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Ohio State Wrestling: Buckeyes sweep pair of Big Ten opponents, prepare for battle with TTUN

Inching closer to a top-5 ranking, OSU now boasts an 11-1 team record. But with Michigan and Penn State up next, business is about to pick up.

Ohio State Wrestling - X/Twitter @wrestlingbucks

Tom Ryan and his Ohio State wrestling squad swept a pair of Big Ten duals this past weekend, defeating both Maryland and Wisconsin in impressive fashion.

The Buckeyes, currently No. 7 in the NWCA Coaches Poll, won nine matches with bonus points while hosting the Terps on Friday night, before hitting the road and taking down the 17th-ranked Badgers on Sunday.

The two dual (or perhaps dual dual?) victories pushed OSU’s team record to 11-1 on the season.

Inside the friendly confines of Covelli Center last Friday, Ohio State dominated Maryland to the tune of 38-4, thanks to seven major decisions and two tech falls. The Buckeyes earned at least one bonus point with or for each of their individual victories, nearly matching the dominance they showed in November when they bludgeoned lesser teams such as Edinboro.

However, UMD is a relatively formidable opponent, having entered this dual ranked No. 25 in the country. Unfortunately for the Terps, they were simply no match for the Scarlet and Gray this time around.

After Brendan McCrone kicked off the OSU bonus party with a major decision at 125, Nic Bouzakis (133), Jesse Mendez (141), and Dylan D’Emilio (149) chipped in with decisive victories of their own, all coming against ranked Maryland opponents. Bouzakis was especially dominant, earning a 21-5 tech fall and producing the night’s largest margin of victory.

Isaac Wilcox (157), Bryce Hepner (165), Rocco Welsh (174), and Seth Shumate (184) won the next four matches, putting Ohio State up 33-0. But the Buckeyes lost their shutout at 197 when Gavin Bell dropped a major decision to UMD’s Jaxon Smith (not Njigba). OSU’s Nick Feldman then ended the dual with yet another tech fall at heavyweight, putting the capper on a 38-4 drubbing by Ryan’s guys.

Up next for Ohio State was a Sunday date with the Wisconsin Badgers, in Madison. A tougher opponent than Maryland, Wisky immediately jumped out to a 6-0 lead thanks to a pin by Eric Barnett just 32 seconds into his match with McCrone. The latter has often been the one doing the pinning this season, but he (McCrone) encountered a buzzsaw in Barnett, ranked No. 4 nationally at 125.

Fortunately for the Buckeyes, McCrone’s teammates had his back.

Bouzakis, Mendez, D’Emilio, and Wilcox reeled off four straight wins for OSU, putting them in the driver’s seat at the midway point. All but Wilcox earned bonus points, giving the Scarlet and Gray a 16-6 lead. However, from there, the Badgers clawed back into the dual by taking two of the next three matches.

Wisconsin’s Dean Hamiti (165) and Shane Liegel (184) tacked on bonus points of their own, getting UW to within four. But the Buckeye big men closed strong. Luke Geog (197) and Nick Feldman (HWT) put the dual away with a decision and a tech fall, respectively, resulting in a 27-15 win for Ohio State.

While the Buckeyes are certainly rolling, things are about to get very, very interesting. Because (this) Friday night marks the first of three duals in nine days, all against conference opponents currently ranked inside the top 15.

First up is Michigan at home, followed by Penn State and Rutgers on the road. But such is life in the Big Ten. Ohio State’s dual against TTUN will be nationally televised on B1G Network, as will next Friday’s dual at Penn State. If you are a fan of college wrestling, you will not want to miss either, as these duals feature (a trio of) the best of the best.

Check your viewing or streaming options, and then check out the Buckeyes in action!