Ichigo Takikawa, Daily File Photo
Gophers redshirt senior Kevin Steinhaus won a major decision in his return to the lineup as No. 2 Minnesota beat No. 5 Oklahoma State 16-15 on Sunday in Stillwater, Okla.
The Gophers and Cowboys both won five matches, but Steinhaus recorded the bonus point that ultimately decided the dual.
“That was a big win for us,” head assistant coach Brandon Eggum said of Steinhaus’ match, “especially going out there and getting the major decision.”
The Gophers trailed 15-6 with three matches remaining when Steinhaus (184 pounds) earned four team points with a 14-5 major decision. He recorded six takedowns in the match and physically dominated Oklahoma State redshirt freshman Jordan Rodgers.
“It was exciting to get back with the team,” he said.
Steinhaus tore his left ACL playing soccer in June and had surgery in July. He said he initially expected rehab to take six months but said it went better than expected.
The coaches decided last week that Steinhaus would travel to Stillwater, Eggum said, and his teammates appeared excited to have him back.
“Just having him around gets everyone else up and excited to wrestle,” redshirt senior heavyweight Tony Nelson said.
Minnesota still trailed 15-10 after Steinhaus’ win, but redshirt junior Scott Schiller (197) and Nelson followed with wins by decision.
Schiller’s opponent scored an early takedown, but Schiller tied the match in the second period and ensured the victory with a near fall in the third.
Nelson won a 2-0 bout to close the dual.
The win was Minnesota’s second straight against the Cowboys. The Gophers beat Oklahoma State 28-9 last season in the National Dual finals at Williams Arena.
“We’ve got a great rivalry with Oklahoma State,” Steinhaus said.
The Cowboys won the first two matches Sunday, but Minnesota tied the score with wins by redshirt juniors Chris and Nick Dardanes at 141 and 149, respectively.
Oklahoma State then won three straight matches and took a 15-6 lead before Minnesota scored the final 10 points of the match.
“Nobody was really ecstatic that we won,” Steinhaus said. “We know we can do a lot better.”