano, major decision over No. 18 Malik Heinselman (11-3)||0||4|
|133||No. 8 Dylan Ragusin, major decision over Will Betancourt (14-5)||0||8|
|141||No. 4 Stevan Micic, decision over No. 21 Dylan D'Emilio (12-7)||0||11|
|149||No. 2 Sammy Sasso, decision over Cole Mattin (9-4)||3||11|
|157||No. 15 Will Lewan, decision over Jashon Hubbard (6-3)||3||14|
|165||No. 7 Carson Kharchla, victory by TECHNICAL FALL over Patrick Nolan (22-6)||8||14|
|174||No. 6 Logan Massa, decision over No. 7 Ethan Smith (10-5)||8||17|
|184||No. 2 Myles Amine, decision over No. 7 Kaleb Romero (3-1, Sudden Victory)||8||20|
|197||No. 8 Patrick Brucki, decision over No. 20 Gavin Hoffman (5-2)||8||23|
|HWT||No. 2 Mason Parris, victory by FALL over No. 12 Tate Orndorff (2:21)||8||29|
Things don't get any easier for the Buckeyes: Ohio State (5-1) hosts the undefeated No. 2 Iowa Hawkeyes next Friday at 8 p.m. in the Covelli Center.