No. 8 Minnesota opens Big Ten season with 22-15 home win over No. 24 Rutgers

By Josh Schmidt, University of Minnesota | Jan. 06, 2019, 6:29 p.m. (ET)
Image of Mitchell McKee courtesy of GopherSports,com

The University of Minnesota kicked off the Big Ten season with a 22-15 dual victory over No. 20 Rutgers. The win is the Gophers seventh consecutive victory this season dating back to Nov. 25, 2018.

The Gophers remain undefeated against the Scarlet Knights, improving to 4-0 since the New Jersey school entered the Big Ten.

125-pound Sean Russell got the Gophers started fast with a 16-5 victory over Shane Metzler. Russell got to Metzler’s legs twice in the first period to take a quick 4-1 lead which he turned into a 9-2 lead by the end of the second period. With over 3:30 in riding time, Russell dominated the match for his sixth consecutive bonus point victory.

With Ethan Lizak out for the dual due to a skin issue, 133-pound Skyler Petry made his 2018-19 dual debut against No.3 Nick Suriano. Petry and Suriano were locked in a tight battle until the end of the first period where Petry found himself on his back for four nearfall points. Suriano extended the lead in the final periods before notching the tech. fall 20-4.

No. 5 Mitch McKee, wrestling for the first time at home since returning from injury, excited the crowd effortlessly. McKee got two quick takedowns in the first period before scoring two separate two-point nearfalls in the second as he rode out the entire period. McKee closed out the bout in the third period with an escape and takedown.

In his first home dual since Oklahoma State on Nov. 18, 2018 No. 11 Steve Bleise got off to a fast start with two takedowns within the first minute of the bout. Bleise got off bottom quickly in the second period and immediately turned to his double leg shot to get his offense going.

165-pound Carson Brolsma got the Gophers started out of intermission. After suffering an early takedown Brolsma got a takedown for himself and rode out the period to take a 3-2 lead into the second period. From there Brolsma scored another trio of takedowns to cement the victory.

No. 15 Devin Skatzka got his offense with a pair of first period takedwosn as well as a reversal soon after he got in a bad position. The 174-pounder transfer from Indiana finished off the match with a crucial riding time point providing the necessary cushion to leave victorious.

Heavyweight Gable Steveson continued his great freshman season with a takedown right off the whistle which he transitioned into a four-point nearfall. Steveson dominated the bout, constantly increasing his riding time advantage as he worked towards an ultimate 17-2 technical fall. He has four bonus point victories in a row since his decision over No. 6 Jordan Wood of Lehigh.

In the dual’s first battle of ranked wrestlers No.20 Tommy Thorn and No. 2 Anthony Ashnault battled again after Thorn had previously beat Ashnault by 8-1 decision years ago. Ashnault got his revenge due in large part to a first period nearfall which gave the opponent a 6-0 lead. Ashnault extended the lead to win 14-4.

184-pound Brandon Krone made the most of his time on top to take the riding time above two minutes along with a two-point nearfall. Krone let up a late takedown to No. 12 Nicholas Gravina and fell 4-3 on that move.

Making his home debut at 197-pounds Rylee Streifel survived a scoreless first period before he found himself tied at one midway through the final period. Streifel got to Matthew Correnti’s left leg but couldn’t finish. Correnti wound up with a takedown with 22 seconds remaining for the decisive score.

Minnesota was deducted a team point for arguing during the second period of the 197-pound bout.

MINNESOTA 22, RUTGERS 15
at Minneapolis, Minn.

125: No.6 Sean Russell (Minn) major dec. Shane Metzler (16-5)
133: No. 3 Nick Suriano (Rutgers) tech. fall Skyler Petry (20-5)
141: No. 5 Mitch McKee (Minn) maj. dec. Peter Lipari (13-2)
149: No. 2 Anthony Ashnault (Rutgers) major dec. No. 20 Tommy Thorn (14-4)
157: No. 11 Steve Bleise (Minn) dec. No. 17 John Van Brill (11-9)
165: Carson Brolsma (Minn) major dec. Stephen Glasgow (11-3)
174: No.15 Devin Skatzka (Minn) dec. Joe Grello (10-8)
184: No. 12 Nicholas Gravina (Rutgers) dec. Brandon Krone (4-3)
197: Matthew Correnti (Rutgers) dec. Rylee Streifel (3-2)
HWT: No. 2 Gable Steveson (Minn) tech. fall Christian Colucci (17-2)