NORMAN — Oklahoma celebrated the careers and contributions of seven Sooner senior wrestlers Thursday night. But the pre-match Senior Night festivities proved to be the evening’s high point, as the sixth-ranked Sooners dropped several close matches and fell 18-15 to No. 10 Missouri at McCasland Field House.
It left a bit of a sour taste in the mouth of Sooner Coach Mark Cody.
“I think our guys wrestled with a lot of anxiety and a lot of fear, which is really surprising, because that isn’t how we practice, it isn’t how we train,” he said. “But hats off to Missouri, they wrestled some good tactical matches.”
The two feature matches of the night both went the Tigers’ way. At 149 pounds, No. 1 Drake Houdashelt used a late third-period takedown to defeat No. 2 -ranked Sooner Kendrick Maple, 3-2. It came on a close call as Houdashelt got in on Maple’s right leg at the edge of the mat — or just off the edge, as many of the Sooner faithful in attendance thought, for the lone takedown of the match.
“It was a close call, but you have to stay out of trouble there and have to take that out of the official’s hands,” Cody said.
The other big matchup came at 197, with No. 3 Sooner Travis Rutt against No. 6 J’Den Cox. Rutt had only lost one match all season, but couldn’t get anything going against the Tiger, dropping a 6-1 decision.
That left the dual tied, and Missouri heavyweight Devin Mellon clinched the win for the Tigers with a 6-0 decision against OU’s Ross Larson.
OU wrestled shorthanded, with 125-pounder Jarrod Patterson still nursing a knee injury and 184-pounder Danny Chaid out ill, causing a lineup shuffle that saw senior Derek Geiges go at 174 and Andrew Howe move up to wrestle at 184.