Gophers Heat Up in the Back Half to Beat Illinois, 22-12
The win pushes Minnesota back to .500 ahead of Sunday’s dual against Purdue
CHAMPAIGN, ILL – The University of Minnesota wrestling program weathered a tough start to Friday night’s dual to come back and defeat Illinois by a 22-12 dual score, winning the final four bouts of the night en route to the victory.
The Gophers took six of the ten bouts in total to claim the dual victory and earned two of those wins by bonus points via Bailee O’Reilly and Gable Steveson.
The dual started at 125 pounds, where Patrick McKee claimed a 4-0 decision over Justin Cardani. McKee secured a pivotal takedown in the second period, then rode out the entire third frame to push himself to the dual-opening win.
The Gophers then dropped the next three matches before Brayton Lee picked the Gophers back up with a decision win at 157 pounds. Lee was offensive for the entirety of the match with relentless attacks, drawing two stall points and earning three total takedowns in the bout.
After a heartbreaker at 165 pounds, the Gophers turned it on the rest of the way with Bailee O’Reilly getting the win streak started with a 12-4 major decision, turning it on in the third period on the feet in order to get the bonus point victory.
Perhaps the most pivotal match of the night came at 184 pounds, where Isaiah Salazar upset #18 Zac Braunagel by decision to give Minnesota the lead back. Salazar earned three takedowns in the match, including one at the very end of the second period as the ref threw up the two points with one second remaining in the period.
Michial Foy won his match in comeback fashion, as he battled back after giving up a takedown and a turn early. Down 6-1 after the opening exchange, Foy turned up the offense on the feet with a takedown in the second and then secured the winning takedown with less than twenty seconds left in the third period.
At heavyweight, Gable Steveson closed the show out with a first-period fall, taking down Luke Luffman twice in the first minute before wrapping him up in a wrist tilt for the fall. It was Steveson’s second pin against Luffman in as many matches in his career, combining for just 1:51 of mat time in those contests.
The Gophers jump to 4-4 on the season following the win as they head to West Lafayette, Ind., this Sunday for an afternoon dual against Purdue at 1:00 pm CT on B1G+.
#11 Minnesota 22, Illinois 12
125: #9 Patrick McKee (MINN) dec. #25 Justin Cardani (ILL), 4-0
133: #6 Lucas Byrd (ILL) dec. #27 Jake Gliva (MINN), 8-3
141: #4 Dylan Duncan (ILL) dec. Marcos Polanco (MINN), 4-1
149: Christian Kantzler (ILL) dec. Michael Blockhus (MINN), 13-8
157: #4 Brayton Lee (MINN) dec. Joe Roberts (ILL), 10-4
165: #31 Danny Braunagel (ILL) dec. #26 Cael Carlson (MINN), 8-6 SV1
174: #19 Bailee O’Reilly (MINN) maj. dec. D.J. Shannon, 12-4
184: #22 Isaiah Salazar (MINN) dec. #18 Zac Braunagel (ILL), 8-4
197: #31 Michial Foy (MINN) dec. Matt Wroblewski (ILL), 8-7
HWT: #1 Gable Steveson (MINN) pinned #16 Luke Luffman (ILL), 1:16