It’s been five years and two weeks since Minnesota (5-3, 4-2) last wrestled in West Lafayette, but the Gophers will make their return this weekend to take on Purdue (8-3, 3-2). It will be a bit of déjà vu for Minnesota, who wrestled only about two hours south of the Purdue campus last weekend in Bloomington. While Minnesota will travel to Ames later this season for a dual, Sunday’s contest will be the team’s final conference road dual of the season.
Sunday’s dual will begin at 12 p.m. Central from Holloway Gym in West Lafayette, Ind. The dual will be streamed live on BTN Plus, live stats will be available on TrackWrestling.com, and updates from throughout the evening can be found by following Gopher Wrestling on Twitter (@GopherWrestling).
Sunday will be the second time in as many weeks Minnesota has visited to the 19th state. Last weekend, the Gophers used three tech falls and a major decision in their first four matches against Indiana to blowout the Hoosiers, 28-9. That trip came as Minnesota wrapped up a three-match homestand against a trio of top-20 opponents. The Gophers picked up a victory against Wisconsin in the Border Battle dual on Jan. 15, a win sandwiched between losses to No. 3 Penn State and No. 5 Nebraska. Prior to returning home in January, Minnesota swept a pair of road matches in Michigan to begin the Big Ten season after splitting a pair of non-conference duals in November against Oklahoma State and South Dakota State.
Mixed into their dual schedule, Minnesota wrestled at both the Cliff Keen Invitational and the Southern Scuffle. Two Gophers (Short, B Pfarr) won titles in Vegas as the Gophers finished fourth. In its best showing in Chattanooga since 2014, Minnesota produced one individual champion (Lizak, 125) and seven placewinners, finishing fourth at the Scuffle.
The Boilermakers return to Holloway Gymnasium for the first time since late November for Sunday’s dual. In January, Purdue has wrestled three Big Ten duals on the road – defeating Northwestern and Maryland while falling to Rutgers – and also defeated Indiana as part of Mackey Mayhem, a home dual held at the school’s basketball arena. Back in November, Purdue swept the Boilermaker Duals, dropped its Big Ten opener to Iowa, and split a pair of non-conference duals out west, defeating Boise State and losing to Stanford.
Like Minnesota, the Boilers wrestled at the Cliff Keen Invitational in December, finishing fourteenth as a team with two placewinners (Thorton, Ayersman). Over the holidays, Purdue wrestled at the Midlands, taking 22nd with one placewinner (Griffin).
At 149 pounds last season, Alex Griffin outlast Jake Short to pick up a 4-2 decision in sudden victory. Both qualified for the NCAA tournament last season and then bumped up to 157 pounds this season. On Sunday, Short will have the chance to avenge that loss 370 days later.
Last Time Around
After a decision at 157 pounds, the Gophers dropped three straight matches to Purdue, all with bonus points, falling behind 15-3. Minnesota fired back with five straight match wins, starting with a pair of majors for Brett Pfarr and Michael Kroells and highlighted by a pin at 133 by Ben Morgan that gave Minnesota its first lead since leading 3-0 after one contest. Tommy Thorn’s decision at 141 sealed the dual for Minnesota, with the Gophers winning 23-18.
Sunday will be the 49th all-time dual between the two programs, with Minnesota holding the series lead, 37-9-2. The Gophers have won 15 of the last 16 meetings, last dropping a dual to the Boilermakers in 2004. Minnesota’s last loss in West Lafayette came back in 1992.
It was February 1992 and “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred was the No. 1 song in America the last time Minnesota lost to Purdue in West Lafayette. Since that time, the Gophers have won 15 of their 16 head-to-head meetings with the Boilermakers. Minnesota has won those matches by an average score of 30-8, though last year’s dual was decided by just five points (23-18).
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