"All I want is for you to wrestle hard and fight" - a very poingnant quote from Coach Stutzman directed toward Alex Smythe heading into the 3rd period of his 157 pound bout during UB's regular season finale against the #21 Northern Iowa Panthers. Coming off an impressive 2-0 weekend the Panthers punched the Bulls in the jaw 29-9 to spoil their regular season finale.
Kyle Akins started the match in lackluster fashion; after giving up a first period takedown, he was pinned defensively (think Colt Cotten against Missouri last year) and UB was in an early 6-0 hole. Bryan Lantry was pinned as well after giving up a 1st period takedown - Lantry gave up an armbar and was torque to his back in what I can assure you was a very painful maneuver.
Brandon Lapi came painfully close to beating Tyler Willers at 141 pounds - after giving up 4 back points at the onset of the 3rd period, Lapi scored a takedown and had a cradle in the closing seconds but the buzzer rang before Lapi could collect the winning back points. Colt Cotten was unable to get anything going on his feet against early against Adam Perrin, but was able to use a late 2nd period takedown and 2 back points in a 3rd period rideout to score UB's first win of the evening.
Northern Iowa would answer with a win of their own as nationally ranked Bryce Steiert took down Alex Smythe several times en route to a major decision victory over UB's sophomore. Rrok Ndokaj would have no luck at 165 as he was blanked by #14 Cooper Moore 8-0.
Muhamed McBryde would end his UB career in Alumni in style with a solid 5-3 decision over Northern Iowa's Taylor Berger. McBryde utilized a 3rd period escape and a late takedown to give UB their second win of the evening. Joe Ariola overcame a stagnant 1st two periods in which he gave up over 3 minutes of riding time to tie the match 5-5 ; but gave up a quick takedown in the first overtime and lost 7-5.
James Benjamin got UB back on the board for the 3rd time with a hard fought 2-0 decision over Cody Krumwiede. Benjamin got an escape in the second and rode out the 3rd period to earn his 15th win of the season. In the much anticipated main event Jake Gunning took on the MAC's top ranked heavyweight in #18 Blaize Cabell, in what I believe to be a preview for the MAC Title match. Gunning gave up 2 1st period takedowns and earned an escape to head into the second stanza down 4-1. Gunning gave up another takedown and then answered with his own but it wasn't enough as he fell 9-6.
This wasn't the way UB wanted to end the regular season, especially after last weekend's performances; however, the Bulls finish their historic regular season 10-9, the first winning season in several seasons. The Bulls will need to be on the top of their game in two weeks when they head to Ypsilanti for the MAC Championships.
Full Results - Buffalo 9, UNI 29
125: Leighton Gaul (UNI) pinned #33 Kyle Akins (Buffalo)
133: #15 Josh Alber (UNI) pinned Bryan Lantry (Buffalo)
141: Tyler WIllers (UNI) dec. Brandon Lapi (Buffalo), 6-5
149: Colt Cotten (Buffalo) dec. Adam Perrin (UNI), 9-6
157: #26 Bryce Steiert (UNI) maj. dec. Alex Smythe (Buffalo), 13-2
165: #14 Cooper Moore (UNI) maj. dec. Rrok Ndokaj (Buffalo), 8-0
174: Muhamed McBryde (Buffalo) dec. Taylor Berger (UNI), 5-3
184: Drew Foster (UNI) SV-1 Joe Ariola (Buffalo), 7-5
197: James Benjamin (Buffalo) dec. Cody Krumwiede (UNI), 2-0
285: #18 Blaize Cabell (UNI) dec. Jake Gunning (Buffalo), 9-6