NORMAN — Competing with fear and anxiety on the wrestling mat is usually a recipe for failure.
That's exactly what coach Mark Cody believes happened to his team as No. 6-ranked Oklahoma fell to No. 10 Missouri, 18-15, at McCasland Field House on Thursday night.
“Hats off to Missouri,” Cody said. “They came out with a good plan and wrestled good. I just think our guys came out tonight and wrestled with a lot of anxiety and fear. I couldn't understand it because that's not the way we train, and that's not the message we're sending.
“I've been in this situation before where you've got to shake that anxiety just before tournament time, and I think this group can do it.”
OU (8-2) appeared to have the dual won as it was favored in final two matches and held a 15-12 lead.
But No. 3 Travis Rutt was upset by No. 6 J'den Cox at 197 pounds, and No. 16 Ross Larson was knocked off by Devin Mellon as Missouri rallied to win.
“I was pretty surprised, but going into the second period of both those matches I just felt like they were holding back a little bit too much,” Cody said. “They're both very capable with a lot of weapons. And they just didn't show it tonight.”
Missouri (6-1) also got the win in the most anticipated match of the night as Drake Houdashelt defeated second-ranked Kendric Maple at 149 pounds.
Houdashelt was awarded a takedown on the edge of the mat after a long scramble with 20 seconds remaining to pull out a 3-2 win over Maple.
“You have to take it out of the officials hands,” Cody said. “Looking back at it, a lot of these takedowns are called different ways, but I didn't call for a review because I thought that was probably two.”
Missouri won six of the 10 matches in its biggest dual win of the season.
“I'm excited with that result because we're really young,” said Missouri coach Brian Smith. “They're starting five seniors and we're starting five freshman, so to come down here and get a win is great.”
The bright spots for OU came from Cody Brewer at 133 pounds and Andrew Howe at 184 pounds.
Eighth-ranked Brewer gave the Sooners their first lead in the dual's second match with an 18-3 technical fall over Perry native Matt Manley.
Howe, ranked No. 1 at 174 pounds, had OU's other bonus-point win as he bumped up a weight and picked up a 22-9 major decision over Cody Johnston.
Missouri now heads to Stillwater where it will take on No. 9 Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. on Friday.
OU's next action will be at West Virginia for a 6 p.m. dual next Thursday.