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Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 31-6 Win against No. 12 South Dakota State

On clutch Cowboys, young Cowboys and returning Cowboys



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

A winning streak had to come to an end Saturday night in Gallagher-Iba Arena, and it wasn’t the Cowboys’.

Oklahoma State improved to 13-0 with a 31-6 victory over No. 12 South Dakota State, snapping the Jackrabbits’ nine-dual winning streak. The No. 2 Cowboys haven’t lost since last year’s regular-season finale to Iowa on Feb. 19.

OSU won eight of nine matches in Saturday’s win, including a pair of falls at 149 and 165 pounds.

Here are five thoughts on OSU’s 11th ranked win of the season, the most by any team in the country.

1. OSU Did Not Overlook the Jackrabbits

John Smith said Wednesday at this week’s media availability that he didn’t “give a damn about Oklahoma and Iowa” because he wanted to make sure his team didn’t overlook the Jackrabbits, even with the Cowboys’ two biggest rivals next on the schedule.

South Dakota State came to Stillwater with a nine-dual winning streak and a lineup that had all but two wrestlers ranked at their respective weight. The Jackrabbits beat OU 20-13 on Friday in Norman, so they certainly proved they deserved more attention than the Sooners.

In a dual the football world may call a “trap game,” swing matches could be the difference in an upset. In matches that included wrestlers within five spots of each other in Intermat rankings, OSU was 3-0, including a six-point swing at 149 pounds thanks to a fall by Jordan Williams.

That’s how a team climbs to No. 2 in rankings and finishes a season undefeated.

2. Clutch Cowboys

The Cowboys found themselves in three matches that went to sudden victory and managed to score the winning takedown in all of them.

The first to find himself in that spot was Tagen Jamison at 141 pounds. He escaped with five seconds left in the third period to tie the score 5-5 and send the match to sudden victory. Jamison then scored his first takedown since the first period to beat No. 24 Clay Carlson 8-5. Jamison, ranked eighth, also used a takedown in sudden victory to upset then-No. 8 Anthony Echemendia of Iowa State two weeks ago.

Teague Travis also needed extra time to beat a ranked opponent at 157 pounds after neither wrestler scored a takedown in regulation and were tied 1-1. No. 11 Travis notched the only takedown of the match to beat 16th-ranked Cael Swensen, 4-1.

The least likely to find himself in sudden victory was second-ranked Dustin Plott against No. 12 Bennett Berge at 184 pounds. Neither wrestler scored in the first period and Plott failed to record a takedown in the first and second periods to trail 3-2 going into the third period. Berge got another takedown in the third to extend his lead to 6-2, but Plott clawed his way back with an escape and his first takedown. Plott ultimately won the match 9-6 with another takedown in sudden victory to improve to 22-2.

Although Plott being in that position was somewhat disappointing, he and the rest of his team finding a knack to win close matches has been the difference in the Pokes staying unbeaten and could also prove to be huge in how many All-Americans OSU has when this season wraps up.

3. Look How Far Troy Spratley Has Come

Troy Spratley’s first loss of the season was to Tanner Jordan of South Dakota State 9-8 at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational on Dec. 1. On Saturday, Spratley handled No. 15 Jordan 7-3 to start the dual at 125 pounds.

Spratley, a redshirt freshman, was aggressive even against a guy he’s lost to before, getting a takedown only 44 seconds into the match. He scored another takedown in the third period and amassed 3:58 of riding time in the decision.

It was Spratley’s fifth win in a row over a ranked foe, including a pair of top-15 victories last weekend that garnered him Big 12 Wrestler of the Week honors. The week also saw Spratley rocket up Intermat’s rankings nine spots to No. 11.

Spratley’s most recent win before Saturday was a 4-1 sudden-victory decision over then-No. 7 Noah Surtin of Missouri, the first top-10 win of Spratley’s career. Surtin and Jordan are both veterans with trips to the NCAA tournament under their belts. That’s the type of competition Spratley will see next month in the postseason, and he’s shown that although he may not have been able to make a run in December, he certainly could in March.

4. Jordan Williams Ain’t Losing His Job Again

Jordan Williams got the nod at 149 pounds for the third straight dual Saturday after competing with Sammy Alvarez for the job throughout the month of January. And Williams has stuck himself as the starter now.

Williams, ranked 16th, pinned No. 18 Alek Martin late in the second period. Even before the fall, Williams was ahead 6-2 after a takedown in the first and third period, proving he’s much better than just the one spot in the rankings between them. After the pin and beating Missouri’s Joel Mylin 10-3 on Sunday, Williams notched back-to-back wins for the first time since Dec. 1 in his redshirt freshman campaign.

John Smith praised Williams’ growth earlier this week. Bedlam will unveil just how much Williams has grown during the position battle. He lost to Willie McDougald 5-4 in the first Bedlam of the season on Dec. 10 in Norman. Williams had a lead in the third period until a boneheaded move where he tried to flip backward out of a potential takedown, only to fall on his head and still give up the three points to drop the match.

That seemed to be the match after which Smith lost trust in the young wrestler. After a position battle that has motivated Williams to be the first one in the wrestling room for morning practices and win his job back, though, that trust seems to have been restored. This next matchup with McDougald will unveil just how much Williams has grown.

5. Luke Surber is Back

There has been an “-or-” at 197 pounds on OSU’s projected lineup almost all season as starter Luke Surber has battled multiple injuries. There finally wasn’t Saturday night, though.

Surber lost to sixth-ranked Tanner Sloan for the third time in his career, 4-0. Sloan was an NCAA finalist last season and Surber didn’t give up a takedown to him. Surber put up a fight, and that couldn’t have even been said for much of this season, as even in wins he hasn’t looked himself because of the injuries.

That’s a good sign of Surber getting back to normal with Bedlam, Iowa and the postseason ahead. If OSU has any chance of narrowing the margin against Penn State for a national title, it absolutely cannot have a dormant weight, and 197 had seemed to be the only one it might have.

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