COLUMBUS, Ohio - Kyle Snyder is back - in a big way.
The sophomore who recently decided to forgo his Olympic redshirt and return to the Buckeyes' lineup made his 2016 debut on Sunday at St. John Arena with no shortage of drama. With the team score tied at 17 entering the duals final match, Snyder rolled to a 20-9 major decision over Nebraska's Colin Jensen at 285 to give No. 11 Ohio State a 21-17 triumph over the seventh-ranked Cornhuskers.
THE SHORT STORY
Ohio State won six of nine matches that were contested - three via bonus points - including the most important one of all: the winner-take-all bout at 285 pounds. Nathan Tomasello also rolled to a major decision at 125 pounds while Micah Jordan dispatched Anthony Abidin by major decision at 141 pounds. In one of the tightest contests of the afternoon, Jake Ryan outlasted Tyler Berger in overtime, 6-4, while Myles Martin picked up his 20th win of the year, a 7-4 decision over Micah Barnes.
STARS OF THE NIGHT
Kyle Snyder: Major decision at 285 to clinch Ohio State's team win.
Jake Ryan: Overtime decision over No. 17 Tyler Berger. Win gave Ohio State a 14-5 lead in the dual
Micah Jordan: Improved to 15-1 on the year with a 13-4 major decision.
Nathan Tomasello: Won his 30th consecutive match. Is 12-0 this season.
SNYDER PUTS ONE IN THE WIN COLUMN
Kyle Snyder, who had not wrestled in a collegiate match since last March's NCAA final at 197 pounds, made his 2015-16 debut on the same afternoon a banner commemorating his World Championship this past fall was unveiled from the rafters of St. John Arena. Now wrestling at 285 pounds, second-ranked Snyder fell behind the 17th-ranked Jenson 2-0 on a takedown midway through the first period, but from there he dominated. He took Jensen down twice in the period to 5-3 and then unleased his offense in the second period, scoring a reversal and three takedowns for a 13-6 lead. Three more takedowns and a riding time bonus point made the final score 20-9.
"Couldn't have been a better scenario for me, to come back at heavyweight, last match with it all tied up," Snyder said. ""That's when I would like to wrestle. It's kind of like the game-winning shot or (Saturday) night's Green Bay game with that Hail Mary pass. It was exciting, fun and it allows me to compete and see what I have to do to get better."
"It's Christmas morning for him and the tree is filled with gifts underneath, and he can't wait to open them up," said head coach Tom Ryan. "I was doing the math in my head, and I'm telling myself 'If this thing is within reason, we've got a World champ closing it out for us.' So needless to say, I felt pretty good. Great to see him out there."
BUCKEYES WIN THE FIRST THREE
Ohio State got off to a fast start, winning each of the three matches - two via bonus points. Nathan Tomasello was his usual self, securing a 16-5 major decision over ninth-ranked Tim Lambert. Now a winner of 30 straight matches dating back to last season, Tomasello scored seven takedowns and had 1:46 in riding time.
Next up was Johnni DiJulius (133 lbs.), who avenged a loss last year to Eric Montoya at the NCAA Championships by defeating Montoya 9-4 on the strength of a first-period takedown and four-point near-fall in the second period. DiJulius also racked up nearly 2:00 of riding time.
Micah Jordan continued his stellar redshirt freshman campaign with his major decision over Anthony Abidin at 141 pounds, giving the Buckeyes a 11-0 lead just three bouts in. Jordan took control in the second period with five points - an escape, takedown and two-point near fall.
RYAN WINS A THRILLER
Jake Ryan won a key swing match in the dual when he defeated 17th-ranked Tyler Berger in overtime, 6-4. Tied a 1-1 entering sudden victory OT, neither wrestler could get a takedown, leading to a pair of 30 second tiebreaker periods. Near the end of the first 30 seconds, Ryan scored a takedown and reversal on a flurry of scrambles to take a 6-1 lead. He would need every one of those points, as Berger closed to within 6-4 late in the final 30 second period, but Ryan held him off for his 12th win of the year. That decision gave Ohio State a 14-5 lead in the dual.
MARTIN SWINGS MOMENTIUM BACK TO OSU
Myles Martin (20-3) won another key swing match at 174 lbs. when he topped 14th-ranked Micah Barnes, 7-4. Martin, ranked 15th nationally and making just his third start of the year, scored a takedown in each of the first two periods and also accumulated well over 2:00 of riding time. He scored a takedown with 57 seconds left in the second period to break a 2-2 tie and then had two escapes in the third period to maintain his lead.
BACK UPS STEP UP
Down three starters, Ohio State's backups battled highly-ranked opponents at 149 and 197 pounds. Sal Marandino lost by tech fall to fifth-ranked Jake Suelfohn (149) while Josh Fox hung with 16th-ranked Aaron Studebaker (197), losing 3-0. It was the eighth different lineup Ohio State has used in eight duals this year.
DID YOU KNOW
Sunday's win was the 750th in the 95-year history over wrestling at Ohio State (750-511-2). It is also head coach tom Ryan's 50th triumph against Big Ten competition. In his 10th season at Ohio State, Ryan is 50-27 against conferences foes and 119-44 overall.
Ohio State returns to the mat next Sunday, Jan. 24, when it travels to Walsh Jesuit High School in Cleveland to tangle with Michigan State. The match will serve as a homecoming for redshirt senior Johnni DiJulius, a 2011 graduate of Walsh Jesuit.
Ohio State Wrestling
No. 11 Ohio State 21, No. 7 Nebraska 17
January 17, 2016 | St. John Arena; Columbus, Ohio
Records - OSU: 6-2, 3-1; NU: 9-3, 3-3
125: #1 Nathan Tomasello (OSU) major decision over No. 9 Tim Lambert (NU) 16-5 | OSU 3, NU 0
133: #8 Johnni DiJulius (OSU) decision over #12 Eric Montoya (NU) 9-4 | OSU 6, NU 0
141: #6 Micah Jordan (OSU) major decision over #20 Anthony Abidin (NU) 13-4 | OSU 11, NU 0
149: #5 Jake Suelfohn (NU) tech fall over Sal Marandino (OSU) 21-5 | OSU 11, NU 5
157: #12 Jake Ryan (OSU) decision over #17 Tyler Berger (NU) 6-4 (TB-1) | OSU 14, NU 5
165: #14 Austin Wilson (NU) won by forfeit | OSU 14, NU 11
174: #15 Myles Martin (OSU) decision over #14 Micah Barnes (NU) 7-4 | OSU 17, NU 11
184: #5 TJ Dudley (NU) decision over #12 Kenny Courts (OSU) 7-1 | OSU 17, NU 14
197: #16 Aaron Studebaker (NU) decision over Josh Fox (OSU) 3-0 | OSU 17, NU 17
285: #2 Kyle Snyder (OSU) major decision over #17 Colin Jensen (NU) 20-9 | OSU 21, NU 17