When word came that two-time team captain and All-American heavyweight Adam Coon was returning for his final year of eligibility following an injury-riddled season, Joe McFarland knew it would be a huge bonus for his team both on and off the mat.
What the Michigan coach wasn’t yet aware of was the bonus the fifth-year senior would provide in the form of extra team points in nearly every match.
Friday night at Cliff Keen Arena, the fourth-ranked Wolverines (7-1 Big Ten, 10-2 overall) defeated in-state rivals Michigan State, 39-3. In their dominance of the Spartans (1-8, 5-10), Michigan relied heavily on bonus points, just as it has all season long.
Coon was responsible for three of those bonus points, rolling to victory via a fall in a mere 1:44. With Friday’s bonus-point triumph, Coon has now secured extra points in eight of the last ten duals, in addition to increasing his yearly total to 15.
“We preach it every week. We want bonus points,” McFarland said. “When you’re focused on your offense and building on leads and getting to major decisions and tech falls and pins, that’s exciting wrestling. That’s what puts fans in the stands. It’s what gets your hand raised.
“It is really important for our guys to stay focused on that aggressive, offensive style of wrestling. So we talk a lot about bonus points and how important they are, not only in the individual matches but also in the final tally. It is really, really important.”
Also really important for Michigan has been the leadership Coon has provided off the mat. In addition to the bonus he frequently provides on the scoreboard, Coon’s presence has helped his younger teammates and the coaching staff alike.
With a dual against No. 2 Ohio State at Crisler Center on Sunday, it would have been easy for the Wolverines to overlook Michigan State. However, McFarland, his staff and Coon kept the team focused on Friday, and helped Michigan avoid the trap the Spartans posed with a tougher matchup versus the Buckeyes dominating the weekend.
“(Adam) did a really, really good job and (he’s) been doing a good job of leading this team all year,” McFarland said. “There wasn’t one time we mentioned Ohio State that we didn’t mention Michigan State before it. That was a concern of ours, guys looking ahead a little bit and taking these guys a little too lightly. But I think we did a pretty good job of staying focused on tonight.”
And for Coon, his focus was on display on the mat immediately, despite wrestling last for the Wolverines. To the tune of a fan chanting, “Let’s get six and go home,” Coon delivered in a bonus-point fashion, concluding the dual and sending the Michigan supporters home happy.