EAST LANSING — During the Michigan wrestling team’s pre-match introductions against Michigan State, Sparty tried to give a good-natured fist bump to Michigan freshman Zac Stevens.
Sparty received nothing in return, something that was common for the Spartans all afternoon.
After coming from behind to upset No. 8 Minnesota 17-16 Friday, No. 18 Michigan demolished its in-state rivals 28-7 Sunday afternoon in front of a crowd of 1,284.
The most exciting thing for many of the members of Michigan’s team was wrestling on Michigan State’s raised platform, the only one in the nation. The platform brings about a sense that all eyes are on the wrestlers, and the noise that the platform makes only enhances the experience.
“It’s always fun to beat Michigan State, especially in (Jenison Field House),” senior Tyrel Todd said. “They got the platform, they’ve got a lot of great fans, so it is definitely fun beating them here and doing it in a dominating fashion.”
The Wolverines fell behind 7-6 heading into the 157-pound match featuring Michigan redshirt sophomore Aaron Hynes.
With Michigan State’s Anthony Jones Jr. holding a three-point lead in the third period, the home announcer told the crowd, “Jones is dominating on his feet.” Moments later, Hynes scored a takedown and converted that to a near fall, scoring five points and taking the match 9-7.
After Hynes’s victory, Michigan went on to win the remaining five matches.
“Nobody tells me that I’m the pivotal match,” Hynes said. “They just tell me to go out there and have fun, and winning’s fun.”
Todd (197 pounds) carried the momentum he gained two days from his 16-5 victory over Minnesota junior Chris McPhail into his bout against Michigan State freshman Ian Hinton. After scoring a takedown right away, he added an exclamation point to the match by scoring a pin just one minute and 41 seconds into the match.
“The Michigan State boy wasn’t real strong,” Todd said. “I got on top of him and was surprised at how weak he felt, so I was like, ‘I’m just going to stick this guy right away.’ ”
The two time All-American has posted an 11-1 record since tearing his ACL in early December.
“He’s back,” Michigan coach Joe McFarland said. “I like the way he’s competing, he’s in great shape. … He’ll be there down the stretch. No question about it.”
Sophomore heavyweight Eddie Phillips ended the meet with a bout against his former high school teammate and Spartan junior Alan O’Donnell. Tied 1-1, the meet went into overtime.
Phillips got into trouble early in the extra period, but got out of it and scored a takedown for a 3-1 victory.
It was gratification for Phillips, who lost to O’Donnell the last time they met.
“Three years ago we were in high school together, and there was no way we would’ve ever thought we would be wrestling on the Big Ten Network,” Phillips said. “That was just something that was in the back of my head the whole time.”
It was also the third overtime match this year for Phillips. He holds a 2-1 record in extra time.
“I believe I can beat anybody in overtime, so I don’t try to force bad moves early in the match,” Phillips said.
After their two Big Ten wins this weekend, the Wolverines’ 4-0-1 record in conference play sharply contrasts their 5-6 non-conference record. With seven starting underclassmen the young Wolverines needed the non-conference season to adjust to the rigors of collegiate competition.
Michigan’s turnaround needs to continue in the final four conference dual meets if it wants to match last year’s third-place Big Ten finish.
“We’re working on little things that we need to do better,” McFarland said. “We’re wrestling harder through a lot of these little positions. We’re riding tough. We’re not giving our opponents anything, so that’s really good to see.”