Senior Zach Toal (No. 8) looks for his 20th win of the season against No. 10 Cooper Moore of UNI on Friday
Jan. 23, 2014
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Behind a major decision win by true freshman J'den Cox, the seventh-ranked Tigers defeated Central Michigan 16-15 last weekend in Mount Pleasant, Mich., to improve to a perfect 4-0 on the season. They will put their unblemished record (4-0, 2-0) on the line this weekend, starting Friday night at the West Gym, home to the No. 5 Northern Iowa Panthers (6-0, 3-0). The Tigers will then head to DeKalb, Ill., for a date with Northern Illinois (6-7, 1-3) on Saturday afternoon.
Mizzou, fresh off their conference victory over the Chippewas, will have their hands full Friday night with the Panthers, who are also coming off one of the biggest upsets of the 2013-14 season. The Panthers topped No. 4 Oklahoma this past weekend on the road with a 19-17 over an undefeated Sooner program. The win helped the Panthers jump four spots in this week's USA Today/NWCA/AWN Coaches Poll to No. 5, their highest ranking under Head Coach Doug Schwab.
The Tigers hope to continue their recent dominance over Northern Iowa, having won the last four meetings including a 27-9 win last year at UNI. Friday night will feature seven wrestlers ranked in the top-10 of their respective weight classes, including great showdowns at 165 pounds between Mizzou's No. 8 Zach Toal and No. 10 Cooper Moore of UNI, as well as at 184 between Tiger-captain No. 15 Johnny Eblen and UNI-senior No. 5 Ryan Loder.
"This is the best Northern Iowa team I've seen in over 20 years of coaching at the collegiate level," Head Coach Brian Smith said of the UNI program. "Doug (Schwab) has done a great job getting his guys to reach the level they are at now. Their first three weights are bonus-point machines, and they just got their 184-pound All-American (Ryan Loder) back in the lineup. They really don't have a weak spot and are solid all the way through, and I think we are too, so it is going to be a competitive match. We are going to have to step in to West Gym and be ready to compete with the crowd noise and the intensity of the matchup. It should be a great atmosphere."
Coming into Friday's action, the Tigers hold on to the top spot in the MAC-rankings, with Northern Iowa ranked right behind them at No. 2. Action begins at 7 p.m. from West Gym on the UNI campus.
Following Friday's dual, Mizzou will make its way to Northern Illinois for a Saturday matinee with the Huskies, beginning at 2 p.m. The Tigers sport a 12-2 all-time record against NIU, who looks to get back to the .500 mark against Brian Smith's squad.
BOUTCARD at No. 5 Northern Iowa (Friday, 7 p.m.)
125: Zach Synon, RSFr. (27-9) OR Barlow McGhee, Fr. (16-4) vs. No. 6 Dylan Peters, Fr. (21-4)
133: Matt Manley, RSFr. (19-6) OR vs. No. 1 Joe Colon, Sr. (20-1)
141: Lavion Mayes, RSFr. (20-8) OR Trevor Jauch, So. (16-3) vs. No. 19 Joey Lazor, Sr. (9-3)
149: No. 1 Drake Houdashelt, Jr. (23-1) vs. Tyler Patten, RSFR. (17-9)
157: Joey Lavallee, Fr. (19-5) vs. Jarrett Jensen, So. (7-5)
165: No. 8 Zach Toal, Sr. (19-3) vs. No. 10 Cooper Moore, RSFr. (17-5)
174: No. 18 Mikey England, Jr. (13-7) vs. Cody Caldwell, So. (11-7)
184: No. 15 Johnny Eblen, Jr. (18-6) vs. No. 5 Ryan Loder, Sr. (4-0)
197: No. 5 J'den Cox, Fr. (22-2) vs. Basil Minto, Jr. (14-8)
HWT: Devin Mellon, Jr. (16-7) vs. Blaize Cabell, So. (15-9)
BOUTCARD at Northern Illinois (Saturday, 2 p.m.)
125: Zach Synon, RSFr. (27-9) OR Barlow McGhee, Fr. (16-4) vs. Nick Harrison, RSSo.
133: Matt Manley, RSFr. (19-6) OR vs. Nick Smith, Sr.
141: Lavion Mayes, RSFr. (20-8) OR Trevor Jauch, So. (16-3) vs. Tyler Argue, Jr.
149: No. 1 Drake Houdashelt, Jr. (23-1) vs. Rob Jillard, Sr.
157: Joey Lavallee, Fr. (19-5) vs. Andrew Morse, So.
165: No. 8 Zach Toal, Sr. (19-3) vs. Sam Bennett, RSJr. OR Shaun'Qae McMurty, RSFr.
174: No. 18 Mikey England, Jr. (13-7) vs. Matt Mougin, RSSr.
184: No. 15 Johnny Eblen, Jr. (18-6) vs. Caleb Busson, RSJr.
197: No. 5 J'den Cox, Fr. (22-2) vs. Shawn Scott, RSFr.
HWT: Devin Mellon, Jr. (16-7) vs. Jared Torrence, RSSr.
The Tigers don't slow down for the next couple of weekend's, with two more top-10 matchups coming next weekend when Mizzou heads back on the road for duals against No. 6 Oklahoma and No. 9 Oklahoma State. The squad will then host Buffalo and Eastern Michigan at the Hearnes Center on Feb. 7 and Feb. 8 in what will be the first action at the Hearnes Center for the Tigers this year.
Mizzou's matchup on Feb. 7 versus Buffalo will be a part of Mizzou Athletics' annual Beauty and the Beast event, where both Mizzou Wrestling and Mizzou's Gymnastics team compete simultaneously. Tickets for the event are on sale now at MUTigers.com/tickets.
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