Big 10 supremacy no clearer after tie

Still, the No. 5 Gophers have yet to lose in the Big Ten, while No. 3 Penn State has a loss to Iowa.

Gophers Daniel Zilverberg pins Penn States Frank Molinaro on Sunday in the Sports Pavilion. The gophers duel with Penn state ended in a 18-18 tie.

Image by Jules Ameel

Gophers Daniel Zilverberg pins Penn States Frank Molinaro on Sunday in the Sports Pavilion. The gophers duel with Penn state ended in a 18-18 tie.

by Derek Wetmore

Filling one of the biggest holes in the GophersâÄô lineup, Sonny Yohn came back Sunday from a knee injury and a 10-week hiatus with the dual on the line.

Yohn entered with No. 5 Minnesota trailing No. 3 Penn State by a point, much to the delight of the 4,020 fans gathered at the Sports Pavilion. They roared as the All-American, who has been out since the Southern Scuffle, burst from the locker room.

YohnâÄôs aggressive style resulted in a major decision at 197-pounds, but the resulting three-point lead wouldnâÄôt last, as heavyweight Tony Nelson dropped a 2-0 decision, and the Gophers and Nittany Lions tied 18-18 Sunday afternoon.

âÄúI think when you get an All-American back in your lineup it helps you a little bit,âÄù head coach J Robinson said.

âÄúIt gives you a pretty good [idea] that youâÄôre going to get a win [at 197] so it helps confidence-wise with the whole team. When you get all the holes filled with your starters, it manifests itself on everybody.âÄù

The tie, however, wasnâÄôt nearly as welcome as SonnyâÄôs return.

âÄúObviously itâÄôs nice to wrestle here any time, but this one is special because it was a close dual,âÄù Yohn said. âÄúI was just hoping weâÄôd come out on top âÄî I hate ties.âÄù

Of Nelson, Robinson said: âÄúTonyâÄôs got to learn to get off the bottom. ItâÄôs a good lesson and itâÄôs better we learned it now before the Big Ten championship is at stake.âÄù

Zach Sanders (125 pounds) opened the dual with a decision, but Minnesota wrestled from behind for most of the night.

David Thorn (133) followed Sanders and gave up a major decision to No. 9 Andrew Long. His older brother, Mike Thorn, regained a brief lead with a decision at 141.

Matt Mincey (157) was thoroughly dominated, giving up a technical fall to No. 3 David Taylor. Taylor, a freshman, has not lost a match yet this season.

The technical fall left the Gophers staring at a 12-6 deficit heading into intermission and in need of a spark.

Cody Yohn (165) provided it, earning a major decision and cutting the deficit to two.

Scott Glasser (174) was sluggish in a loss to No. 2 Ed Ruth, but he earned an escape point with time winding down in the third period to avoid a major decision.

Immediately preceding SonnyâÄôs match, Kevin Steinhaus (184) earned a major decision over All-American Quentin Wright. Robinson said his team could take a lesson from the way Steinhaus wrestled because he attacked and chased bonus points.

âÄúWe have to be a little bit more dominant and get a little bit more aggressive in some of the matches we lost,âÄù Robinson said. âÄúWe expect everybody to win. When we come to a dual, we expect to get 10 wins every time âÄî we donâÄôt expect anybody to lose. So thatâÄôs the mentality that they have to have when they walk out there.âÄù

Minnesota comfortably beats No. 10 Michigan

The Gophers started quickly Friday against Michigan, when Sanders started the dual off with a pin at 4:46 and David Thorn (133) earned an upset win with a decision over No. 20 Zac Stevens.

âÄúHe went out and he was aggressive and took him down right away,âÄù Robinson said. âÄúHe wrestled hard the whole time.âÄù

Mike Thorn (141) attempted to avenge a loss earlier this season to No. 1 Kellen Russell but dropped a decision in extra time, 3-1. Thorn is ranked No. 2 in the country at 141, with his only two losses of the season coming to top-ranked Russell.

Danny Zilverberg (149), who is coming on strong of late, picked up a decision before Mincey (157) dropped one.

Cody Yohn and Nelson each earned decisions, and Steinhaus contributed to an impressive individual weekend, earning a major to decision along the way.

Since they have not lost in the Big Ten this season, the Gophers stand to earn the Big Ten dual title if they win next weekend against Iowa in the seasonâÄôs final tilt.

âÄúWe still have a chance to chart our own destiny so weâÄôll see what happens there,âÄù Robinson said. âÄúWeâÄôre pretty excited for it.âÄù