Friday night was a disappointing night for Maryland wrestling. The Terps went to Piscataway trying to put their frustrating and demoralizing loss to Navy behind them. Maryland wrestled Rutgers close last season. Friday night was a very different story.
When I saw the Terrapins lose 9 of 10 matches to Rutgers, I didn't see this year's team. I saw last year's team. Where was the team that put up nine points on Iowa, Nebraska and Illinois? Where was the team that put up double digits on Minnesota on the road? Where was the fight? Where was the hunger?
I didn't see fight. I didn't see hunger. I saw one team enforce their will against another team. For the second year in a row, the Scarlet Knights dictated the pace and tempo of the entire dual. Maryland (4-10, 1-6) simply did not execute in key situations in matches.
Here are three things that we learned from the Maryland-Rutgers dual:
1) Ryan Diehl made his Maryland dual debut at 149 pounds
The big-time recruit that was supposed to help anchor Maryland at the lightweights spent a couple of seasons at Liberty before making it to College Park. Now that the spring semester has rolled around, he is eligible. He lost his debut, 4-0, to Tyson Dippery.
2) Maryland's lineup remains in flux
Alfred Bannister returned to the starting lineup at 141 pounds. He lost a close match to a tough top-10 wrestler in Anthony Ashnault. Diehl made his debut at 149, replacing Wade Hodges. Tyler Manion started in place of Brendan Burnham at 165 pounds and got teched. Derrick Evanovich started at 174 pounds instead of Josh Snook and lost by seven points.
Peck was in at heavyweight, but we've seen Hemida before too. Beck was in at 125 pounds, but we've seen Simmons as well. Geoffrey Alexander's health will probably ensure that Tyler Goodwin hits the mat again at 133 pounds before the season is over.
The Terps will never be a consistent team until they find a consistent lineup.
3) The Terps are in a funk
Tough losses like the ones to Indiana, Purdue and Navy tend to linger and fester. Sometimes they culminate in results like Friday night's debacle against Rutgers. Rutgers is a great team, and, in my opinion, Maryland just wasn't ready mentally for the dual. When you're not ready, a great opponent or team will pounce and beat you badly.
The Terps are not going to right the ship against Michigan. It's not going to happen. However, after their dual with the Wolverines, they have a little over a week to get ready for their Big Ten finale at home against Wisconsin. Maryland could best the Badgers in the friendly confines of the Xfinity Center.
With a month and a half left in the season, George Mason and Rider remain as two winnable matches on the schedule that could help the Terps rebuild their confidence as they head towards the postseason.
Courtesy of Maryland Athletics:
Maryland 3, Rutgers 30
125: No. 20 Sean McCabe (RU) major decision over Michael Beck (MD), 12-4 (0-4)
133: No. 16 Geoffrey Alexander (MD) decision over No. 18 Anthony Giraldo (RU), 9-2 (3-4)
141: No. 6 Anthony Ashnault (RU) decision over Alfred Bannister (MD), 7-5 (3-7)
149: Tyson Dippery (RU) decision over Ryan Diehl (MD), 4-0 (3-10)
157: No. 17 Richie Lewis (RU) decision over Lou Mascola (MD), 6-2 (3-13)
165: No. 8 Anthony Perrotti technical fall over Tyler Manion (MD), 15-0 (3-18)
174: vs. Phil Bakuckas (RU) decision over Derrick Evanovich (MD), 12-5 (3-21)
184: Nicholas Gravina (RU) decision over Jaron Smith (MD), 9-3 (3-24)
197: Hayden Hrymack (RU) decision over Garrett Wesneski (MD), 7-3 (3-27)
285: No. 13 Billy Smith (RU) tiebreaker decision over Dawson Peck (MD), 8-5 (TB-1) (3-30)