As No. 3 Ohio State opened Friday night’s meet with a lopsided decision in the 125-pound weight class, it seemed as if the ensuing bouts might be follow in a similar way, dooming Maryland wrestling to another Big Ten loss.
But in the 133-pound bout between King Sandoval and No. 19 Jordan Dacatur, Sandoval built on the promise he’s shown all season. Against the Buckeyes’ ranked wrestler, Sandoval nearly pinned Decatur within the first minute of the first period.
And despite a late comeback from Decatur, Sandoval held tough, upsetting the freshman in a 10-8 decision to tie the score at 3-3.
That boost was short-lived, however. After Sandoval’s standout effort, Ohio State blew past the Terps, winning 43-3 and dropping the visitors to 2-12 overall.
Neither team gained an advantage in the dual until the 141-pound match, when the Buckeyes won the first of four-straight bonus point victories, starting with No. 1 Luke Pletcher pinning Hunter Baxter within the first two minutes of the first period.
Ohio State’s heavy hitters at 141 and 149 were dominant, winning 11 of a possible 12 total points as No. 2 Sammy Sasso won a 23-8 tech fall over Ryan Garlitz, who started over Michael Doetsch.
Doetsch and 157-pounder Jahi Jones, both regulars in Maryland’s starting lineup, didn’t wrestle on Friday and their absences resulted in two technical falls for the Buckeyes, who took a commanding 19-3 lead into intermission.
Against one of the best wrestling programs in the country, the Terps were simply outmatched. Wrestling against ranked wrestlers in eight of the dual’s 10 bouts — including three top-two ranked wrestlers — on the road was an imposing challenge.
After the intermission, Maryland couldn’t generate anything against the Buckeyes’ onslaught and couldn’t prevent the bonus point losses. Those lopsided defeats have been a problem in Big Ten duals this season, especially in three of its last four — losses to Michigan and Michigan State before Ohio State.
The Terps gave up 30 or more team points for the third time in its last four duals. Sandoval’s win was the lone one of the match for Maryland, which dropped its last eight bouts on Friday, all of them coming as major decision losses or worse.
Maryland’s next-closest opportunity in the match was 165-pounder Kyle Cochran, who came in riding a two-bout win streak and a run of form where he won six of his previous eight matchups.
His road to victory Friday night was difficult, wrestling No. 13 Ethan Smith. The Buckeye never let Cochran get any traction on the mat. He nearly gave up a tech fall, losing a 20-7 major decision.
Philip Spadafora followed him at 174-pounds, and while he’s been far from consistent in recent weeks, he showed signs of improvement early in his faceoff with No. 7 Kaleb Romero.
The two were locked up in a closely-contested bout, with Romero leading 8-3 at the start of the third period. However, he ended the period on a 5-1 advantage to take a 13-4 major decision.
Maryland’s six combined falls (four technical falls, two pins) are a season-high for the program, losing its last three bouts of the dual with two technical falls and a first-period pin on Niko Cappello by No. 1 Kollin Moore at 197 to put the match away for good.
The Terps are back on the mat Sunday afternoon against another top-3 opponent, meeting No. 2 Penn State in State College.