Maryland’s Josh Ulgade found himself on the ground, clutching his left knee and desperately attempting to catch his breath in a match against Michigan redshirt freshman Logan Massa.
But against the mercilessness of the country’s second-ranked wrestler in the 165-pound weight class, those recovery attempts proved to be futile as Massa completed seven takedowns to win by a technical fall, 20-5.
It was the 17th consecutive win for the Wolverine, continuing his undefeated streak for the season thus far.
“He just stalks his opponents,” said Michigan head coach Joe McFarland. “He goes out there with the thought that he’s going to dominate these guys. You can just see how hard he competes when he’s out there — I mean he wrestles every second. He’s constantly thinking about scoring that next point.”
And true to his coach’s words, Massa completed three takedowns in the third period via ankle picks, singles and doubles to earn five team points for Michigan.
“He didn’t want to tie up with me. He wanted to wrestle me from space,” Massa said. “I knew he couldn’t hand fight, and he wanted to keep away and get in shots from space. So if I could get in ties with him, I knew I could score from there.”
After the Wolverines forfeited the 125-pound class due to injuries, Massa watched as his team trailed the Terrapins heading into the locker room, before they took a four-point lead heading into his 165-pound match — the last of the night. With a possible six-points on the line, the overall result of the dual was still undecided before Massa hit the mat.
But the wrestler was unaffected by the pressure of the meet’s results resting on his shoulders. He entered his normal routine prior to his match, bouncing up and down on Michigan’s sideline with a stern demeanor and Drake streaming through his headphones.
“I just go out there and wrestle every match — I don’t think about that,” he said. “Obviously, if you need to get the pin, you need to get the pin. But that’s what you go for every match, so you just go out there and wrestle and score as many points as possible.”
Coming off a decisive loss to Iowa to open 2017, Massa and the Wolverines earned a confidence boost with its 25-16 victory over Maryland before heading to Lincoln for a dual against No. 6 Nebraska.
“We definitely got some momentum going back in our favor,” said redshirt freshman Sal Profaci. “We fought off a lot of attacks tonight, something that we kind of lacked in Iowa when we were a little tense and nervous. It was just good to get this one out and keep the momentum moving into Sunday.”
Watching Massa’s dominance in a Wolverine singlet should also give the team a morale boost heading to Nebraska, where Michigan has not won since 2014.
“Logan’s a kid who’s there every day working on stuff, ready to go,” McFarland said. “He just loves being in the practice room. And that’s what he is: he’s a wrestler.”