The Maneater

Down 9, 30-point run paces Missouri wrestling to methodical win in Edwardsville

Three technical falls and a pair of dramatic finishes highlighted another stretch of dominance on the mat for the Tigers.

Jaydin Eierman smiles for his team picture. Courtesy of Mizzou Athletics

There was no better place to be than Edwardsville, Illinois, on Valentine’s Day evening.

At least, that was the case for Brian Smith and his indomitable Mizzou wrestling team. Missouri (18-0) utilized several reserves and got a boost from the middle of its lineup on the way to a 30-9 victory over the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Cougars on Wednesday night. The win lands the Tigers one away from a perfect regular season.

The Tigers had to scratch back from an early two-match deficit without John Erneste or Grant Leeth in the lineup to keep the perfect season bid alive, though. Their weakest spot in the lineup all season has been the 125-pound weight class, and with redshirt senior Barlow McGhee sitting on Wednesday for the second straight dual since going into concussion protocol during his match against Oklahoma State, his replacement, redshirt senior Aaron Assad, dropped a dual-opening decision.

A quick forfeit for 6 went Edwardsville’s way, and No. 3 Missouri was again starting in a 9-0 hole.

Again, it was unphased.

Undefeated 141-pounder Jaydin Eierman got the Tigers back on track with a thrilling 17-15 win after trailing in the final period.

Another reserve, redshirt sophomore Alex Butler, appeared in just his third dual of the season and emerged from a 3-2 nailbiter, cutting the deficit to 3 and pacing Mizzou ahead of its heavy lifters.

Those heavy lifters were led this time by redshirt senior Joey Lavallee and redshirt junior Daniel Lewis. Split up by another Missouri decision, each recorded technical falls to catapult their team to a 19-9 advantage. Even redshirt freshman Canten Marriott contributed to the sudden, albeit predictable, turn of events with an additional tech fall.

Redshirt senior Willie Miklus and redshirt freshman Wyatt Koelling delivered exclamation points in the final two matches with identical come-from-behind takedowns as time expired. It gave them each 4-3 wins and Mizzou 30 unanswered points. It was an emphatic cap on a ruthless eight-match run.

For Missouri, the last dual of the regular season will present more of a compelling challenge. The team goes on the road to face a dangerous No. 12 Northern Iowa team on Saturday. The Tigers will try to finish perfect and make a final statement before postseason play that could put Missouri in elite national title contention.

Edited by Joe Noser | jnoser@themanater.com

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