Tahlequah Daily Press

College Sports

January 31, 2014

No. 6 Sooner wrestlers fall to Missouri

NORMAN — Oklahoma celebrated the careers and contributions of seven Sooner senior wrestlers Thursday night. But the pre-match Senior Night festivities proved to be the evening’s high point, as the sixth-ranked Sooners dropped several close matches and fell 18-15 to No. 10 Missouri at McCasland Field House.

It left a bit of a sour taste in the mouth of Sooner Coach Mark Cody.

“I think our guys wrestled with a lot of anxiety and a lot of fear, which is really surprising, because that isn’t how we practice, it isn’t how we train,” he said. “But hats off to Missouri, they wrestled some good tactical matches.”

The two feature matches of the night both went the Tigers’ way. At 149 pounds, No. 1 Drake Houdashelt used a late third-period takedown to defeat No. 2 -ranked Sooner Kendrick Maple, 3-2. It came on a close call as Houdashelt got in on Maple’s right leg at the edge of the mat — or just off the edge, as many of the Sooner faithful in attendance thought, for the lone takedown of the match.

“It was a close call, but you have to stay out of trouble there and have to take that out of the official’s hands,” Cody said.

The other big matchup came at 197, with No. 3 Sooner Travis Rutt against No. 6 J’Den Cox. Rutt had only lost one match all season, but couldn’t get anything going against the Tiger, dropping a 6-1 decision.

That left the dual tied, and Missouri heavyweight Devin Mellon clinched the win for the Tigers with a 6-0 decision against OU’s Ross Larson.

OU wrestled shorthanded, with 125-pounder Jarrod Patterson still nursing a knee injury and 184-pounder Danny Chaid out ill, causing a lineup shuffle that saw senior Derek Geiges go at 174 and Andrew Howe move up to wrestle at 184.

“But we don’t make excuses,” Cody said. “We have to be able to step up with who’s going out on the mat.”

Patterson was injured 12 days ago against Northern Iowa in what looked like it could have been a severe injury. The good news from Cody is it’s not a torn ligament or anything that would end the senior’s season.

“It’s just a nagging injury that’s taking some time,” Cody said. “We’re hoping maybe for him to be back for Oklahoma State (the season’s second Bedlam dual Feb. 9 in Stillwater).”

In Patterson’s stead, freshman Sean Williams made his second career start and wrestled well, but fell victim to one of the night’s close finishes, as a takedown by Barlow McGhee in the final 10 seconds made for a 3-1 Tiger victory.

It wasn’t all bad for the Sooners on the night. Howe dominated the larger Cody Johnston for a 22-9 major decision, and Justin DeAngelis at 157 and Clark Glass at 165 each recorded decision victories. The biggest point-scorer on the night for OU was sophomore Cody Brewer, who scored an 18-3 technical fall at 133 over Missouri freshman Matt Manley, a Perry native ranked No. 20 in the nation.

“We knew that guy was stingy, but Cody just kept attacking and was just relentless,” the coach said. “You look around at certain guys, and just say it’s so refreshing to have them, because you know they’re always going to go out and battle, and that’s what you get from Cody.”

While it’s OU’s last official home dual, it won’t be their last appearance at the Field House, with the Big 12 Championship coming to Norman March 8.

First things first, with upcoming conference duals at West Virginia and Oklahoma State before a trip to the National Duals Feb. 16. Now 8-2 in dual action, the Sooners still figure to be part of the mix at that event.

“This lineup is a great lineup when we put it all together,” Cody said of his team.

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