Ohio State hit the mats in Ann Arbor on Friday and left with a dominant win over the defending Big Ten champion Michigan.
The No. 5 Buckeyes won seven of their 10 matches to secure a 23-15 victory over the No. 7 Wolverines inside the Crisler Center. With the dual win – Ohio State's first in Ann Arbor since the 2017-18 season – head coach Tom Ryan's squad is now 10-1 on the season with a 4-0 mark in the Big Ten and has positioned itself as one of the conference's best teams to this point in the season.
Let's break down how it happened.
The dual started at 125 pounds between No. 10 Malik Heinselman and No. 20 Jack Medley of Michigan. Medley scored the match's first points via an escape to start the second. Heinselman responded with a takedown, followed by another Medley escape to tie the score a two as the wrestlers headed into the third.
In the final two minutes, Heinselman secured a reversal to take a 4-3 lead over Medley. It would be a lead he wouldn't relinquish as the bout came to a close, as the 125-pounder fended over several attacks from Medley to capture a decision and three team points for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State's newest black shirt, Jesse Mendez – the No. 9 wrestler at 133 – was next on the mat for the Buckeyes and faced No. 12 Dylan Ragusin of Michigan. After five minutes of competition, the match's only points were from a Ragusin escape at the start of the second.
However, the third period (and some extra wrestling) brought fireworks for Ohio State. Mendez used an escape of his own to tie the bout at one early in the last frame of regulation. The wrestlers would endure several stalemates in the final moments and required a sudden victory to decide a winner.
With that additional period, Mendez wasted no time and quickly took down Ragusin with a powerful slam to secure a 3-1 win and three points for the Buckeyes.
A couple of Ohio boys battled on the mat next as No. 18 Dylan D’Emilio took on No. 23 Cole Mattin of Michigan. And compared to the first two matches, many more points were scored in this one.
After two periods, D'Emilio led 5-4 with points from multiple takedowns and an escape. Mattin then started the third on bottom and escaped to tie the bout at four-all. In the third, D'Emilio, who once told Eleven Warriors he "hates Michigan more than anything," used his hatred to power himself to victory, securing a takedown to seal a 7-5 decision and extend Ohio State's lead to 9-0 after three matches.
Following D'Emilio's victory, Savage Time began in Ann Arbor as No. 3 Sammy Sasso met Fidel Mayora of Michigan in the 149-pound division. In what would eventually be a technical fall for Sasso, the Nazareth, Pennsylvania, native put on a takedown clinic and outclassed Mayora in Ann Arbor.
With nine takedowns, one escape and a riding time point, Sasso defeated Mayora 20-5 to put five points on the board for the Buckeyes and extend Ohio State's lead to 14-0 over Michigan, stunning the Wolverine fans who filled in the Crisler Center for the dual.
Ohio State suffered its first defeat of the night when No. 10 Will Lewan of Michigan beat No. 23 Paddy Gallagher via sudden victory takedown – a call that head coach Tom Ryan challenged but was upheld by the referees to award Lewan with a 6-4 win.
Despite the loss, Gallagher's efforts were still encouraging for the Buckeyes, as the second-year wrestler went toe-to-toe with one of the nation's best in Lewan, collecting a takedown and two escapes against the All-American wrestler from Michigan.
Ohio State entered intermission with a 14-3 advantage over the Wolverines.
In the surprise outcome of the night, No. 9 Carson Kharchla suffered a fall to No. 6 Cameron Amine after three periods of regulation and two periods of sudden victory.
Kharchla and Amine competed in what ended up being a battle of wills, testing each other throughout the over nine-minute match. The wrestlers were all square at one after three periods, and the same was true following the first sudden victory.
In the second frame of extras, Kharchla appeared to secure a takedown that would have won Ohio State the match. Still, the referees chose not to award the Buckeye two points, causing Ryan, J Jaggers and Logan Stieber to become exasperated. Kharchla and Amine then returned to the middle, where the Michigan wrestler caught Kharchla off guard to capture a pin and six points for the Wolverines.
The Buckeyes weren't down for long after Kharchla's loss, as No. 8 Ethan Smith took care of business in a 10-6 win over Max Maylor of Michigan to extend Ohio State's lead to 17-9.
Smith claimed his victory with an aggressive mix of offense, including takedowns and escapes. That aggression was on full display in the closing moments of the third period. Smith held an 8-5 advantage with 1:22 left in the final frame and kicked into another gear as he collected a fourth takedown to secure his ninth and 10th points and earn a decision.
Ohio State's momentum kept building as No. 5 Kaleb Romero carried the torch from Smith and claimed a 7-4 decision over No. 8 Matt Finesilver to extend the Buckeyes' lead to 20-9 over the Wolverines.
In a back-and-forth battle, Romero and Finesilver traded takedowns and escapes deep into the third period. However, Romero took control of the match in the final moments. As the match came to a close and the buzzer was about to sound, Romero executed a pull-and-chase to perfection and claimed the three-point decision over Finesilver, extending Ohio State's lead to 11 with two matches left in the dual.
Gavin Hoffman, the No. 21 wrestler at 197 pounds, made it three consecutive match wins for the Buckeyes by defeating Rylan Rogers of Michigan in a 5-3 decision – a win that officially secured Ohio State's team victory in Ann Abor.
Hoffman showed tremendous grit in his bout with Rogers and sustained numerous shots from the Michigan wrestler. He also dealt several shots of his own, as the Montoursville, Pennsylvania, native had two takedowns and an escape in the two-point win over his opponent.
With Ohio State's dual victory secured, Ryan opted to send Hogan Swenski to the mat to face No. 1 Mason Parris as a replacement for No. 16 Tate Orndorff. Parris displayed dominance against Swenski and made quick work of the Buckeye by pinning him with a little over one minute remaining in the dual. The Michigan wrestler's win added six points to Wolverines' total and brought the match to its final score of 23-15.
Ohio State will return to the mats on Sunday for a dual against Michigan State at the Covelli Center. The match begins at 1 p.m. and will be broadcast live on BTN+.