Ohio State visited Maryland on Friday and were not nice guests, winning 45-3. They weren't going to be any kinder as they came into Piscataway Sunday afternoon.
And considering the loaded lineup the Buckeyes put out, it probably wasn’t going to be pretty, or a win. But while OSU took the first four bouts, building a 19-0 lead, before Nick Suriano recorded his sixth tech fall to stop the bleeding, it was a better result than some expected.
Undefeated Ohio State (8-0, 3-0) took the match over Rutgers (3-3, 1-2) by a 26-11 count. But it was far from a rout.
The match of the day, though, was at 149 where Eleazer DeLuca stunned No. 5 Ke-Shawn Hayes, taking him to his back in the last ten seconds of the match for the win. More on that later.
With the Buckeyes having ranked wrestlers at eight of ten weights, the Knights had a tough battle ahead. Starting at 174 pounds, Joe Grello (5-4) was not intimidated by No. 3 Bo Jordan, losing a by a 3-0 count.
Nick Gravina was held out at 184, with Jordan Pagano facing No. 2 Myles Martin. Martin came out with full force, pinning Pagano in the first period. OSU continued its early run with top ranked Kollin Moore earning a major decision over redshirt senior Anthony Messner, 18-7. Again, head coach Scott Goodale changed wrestlers, putting in Messner over Kevin Mulligan. The fourth win to open the match for the Bucks came at heavyweight where Kevin Snyder, brother of three time All American Kyle Snyder, pinned Razohnn Gross. After four bouts, the Knights were down 19-0.
But the scenario changed as the wrestling went down to the lower weights. No. 1 ranked Nathan Tomasello, OSU’s All American, did not wrestle at 125, as we discussed in our preview of this match. Tomasello wrestled against Maryland on Friday, recording an 18-2 tech fall. But it was made known he would not wrestle against Rutgers - and No. 2 Nick Suriano. Suriano faced Braken Mead and did to him what Tomasello did on Friday: tech fall at 6:49, 24-9. As Suriano (15-0) broke OSU’s winning streak, it also seemed to slow the momentum as the match went into intermission.
After the break, Scott DelVecchio gave No. 3 Luke Pletcher all he could handle. In the third period, DelVecchio slipped and Pletcher got in for a takedown. But back on their feet, DelVecchio got in tight on a leg but couldn’t finish as time ran out, losing 4-2.
Mike VanBrill faced off against No. 6 Joey McKenna (5-0), with the Blair Academy grad taking a 13-3 major decision over the Knight.
Then came Eleazer DeLuca. DeLuca, at No. 14, faced No. 5 Ke-Shawn Hayes (17-1 coming in). A scoreless first period laid the ground work for what would follow. Deep shots and tough scrambles indicated no one was giving up anything easily. Starting on top in the second. Hayes rode tight and got a four point tilt and led after two periods, 4-0. Hayes had riding time, so even when DeLuca caught him for a four point near fall - and about thirty seconds on his back - DeLuca still had work to do. Hayes got out and with the match closing, the score was tied at six with Hayes having the riding time advantage. But DeLuca never stopped coming, shooting and pressuring the Buckeye. With about ten seconds left, DeLuca got a bear hug and took Hayes to the mat with a lateral drop for a six point play and the 12-7 victory.
“[His match] was pretty exciting,” Goodale said. “We were kind of waiting for that place [the RAC] to get going like that and he’s capable of that type of technique. I’m glad he was able to hit it on a really good kid, the No. 5 kid in the country. That’s a game changer.”
It kept the Buckeyes on top with a 26-8 lead and the match wasn’t in doubt. But the final two bouts weren’t give aways by the Knights. Mike Van Brill lost by an 11-5 count to No. 6 Micah Jordan before Richie Lewis sent the crowd of 5,109 home on a happy note. Facing No. 11 Te’Shan Campbell, Lewis kept the pressure on and, as with other bouts, never stopped. Tough scrambles and good defense put the match at 1-1 after two periods. But a pair of take downs in the third gave Lewis the 5-2 victory.
“You try to take positives from everything,” said head coach Scott Goodale. “There’s some ups and downs, but Nick [Suriano] did what he needed to do, we picked off two nationally-ranked guys at 49 and 65, so that’s big. That’s important for us. There are little battles within those matches that you have to win and good for those guys. Now we just have to keep that momentum going.”
Ohio State won seven bouts to RU’s three, but the Bucks also scored two falls and two majors.
The Knights are home again this Friday as the No. 19 Tar Heels of North Carolina come to the RAC for a 7 pm start.
• With his win over No. 5 Hayes, DeLuca now owns two victories over ranked Intermat foes this season. DeLuca also picked off then-No. 14 Davion Jefferies (Oklahoma), 8-2, on Nov. 11 during the Journeymen duals
• Lewis has now collected wins over ranked Intermat foes in back-to-back matches. He also defeated Anthony Valencia (Arizona State) last weekend during his third-place match at the Midlands Championships.
• Suriano has now outscored his opponents 93-24 in his six dual matches and 204-46 in his first 15 matches of 2017-18.
No. 2 Ohio State 26, No. 17 Rutgers 11
Dual started at 174 pounds Attendance: 5,109
174: No. 3/3/3 Bo Jordan (OSU) wins by decision over Joseph Grello (RU), 7-3; Ohio State leads, 3-0
184: No. 2/2/2 Myles Martin (OSU) wins by fall over Jordan Pagano (RU) (0:37); Ohio State leads, 9-0
197: No. 1/1/1 Kollin Moore (OSU) wins by major decision over Anthony Messner (RU), 18-7; Ohio State leads, 13-0
HWT: No. 1/1/1 Kyle Snyder (OSU) wins by fall over Razohnn Gross (RU) (1:59); Ohio State leads, 19-0
125: No. 2/2/2 Nick Suriano (RU) win by tech fall over Brakan Mead (OSU), 24-9; Ohio State leads, 19-5
133: No. 3/2/2 Luke Pletcher (OSU) wins by decision over No. 14/13/13 Scott DelVecchio (RU), 4-2; Ohio State leads, 22-5
141: No. 6/6/6 Joey McKenna (OSU) wins by major decision over Michael Van Brill (RU), 13-3; Ohio State leads, 26-5
149: No. 14/17/15 Eleazar DeLuca (RU) wins by decision over No. 5/5/5 Ke-Shawn Hayes (OSU), 12-7; Ohio State leads, 26-8
157: No. 6/6/7 Micah Jordon (OSU) wins by decision over No. NR/NR/10 John Van Brill (RU), 11-5; Ohio State leads, 29-8
165: No. 15/13/13 Richie Lewis (RU) wins by decision over No. 11 Te’Shan Campbell (OSU), 5-2; Ohio State wins, 29-11
Rankings (-/-/-): InterMat / FloWrestling/The Open Mat