The No. 4 Ohio State wrestling team used bonus points from three pins to defeat the No. 12 Illinois Fighting Illini 29-18 on Sunday.
The Buckeyes got off to a slow start, as Illinois’ Travis Piotrowski cruised to a 10-0 upset over twelfth ranked Jose Rodriguez in the 125-pound weight class. The team followed the loss in the first matchup with a 12-4 major decision victory by redshirt junior and No. 2 nationally ranked Nathan Tomasello over No. 4 Zane Richards.
OSU true freshman Luke Pletcher continued his impressive first year, picking up a 10-4 decision over Mousa Jodehat at 141 pounds.
In the 149-pound matchup, fifth-ranked Micah Jordan and Eric Barone got off to a slow 0-0 start after one period, but Jordan eventually defeated Barone with an emphatic pin in the third period, putting the Buckeyes up 13-4 for the day.
Ohio State then dropped three matchups in a row, starting with an 18-4 technical fall loss by 157-pounder Anthony DeCarlo to Kyle Langenferder, which allowed Illinois to make up some ground. The teams went into halftime with an overall score of 13-9.
Redshirt sophomore Cody Burcher was defeated by top-ranked Isaiah Martinez 22-7. Martinez, a two-time national champion, easily handled Burcher at 165 pounds before redshirt senior Justin Kresevic dropped a 18-9 major decision to No. 12 Zac Brunson at 174 pounds.
However, the Buckeyes dominated the higher weight classes, starting with an 18-7 major decision by No. 10 Myles Martin over No. 13 Emery Parker. No. 5 Redshirt freshman Kollin Moore followed that performance up with a pin victory over Illinois’ Andre Lee.
“When you get a guy taken down, you just gotta smell the blood,” Moore said about his victory over Lee. “You want the pin.”
World champion and heavyweight Kyle Snyder returned for the Buckeyes after not competing in their Jan. 6 tilt against Wisconsin in dominant fashion, finishing with nine takedowns in less than two rounds en route to pinning Deuce Rachal of Illinois to put an exclamation point on the Buckeyes’ performance.
“It’s huge (winning a match with a pin), you want to finish the match with a pin,” Tomasello said after the dual. “That’s six points for the team, and looking at the Big Ten and Nationals (championships) it’s going to come down to some big wins and to get bonus points, that’s huge.”
The fourth-ranked Buckeyes are not lacking confidence, as shown by their head coach, Tom Ryan.
“We know that we’re in the hunt for a championship this year. We also know that these bonus points are critical, not in a dual, but in the national tournament,” Ryan said. “We have got to be a team that scores bonus points come March.”
Ohio State will travel to Olney, Maryland to take on the University of Maryland on Jan. 22 at Good Counsel High School. Good Counsel is the high school of Snyder, who amassed a 179-0 record while wrestling there.