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Missouri flexes third-ranked muscle in win over Bison wrestlers

Tigers dominant in most matches in Big 12 Conference dual opener.

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FARGO — The University of Missouri did to North Dakota State on Thursday night what most of the top teams in the country can do away from home. The Tigers put the North Dakota State fans to sleep.

The third-ranked Tigers acted like it in taking a 37-3 Big 12 Conference dual victory at Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex.

“I think it’s a good learning lesson for these guys,” said Bison head coach Roger Kish. “These are guys very talented, we knew that coming into the match. They were technically savvy with a lot of experience behind them and we knew it.”

The Bison didn’t leave their building with at least one highlight. Junior Jared Franek, ranked No. 11 in Division I at 157 pounds, recorded a takedown with 11 seconds remaining to beat No. 10 Jarrett Jacques 6-4.

“It’s a good start,” Franek said. “There’s definitely a lot of improvement yet. I saw things I didn’t take and I can definitely open that match up a lot more and I didn’t do that, so that was a little frustrating. But it was good to get the ‘W.’”

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Franek and Jacques were tied for most of the third period before a lightning-quick shot at Jacques’ legs was immediately followed by the two-point move.

“I was just trying to get the takedown,” Franek said. “Short time, end of a match, both guys are tired and I just wanted it a little bit more so I went after it and ended up finishing it.”

NDSU was still down 16-3, but with the Bison having three ranked wrestlers left in the lineup, at least there was hope of tightening things up. That hope faded fast in the highest-ranked matchup of the night: Missouri’s No. 5 Keegan O’Toole against No. 6 Luke Weber at 165.

It was all O’Toole, who finished off Weber with a second period pin.

“It’s all about learning, we’re so early in the year,” Kish said. “It’s about making some small adjustments. We had a few matches where we wrestled well and then got away from us at the end. We know Luke Weber can compete with O’Toole.”

NDSU had its chances at 133 when Kellyn March was threatening a reversal on Trey Crawford in the last 10 seconds. It didn’t happen and Crawford left the mat with a 4-3 victory. The almost-rally was one of the few times the home crowd had a chance to make a difference.

Otherwise, the Tigers did what good teams do on the road: took the fans out of the action. The decision also put the Bison in an early 9-0 hole after a pin by 20th-ranked Noah Surtin at 125.

The Tigers also got major decision wins at 149, 174 and 184.

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“We wanted to come out and fight hard and some guys did some things,” Kish said. “But we had some guys who weren’t quite up for the challenge and I know they’re disappointed and us as coaches are a bit disappointed in some of the effort we gave out there. At the end of the day, we have some things we have to build on. We have to be better.”

125: Surtin, UM, pinned Evens, 4:05. 133: Crawford, UM, dec. March, 4-3. 141: Hart, UM, dec. Droegemueller, 8-3. 149: Edmond, UM, dec. Sax, 12-4. 157: Franek, NDSU, dec. Jacques, 6-4. 165: O’Toole, UM, pinned Weber, 4:46. 174: Mocco, UM, dec. Brenner, 13-5. 184: Kent, UM, dec. Nelson, 14-1. 197: R. Elam, UM, dec. Pentz, 14-6. 285: Z. Elam, UM, dec. Metz, 3-1.
Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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