Bedlam wrestling: Teams' fortunes have turned since Sooners won first meeting

The Cowboys have emerged as one of the hottest teams in the country, and the Sooners have put together four straight lackluster dual performances.
by Trent Shadid Published: February 8, 2014
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photo - OSU's Chris Perry, bottom, and OU's Andrew Howe wrestle in the 174-pound weight class during the Bedlam wrestling dual between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Oklahoma Sooners at McCasland Field House in Norman, Okla., Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. OU won the dual, 16-15. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
OSU's Chris Perry, bottom, and OU's Andrew Howe wrestle in the 174-pound weight class during the Bedlam wrestling dual between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Oklahoma Sooners at McCasland Field House in Norman, Okla., Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. OU won the dual, 16-15. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

When the Oklahoma wrestling team pulled off a dramatic 16-15 victory over Bedlam rival Oklahoma State on Dec. 1 in Norman, it appeared the Sooners were ready to be a serious national contender and the Cowboys had several question marks.

Sure, the score was close, but it could have been a rout had OU All-American Nick Lester and national champion Kendric Maple not been upset early in the dual.

The Sooners went on to win the final four matches to earn a gutty win and end their Bedlam winless streak at nine straight.

Following the loss, OSU dropped three of its next six duals while OU went on to win the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational a week later and won its next two duals to start the season 7-0.

But over the past three weeks, the two teams have been trending in opposite directions. The Cowboys have emerged as one of the hottest teams in the country, and the Sooners have put together four straight lackluster dual performances.

Now, it appears No. 8 OSU (7-4, 2-1 Big 12) is primed to even the score against No. 10 OU (9-2, 3-0) at 2 p.m. Sunday inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.

“As a team we've wrestled better and there's no question we've been a lot more aggressive,” OSU coach John Smith said. “I'm confident in my team, I'm confident in our abilities. Does that mean that translates to win Sunday, well, if we fight tomorrow that's a great possibility.”

After Saturday's 36-7 win over Cal-Bakersfield, OSU comes into Bedlam having won three straight duals. Each of the three has come by at least 22 points, including a 28-6 win over No. 9 Missouri.

OU dropped its final two home duals since the Bedlam victory, falling 19-17 to No. 5 Northern Iowa before closing out its home schedule with an 18-15 loss to Missouri the day before OSU pounded the Tigers. Even the Sooners' two wins since the loss to Northern Iowa, 20-18 over No. 24 Oregon State and 19-15 over West Virginia, haven't been impressive.

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by Trent Shadid
Copy Editor
Trent Shadid is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He was born and raised in Weatherford, Okla., and attended Weatherford High School. Before joining The Oklahoman, he spent two seasons as an assistant wrestling coach at Weatherford High...
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