Check the sidebar for our recap and one from Testudo Times, SB Nation's Maryland blog, of yesterday's Terrapin Duals, where UB went 2-0 with a pair of wins. For the most part, since only Maryland's match against Pitt (plenty exciting in its own right) was broadcast on one of the Big Ten Network's internet options, most fans have been going off just Twitter updates from UB and Maryland, especially after my phone died at the beginning of Colt Cotten's match against Wade Hodges.
Judging by the team and individual scores, you might think this was a close match in which UB did well to avoid major decisions in losses and eked out decisions from other tough matchups in the heavier weights to claim a narrow victory. Inside the arena, it really didn't feel that way, especially after Cotten's win and with my phone off and connection to Twitter severed.
What we learned
Our first look at the team exceeded even John's preseason expectations
Keep in mind that 48 hours ago, John predicted UB would send a program record-tying six wrestlers to the national tournament. I generally default to his expertise and see the same surge of young talent now that John Stutzman's program is finding its footing. He told me privately that we should expect a win against Davidson and not be surprised by a close contest with Maryland. He certainly wasn't expecting UB's first shutout of a D-1 opponent since 1999 or a win over a Big Ten program.
Worry about the heavier weights no longer
Last season UB would get through 157 leading narrowly or trailing by a single result but fall off in the second half. That won't be a problem this season. From Tyler Rill, through Muhamed McBryde, Joe Ariola, and James Benjamin, UB won four straight in the upper weights to come from behind and clinch the dual victory:
- Rill stayed safe and in control through a mostly-standing and grappling match that saw both manage escapes early in the second and third periods after Tyler had taken the lead with a late takedown in the first.
- McBryde's opponent was working up a weight class, and it showed. Muhamed also got a late takedown in the first (after a good challenge from Stutzman) and then outmuscled his opponent without issue the remaining four minutes.
- Ariola's head wasn't really in the match at first, but he managed a quick escape when taken down in the first, then flipped the tide with an escape and takedown in the second. From then, he wasn't really threatened and boosted his score by capitalizing on a late mistake from his opponent.
- Benjamin was similarly unchallenged, though he wasn't able to gain control after a first-period takedown. He managed a huge reversal out of the starting position midway through the second that turned into four tilt points that sealed the match for the Bulls.