No. 4 Gophers defeat Illinois, shut out Purdue

Minnesota only lost three matches on the weekend.

Minnesota's Zach Sanders North Dakota State's Trent Sprenkle

Mark Vancleave, Daily File Photo

Minnesota’s Zach Sanders North Dakota State’s Trent Sprenkle

Drew Claussen

The Gopher wrestling team is still perfect in the conference after it defeated Illinois 25-9 on Friday and shut out Purdue 40-0 Sunday.

Minnesota (7-2, 4-0 Big Ten) won 17 of the 20 matches in the two road duals.

Zach Sanders (125 pounds) had a ferocious come-from-behind win Friday against fifth-ranked wrestler Jesse Delgado at 125. He won 14-13 after trailing 9-2 following the first period.

âÄúSanders was a really exciting match,âÄù head assistant coach Brandon Eggum said. âÄúHe gave up a couple takedowns early against a really good kid, but he just kind of battled back.âÄù

Wrestling started at 197 pounds Friday and Minnesota sealed the victory with a trio of wins in succession from Nick Dardanes (141), Dylan Ness (149) and Alec Ortiz (157).

âÄúI think the one thing [Ness] learned from Ohio State is you have to be careful rolling around,âÄù Eggum said. âÄúEven though a guy like Dylan is very good at scrambling, it can also get you in trouble.âÄù

When Nick Dardanes took the mat, the dual was tied 6-6; after OrtizâÄôs match, Minnesota held a commanding 18-6 lead, aided in large part by NessâÄô overtime pin.

After a Cody Yohn (165) loss, the Gophers closed out the dual with back-to-back victories by Logan Storley (174) and Kevin Steinhaus (184).

Minnesota fired on all cylinders Sunday, taking all 10 matches with four decisions, three major decisions, two technical falls and one pin.

Tony Nelson (heavyweight) picked up the pin for the Gophers with 50 seconds remaining in the first period.

Minnesota added bonus points in every match after the intermission.

âÄúItâÄôs nice to see the guys going out and scoring bonus points,âÄù Eggum said. âÄúThey make a difference in winning national titles and doing very well.âÄù

Ness, one of a slew of Gophers who went 2-0 on the weekend, rebounded nicely after a disappointing loss to Ohio State last weekend.

Chris Dardanes (133) went 1-1 with a close loss to the IlliniâÄôs No. 5 B.J. Futrell and a 7-6 victory over PurdueâÄôs No. 8 Cashé Quiroga.

Storley also went 2-0 and continues to impress in his strong freshman campaign that was essentially delayed until December due to an ankle injury. He currently has a 15-3 record on the season.

âÄú[StorleyâÄôs] really going out and dominating and controlling the matches so thatâÄôs good to see,âÄù Eggum said.

Over the holiday break, the Gophers also finished second at the Southern Scuffle Chattanooga, Tenn., and defeated then-No. 6 Ohio State 24-13 at home.