STILLWATER, Okla. – The landscape in college wrestling these days shows that a team missing starters will struggle to beat quality opponents.
The University of Oklahoma beat rival Oklahoma State back in December. On Sunday, minus four starters due to various injuries, there was little drama as the Cowboys rolled to a 29-9 victory as the program celebrated seventy years of wrestling at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“It is what it is,” said Cowboy senior Chris Perry, who pinned Sooner backup Derek Gieges at 174 pounds to put the hosts up 26-3. “All you can do is wrestle who they put in front of you.”
An anticipated rematch with top-ranked Andrew Howe never materialized as Sooner head coach Mark Cody used backups at 125, 157, 174, and 285 pounds. Howe (20-0) picked up one of OU’s three victories, beating Jordan Rogers, 9-2, at 184 pounds. Travis Rutt (19-2) beat Nolan Boyd at 197 pounds and Kendric Maple (17-3) avenged a loss to Josh Kindig from the first meeting in Norman at 149 pounds.
“It’s unfortunate, because Bedlam is a big dual for us,” said Cody, a former assistant coach at OSU. “I can’t forfeit, and we are, with what we have right now due to injuries, in a tough situation. Against a team like Oklahoma State, one of the best in the country, you can’t be without your starters.”
From the outset, the Cowboys (8-4) were the aggressors.
Eddie Klimara (14-6) pinned Sean Williams in 3:30 to open the dual. Jon Morrison (19-1) followed with a 7-3 win over fellow All-American Cody Brewer at 133 pounds. Morrison broke open a 4-3 match with a physical attack and finish early in the third period.
“As a team, we are wrestling much better,” Morrison said. “We have some guys who are picking up some momentum at the right time of the season. It’s always big to win this dual. We had a good crowd and this keeps things going for us and gives us confidence going into our match with Penn State next weekend.”
Rookie Anthony Collica (23-6) controlled Nick Lester at 141 pounds before the Sooners finally breached the scoreboard with Maple’s 7-3 win over Kindig. Maple (18-3) had a strong third period after the two were tied at 4-4 after five minutes.
All-American Alex Dieringer (22-1) took care of 141-pound backup Dryden Dennis at 157 pounds, rolling to an 18-2 technical fall. Tyler Caldwell, who started his career at OU, beat Clark Glass, 5-1, at 165 pounds to put OSU up 20-3. Perry’s pin all-but-ended any Sooner hopes.
“I know (OU) wasn’t able to put the team on the mat that they wanted, but I felt that it was another good performance,” said OSU head coach John Smith. “Even the matches we lost, I felt like we were competitive.
“We are continuing to improve at a number of weights; we still have work to do, but there are some positive signs as we move into February.”
In the first meeting of this season, Rutt picked up a major decision and Ross Larson beat Austin Marsden in the final bout to give OU a one-point dual win. This time around, with the dual out of reach, Marsden (16-6) beat Zach Merrill, 8-2, to fashion the final score. Larson, like Jarrod Patterson at 125, Justin DeAngelis at 157, and Danny Chaid at 184, could not go in the 170th meeting between the programs. Three of those four picked up wins in the December meeting.
Next Sunday, the Cowboys travel to Pennsylvania to face off with reigning national champion Penn State, who suffered a loss at Minnesota on Sunday.
“It is going to be fun,” Morrison said. “Wrestling at (Gallagher-Iba) is fun, but going on the road for big duals like that is always great. It should be a great environment.”
OKLAHOMA STATE 29, OKLAHOMA 9
at Stillwater, Okla., Feb. 9
125 - No. 20 Eddie Kilmara (OSU) pin Sean Williams (OU), 3:31
133 - No. 4 Jon Morrison (OSU) dec. No. 7 Cody Brewer, 7-3
141 - No. 17 Anthony Collica (OSU) dec. No. 20 Nick Lester, 4-0
149 - No. 2 Kendric Maple (OU) dec. No. 10 Josh Kindig (OSU), 7-3
157 - No. 2 Alex Dieringer (OSU) tech. fall Dryden Dennis (OU), 18-2
165 - No. 5 Tyler Caldwell (OSU) dec. Clark Glass (OU), 5-1
174 - No. 2 Chris Perry (OSU) pin Derek Geiges (OU), 1:51
184 – No. 1 (at 174) Andrew Howe (OU) dec. Jordan Rogers (OSU), 9-2
197 – No. 4 Travis Rutt (OU) dec. Nolan Boyd (OU), 9-4
285 - No. 19 Austin Marsden (OSU) dec. Zach Merrill (OU), 8-2