Oklahoma State's wrestling team lost its undefeated season and No. 1 ranking last season when Minnesota defeated the Cowboys 18-13.
Now the No. 3-ranked Cowboys are hoping to return the favor against the top-ranked Golden Gophers in Minnesota's home arena.
John Smith's team enters Sunday's match wrestling Minnesota for the first time since losing in the finals of the 2012 NWCA National Duals. The heavyweight matchup swung the advantage to Minnesota when eventual national champion Tony Nelson defeated freshman Austin Marsden.
Alan Gelogaev was projected to wrestle Nelson in February, but he was injured earlier in the week in a match against Oklahoma and missed the rest of the season. Nelson and Gelogaev enter Sunday's dual as the top two-ranked heavyweights.
“It's hard to lose one of your top guys and win dual meets,” Smith said. “It's a balance effect. In the end they did beat us here, and hopefully it is definitely weighing on our minds as we go up there and wrestle them in their arena.”
The Golden Gophers have eight of their 10 wrestlers individually ranked. They have comfortably won their first three matches of the season including a 27-7 victory at Nebraska.
Oklahoma State won its first match of the season 35-10 against Penn. The Cowboys won without senior Jordan Oliver, who sat out because of disciplinary reasons according to The Daily O'Collegian. Smith said Oliver, a national champion at 133 pounds in 2011 who has moved up to 149 pounds, will wrestle Sunday.
“I think both teams are a little beat up,” Smith said. “It will kind of be a gut check for both teams. We are going to have to wrestle really well since it is on the road. I've got to remind my guys this isn't the first time we have gone into someone's house and they are ranked No. 1.”
The Cowboys' strength early in the season appears to be at 165 and 174 pounds. Oklahoma transfer Tyler Caldwell is ranked third in 165 pounds, and junior Chris Perry is the top-ranked wrestler at 174 pounds.
Caldwell is 6-0 and scored a major decision victory against Penn's Casey Kent. He will wrestle No. 9 Cody Yohn on Sunday.
“I'm expecting a big crowd and some good fans, so it definitely will be a hostile environment,” Caldwell said. “It's definitely a type of match I get excited for to be on the road and put it on them in their home arena.”
Oklahoma State at Minnesota
When: 1 p.m. Sunday
Radio: KSPI-FM 93.7