Purdue wrestling lost to Minnesota 27-12 on Friday and to Wisconsin 27-14 on Sunday to end its weekend at home.
Purdue (11-3, 4-2 Big Ten) won many of its highly anticipated ranked matches against Minnesota but couldn’t hang on during battles between unranked wrestlers. The Gophers (9-5, 4-2) also won the marquee matchup between No. 18 Purdue junior Griffin Parriott and No. 4 Minnesota redshirt freshman Brayton Lee.
There was a strong contingent of Minnesota fans, despite it being a home meet, including many pulling specifically for Lee. He is from Brownsburg, Indiana, and his home gym is about an hour away from Purdue. This was his first dual meet back in Indiana.
This matchup — the final one of the night — featured a strong Purdue start with Parriott getting an early takedown. The Boilermaker didn’t let Lee up for the entire first period and accumulated a nearly insurmountable riding-time advantage, meaning Parriott would get an extra point at the end of the match.
Lee started picking up steam in the third period but was down by 4 points with riding time. Putting together a stalling point and two takedowns, the match was effectively tied 5-5 going into its final seconds, when Lee put Parriott on his back. By this point, both sides of the stands were on their feet and yelling, making it nearly impossible to hear the buzzer signaling the end of the match.
The referee seemed about ready to call the pin, but with confusion around the end of the period, no points were awarded. The Minnesota coaching staff threw a challenge brick over the situation, but Lee threw his own team’s brick back to his coaches, signaling that he wanted overtime. The referees obliged his request and the end of the match was not reviewed.
Lee had the momentum in overtime and scored yet another takedown to win 7-5.
“There’s several matches that you can easily flip, where you can see that going a different way for us,” Purdue head coach Tony Ersland said, “but that’s on us to go out and impose ourself and make that go our way. Not float along with them and hope we can get it done.”
At the 133-pound weight class, Purdue had a disappointing match. Freshman Travis Ford-Melton opened with a series of promising attacks against Minnesota’s Boo Dryden but wasn’t able to finish any of them. He was then unable to escape in the second period and lost the match by 1 point.
“They were trying to slow us down in a lot of instances,” Ersland said. “At 33, we got slowed down in the second and couldn’t get our engine running again in the third.”
The 184-pound class was another rough match for Purdue. Junior Max Lyon gave up several takedowns and 2 back points in the first period. He was able to get a takedown in the third period as well as eliminate Minnesota’s riding-time advantage, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the early deficit.
“At 84, boy we finished strong, but we came out and we let him get 6 in the first,” Ersland said. “Now we’re trying to come from behind and he gets to just kind of float and coast a little bit, so we couldn’t really put him in danger.”
Purdue sent out sophomore Jared Florell at 184 pounds, who lost a close match to Garrett Joles.
“I was happy with his effort. He filled in and did a nice job for us — we’ve just got to fix a technical deal,” Ersland said. “I can handle a few technical mistakes a lot better than when you’re kind of coasting, and you’re not imposing yourself on somebody.”
Purdue had early wins from senior Dylan Lydy and redshirt freshman Kendall Coleman. Lydy put forward an impressive match against No. 8 Devin Skatzka, where he pushed for a major decision in the third period for a 14-4 win.
Purdue wrestling battled but ultimately fell to Wisconsin (9-3, 2-3). Wisconsin managed to force mistakes from Purdue that cost the Boilers the 141-pound and 184-pound matches.
“Effort was good, but situationally we made two mistakes that cost us two matches and could have really turned the duel in our favor,” Ersland said.
Junior Devin Schroder kicked off the match against Wisconsin with a win in the 125-pound weight class. He managed to narrowly avoid overtime with a 9-8 win at the end of the third period over Eric Barnett.
The Badgers were quickly able to take the lead from the Boilers after freshman Travis Ford-Melton lost by a pin in the first period to Seth Gross.
Wisconsin continued to dominate the Boilers moving into heavier weight classes.
Coleman helped to close the score gap and bring it to 12-8 with a win over Drew Scharenbrock at the 157-pound weight class.
The 197-pound match ended in overtime after Florell managed a takedown over Taylor Watkins to make the score 21-14.
Wisconsin’s Trent Hillger won 285 pounds over redshirt freshman Thomas Penola due to an injury violation that forced a forfeit from Penola, making the final score 27-14. Penola was accused of headbutting Hillger when Hillger had to leave the mat to be assessed by an athletic trainer.
“We’re not going to sit there and dwell over this loss," Coleman said. "I believe that we’ll go back in the room and get back to work, and I think we’ll come back even stronger for Nebraska.”