Minnesota 20, Rutgers 12

Upset Wins Fuel Ninth-Ranked Gophers’ Victory at No. 13 Rutgers

MINNEAPOLIS – Behind three upset wins, including two in overtime, No. 9 Minnesota (6-1, 1-2 B1G) picked up its first Big Ten win of the season with a 20-12 victory at No. 13 Rutgers (10-3, 3-2) Saturday afternoon.

The Golden Gophers, who are now 6-0 all-time against the Scarlet Knights, including a 4-0 mark in Piscataway, won six of the 10 matches Saturday.

The Scarlet Knights took the first match of the day as No. 20 Mitch Moore topped No. 21 Vance VomBaur, 4-1, at 141 pounds.

The Gophers evened the match up at 149 as No. 13 Drew Roberts used a first-period takedown to shut out Michael Cetta, 3-0. Coming all the way down to the final seconds, it appeared Cetta had the tying takedown with five seconds remaining but a Minnesota challenge resulted in a call reversal and no takedown was awarded, resulting in Roberts’ first Big Ten win of the season.

It was all Michael Blockhus at 157 pounds as the reigning Big Ten Wrestler of the Week recorded an 18-3 tech fall over Al DeSantis. A first-period takedown followed by four nearfall points set the tone early and Blockhus ended the opening frame with a 10-1 lead. Blockhus got two more takedowns in the third period to lead 17-3 and added the riding time point for his third tech fall of the season. Blockhus is now 10-1 on the season and 3-0 in conference action, while his 28 dual team points scored are tied for the team lead.

The Golden Gophers got their third straight win and second shutout of the match at 165 pounds as No. 29 Blaine Brenner beat Luke Gayer, 2-0. Brenner got an escape in the second period and then rode out Gayer for the entire third period to add the bonus point and win for the first time in three Big Ten matches this season.

Hitting the halfway mark, senior Andrew Sparks competed for the first time since Dec. 10 as he lost in a 7-4 decision to No. 13 Jackson Turley at 174 pounds.

At 184 pounds, true freshman Max McEnelly made his collegiate dual debut in a matchup with No. 22 Brian Soldano. Despite several shots from McEnelly, Soldano led 2-0 with riding time in the closing seconds. However, McEnelly came through with a takedown right as the buzzer sounded and the call was upheld after review to keep the Waconia, Minn., native undefeated in his career at 15-0.

Another thrilling match came next at 197 pounds with the Gopher once again prevailing. This time, No. 24 Garrett Joles knocked off No. 9 John Poznanski 4-1 in sudden-victory overtime. Jokes escaped in the second period for his point, while Poznanski got his escape in the third, sending the match to overtime. There, Joles won his first conference match of the season and snapped a three-match losing streak as he scored a takedown in the extra session.

The next two ranked matchups went Rutgers’ way as No. 7 Yaraslau Slavikouski recorded an 8-2 decision over No. 29 Bennett Tabor at heavyweight, while at 125 pounds 16th-ranked Dean Peterson topped No. 11 Patrick McKee, 6-4.

With Minnesota holding a 17-12 lead, it came down to 133 pounds with the fifth and final ranked match of the day featuring No. 26 Tyler Wells squaring off with No. 8 Dylan Shawver. The lead was 2-0 for Shawver late in the third period but a reversal from Wells forced the second overtime match of the day. Neither wrestler could get the sudden victory until the closing seconds of the first overtime as Wells rolled over Shawver and got the takedown. The victory improved Wells to 3-0 in Big Ten action this season and 2-0 against ranked opponents.

Minnesota is back in action next weekend with a pair of home duals. Friday night at 7 p.m. the Gophers host Maryland, while the team welcomes Northwestern to Maturi Pavilion Sunday at 1 p.m.

Jan. 27, 2023 | Piscataway, N.J. | Jersey Mike’s Arena | Attendance: 3,438

#9 Minnesota 20, #13 Rutgers 12
141: #20 Mitch Moore (Rutgers) dec. #21 Vance VomBaur (Minnesota), 4-1
149: #13 Drew Roberts (Minnesota) dec. Michael Cetta (Rutgers), 3-0
157: #6 Michael Blockhus (Minnesota) TF Al DeSantis (Rutgers), 18-3 7:00
165: #29 Blaine Brenner (Minnesota) dec. Luke Gayer (Rutgers), 2-0
174: #13 Jackson Turley (Rutgers) dec. Andrew Sparks (Minnesota), 7-4
184: Max McEnelly (Minnesota) dec. #22 Brian Soldano (Rutgers), 3-2
197: #24 Garrett Joles (Minnesota) dec. #9 John Poznanski (Rutgers), 4-1 SV1
285: #7 Yaraslau Slavikouski (Rutgers) dec. #29 Bennett Tabor (Minnesota), 8-2
125: #16 Dean Peterson (Rutgers) dec. #11 Patrick McKee (Minnesota), 6-4
133: #26 Tyler Wells (Minnesota) dec. #8 Dylan Shawver (Rutgers), 5-2 SV1

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