Blackmon A Hero As OSU Wins Bedlam, Again

STILLWATER – Leave it to Bedlam, it's the kind of event that can turn mere mortals into heroes. The names of the past - David Hille and Mitch Shelton to name a few - roll off the tongue. Now you can add Rusty Blackmon, who provided the most surprising momentum building turnaround in the 23-12 win by the top-ranked Cowboys over No. 3 Oklahoma on Friday night at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

At 184 pounds, a weight that Oklahoma State head coach John Smith has shuttled wrestlers in and out of so far this season, the Cowboys were facing falling even further behind the Sooners with just two matches left in the dual. OU led 12-11 in the team score and in the third period at 184 Justin Dyer was up 3-1 with just 20 seconds left. That's when Blackmon entered the proverbial phone booth as Clark Kent and came out Superman.

Blackmon grabbed one of Dyer's legs and pushed forward for the takedown. He readjusted on the fall to the mat and was able to force Dyer to his back to earn a three-point near fall and held the 11th-ranked Sooner in control to the final buzzer. A 3-1 deficit that quickly with a five-point move became an OSU lead on the scoreboard 14-12 with two-time national champions Jake Rosholt and Steve Mocco on deck and in the hole for the Cowboys the rest of the way. Dyer had never lost in a Bedlam dual and just last season defeated Clay Kehrer, Smith's other potential option to wrestle that weight, twice last season.

"It was a good effort by Rusty," said Smith, who was careful to say that 184 was still very much open for the Cowboys. "The second period was really ugly, but Rusty did a good job with the quick takedown and the readjust to pick up the back points."

Heavyweight Steve Mocco, who didn't see Blackmon's come-from-behind win, said it did cause a surge of momentum.

"It was a good win even though I didn't see it," said Mocco. "Winning there helped solidify the position and I could hear the crowd really erupt. That really helps when we can get our fans going. It's what people pay to see. They pay to come see us perform and anytime that happens it helps the sport."

Blackmon, himself, downplayed his heroics. He admitted that he didn't even know it was going to be him wrestling at the weight until a little before the match.

"He's a tough kid," said the senior from Cleveland, Tenn. "I'm just trying to stay on an even keel, not get too high and not get too low. The last 20 seconds I just started wrestling and not really thinking."

That's something Blackmon may want to try a little more often. He came into the match struggling with just a 5-4 record, including a loss in the last dual against Lehigh a week ago.

"You guys are making me out to be a hero, but you can come to the wrestling room for practice on Sunday and see Jake (Rosholt) or anyone of several other guys throw me on my back," Blackmon said.

As it turned out the Cowboys didn't need Blackmon's upset at 184. In the next match at 197 pounds top-ranked Jake Rosholt used a third-period escape and a classic single leg penetration for a takedown to score a 3-1 decision over second-ranked Joel Flaggert of OU. Mocco put the exclamation point on the evening in the Cowboys 15th straight win and 23rd dual without a loss to the Sooners. In the second period Mocco used his standard leg sweep to put OU heavyweight Jake Hager on the mat and proceeded to strong arm him to his back for the fall at 3:41. Mocco followed suit as none of the Cowboys were particularly gloating over the win.

"I could have done more in the first period," said Mocco, who led after the first three minutes 2-1. "I just kept positioning and was finally able to open up on my attack. I could hear the crowd and see they were pleased. Like I said that is good for the sport if they get what they paid to see."

The Cowboys won six of the 10 matches and scored all the bonus points in the dual with major decisions by 133-pounder Nate Morgan and 149-pounder and defending national champion Zack Esposito, along with Mocco's pin. However, Smith said it was far from his team's best.

"It was a good match to watch," said Smith. "I thought our first periods were slow for the most part. Some matches I thought we'd control we were not real effective. I'm pleased with the guys that stayed focused, but I thought some of our guys wrestled tight."

The attitude from the losers was, believe it or not, much more positive.

"I thought we wrestled hard, but lost to a great team," said OU head coach Jack Spates. "It was not because of a lack of effort."

Oklahoma, as expected, won two of the first three matches as third-ranked Sam Hazewinkel ran his record to 3-1 against Cowboy sophomore and fifth-ranked Coleman Scott with a hard fought 6-4 decision. Second-ranked Teyon Ware of the Sooners scored a 4-3 decision over a gritty Daniel Frishkorn. However, Oklahoma's biggest win may have come at 157 where true freshman Will Rowe silenced the crowd with an overtime sudden victory over OSU senior Kevin Ward with a solid takedown for the 7-5 decision. Rowe, who had come to Stillwater last week to watch the OSU dual with Lehigh, said he had heard enough talking out of the OSU pep band and the fans that sit next to the band.

"I looked at them and did the pistols like the fans do," Rowe said of his victory celebration before being reminded by Spates that he first put his finger to his lips to tell them to be quiet. "Oh yeah, I did that first."

Later when asked if he saw Rowe's display, Cowboy coach John Smith said he was glad he didn't. He hinted that he would like his team to have a display of their own for Bedlam in Norman on Feb. 19, a more dominating effort that he feels his team is capable of.

#1 Oklahoma State 23, #3 Oklahoma 12
125 – Hazewinkel (OU) dec. Scott; 6-4
133 – Morgan (OSU) maj. dec. Anderson; 16-5
141 – Ware (OU) dec. Frishkorn; 4-3
149 – Esposito (OSU) maj. dec. Stonriolo: 12-4
157 – Rowe (OU) dec. Ward; 7-5 Sudden Victory (OT)
165 – Hendricks (OSU) dec. King; 5-0
174 – Robert (OU) dec. Mason; 5-3
184 – Blackmon (OSU) dec. Dyer; 6-3
197 – Rosholt (OSU) dec. Flaggert; 3-1
285 – Macco (OSU) fall Hager; 3:41

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