Friday the 13th is a worrisome day for the superstitious. And though the No. 11 Michigan wrestling team felt none of its effects, its opponent suffered a night of bad luck.

The Wolverines walked off the mat last weekend with their tails between their legs after a harsh loss against Illinois. But they looked like a brand new team on Friday, dominating Indiana in a 33-6 victory.

And they were certainly dressed like one. After more than two decades, Michigan coach Joe McFarland decided it was time to test out the white singlets at home.

“They look great in the box, but you’re never sure how they’re going to look on the guys until you get them on,” said Michigan assistant coach Sean Bormet. “But I think they look pretty good. It’s good to change it up. The guys were excited to get them.”

That excitement and change translated onto the mat. Michigan left the Hoosiers scoreless in the first seven bouts while racking up bonus points with major decisions, technical falls and a pin by 133-pound senior Zac Stevens.

Following an aggressive start, Stevens forced the fall on Indiana redshirt freshman Joe Duca in just 1:42 to win his first home match this season.

“It felt good, kind of like getting the monkey off the back,” Stevens said.

Redshirt sophomore Brandon Zeerip felt that same way after winning his first 157-pound bout of the season at Cliff Keen Arena.

Zeerip followed 149-pound redshirt sophomore Eric Grajales with a consecutive major decision. Zeerip accumulated a 25-12 win after wrestling back from a 5-0 deficit early in the first period. He added six additional takedowns with 2:26 in riding time in the final two periods.

Zeerip’s comeback mirrored the Wolverines’ own resilience coming off the Illinois loss.

There was a noticeable difference in the team between their last two matches. After being knocked off the pedestal of their No. 8 rank, Michigan felt the pressure to win.

“The coaches stressed to us about being mentally tough,” Zeerip said. “Last week we went out kind of flat without any energy. We definitely worked on our toughness and effort.”

Each Wolverine that took the mat allayed the coaching staff’s concerns of inconsistent aggressiveness.

“Our attack rate was good,” Bormet said. “We put several guys, at several weight classes, on their backs.”

In the lineup between Stevens and Zeerip was fifth-year senior Kellen Russell, who never fails to add to the stat sheet. Russell improved to 120-12 in his career with the latest victory being a 3:59 technical fall on Hoosier redshirt freshman Ryen Nieman.

Russell is a single win away from becoming Michigan’s 16th winningest wrestler. As it stands, Russell shares the 17th place with Lanny Green and is on pace to surpass No. 16 Tyrel Todd. Coincidentally, both of the alumni were in attendance to witness the victory of their successor.

Though they had enough cushion from the lightweights and middleweights, the Wolverines suffered two close losses — the Hoosiers managed to get on the board with two back-to-back wins at 184 and 197 pounds. But redshirt junior Ben Apland managed to win to stop the superstition that “bad luck comes in threes” from ringing true.

Apland won the heavyweight match against Indiana redshirt sophomore Adam Chalfant after taking the lead from a 2-2 tie at the end of the first period. With a body lock and single-leg takedown, Apland pushed himself to a perfect 4-0 record in the current Big Ten season.

“Our team is good enough to be a top-five team,” Stevens said. “We want to bring home a trophy.”

Michigan may be well on their way after leaving Indiana feeling helpless. And though the night remains infamously unlucky, the Wolverines have yet to walk under the ladder.

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