Minnesota comes up on short end of dog fight

Marija Majerle, Daily File Photo

Marija Majerle

Marija Majerle, Daily File Photo

As the last seconds ticked away in the heavyweight bout on Friday night, there was no need to look at the scoreboard. A quick glance at MinnesotaâÄôs bench told the whole story. Sophomore Ben Berhow was about to record a 5-2 decision over MichiganâÄôs Edwin Phillips, a result that typically prompts a smile. Instead, the GophersâÄôs sideline was packed with long faces âÄì a win by decision wasnâÄôt enough. Earlier in the week, Minnesota wrestling head coach J Robinson said âÄúEvery dual meet [in the Big Ten] is going to be a dog fight,âÄù and thatâÄôs certainly what the Gophers got against the Wolverines. He explained what it took to win a dog fight, too: âÄúSomeone is going to have to step up every week.âÄù But on Friday night, that big win didnâÄôt come. Minnesota had four chances at upsets; it capitalized on none of them. The story the GophersâÄô faces told was this: Michigan 17, Minnesota 16. âÄúSomebodyâÄôs got to win whoâÄôs not expected to win,âÄù Robinson said. âÄúIt didnâÄôt happen tonight and this is exactly what happens.âÄù The Gophers didnâÄôt trail until the WolverinesâÄô 6th-ranked Tyrel Todd notched a 16-5 major decision over junior Chris McPhail, but Michigan never let Minnesota out of its sights. After redshirt freshman Zach Sanders (125-pounds) and junior Jayson Ness (133) staked the Gophers a 7-0 lead, redshirt sophomore Mike Thorn took the mat across from the WolverinesâÄô Kellen Russell. Thorn, ranked No. 8 and 3-0 in the Big Ten, found himself in a 4-1 hole after the first period and couldnâÄôt battle back, allowing No. 5 Russell and the Wolverines to cut into the lead. Despite trailing, Michigan hung around until its back-to-back-to-back combination of No. 1 Steve Luke (174), No. 13 Anthony Biondo (184) and No. 6 Tyrel Todd (197) posted 11 points for the Wolverines and vaulted them to a 17-13 lead. The men Minnesota put across from Luke, Biondo and Todd never seemed to have a chance. âÄúItâÄôs like they gave them too much respect,âÄù Robinson said, adding âÄúIf we were aggressive enough and did what we were supposed to [tonight] we would have won. We didnâÄôt wrestle the way we did last week and it showed.âÄù