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Rutgers Wrestling falls to Michigan at Madison Square Garden

23rd ranked Rutgers fell to Big Ten rival Michigan in a historic day of collegiate wrestling at MSG.

NEW YORK CITY – The No. 23 Rutgers wrestling team suffered its fourth loss in five meets on Saturday, falling to No. 25 Michigan 21-16. The Scarlet Knights worked a five-five matched split, and took a 16-15 lead into the final bout. But a pin by Wolverines heavyweight and No. 2 ranked Mason Parris over Alex Esposito sunk Rutgers in another close loss.

“We got beat because we gave up more bonus points,” head coach Scott Goodale said afterward. “It was a 5-5 split. They had a pin and a tach [fall]. That’s the difference.”

133-pounder Sammy Alvarez, 165-pounder Brett Donner, 174-pounder Willie Scott, 184-pounder Billy Janzer and 197-pounder Jordan Pagano all earned victories for the Knights.

Janzer worked a 3-1 overtime victory against a top-15 opponent in Michigan’s Jelani Embree.

“I just train so hard. Every day in the room, we are wrestling,” Janzer said. “I am not prepared to wrestle for seven minutes. I am prepared to wrestle for 30 minutes. Every day, we preach, no matter what happens, whatever goes on out there, just go back on the line. All the time, we talk about ‘look the way you want to perform.’ So if I am sitting there hanging my head looking tired, I am not going to wrestle my best. But when I go back on the line and look that guy in the eyes, he knows that I’m ready to go and that can take a lot out of a guy.”

Michigan opened the meet winning four of the first five matches, two by extra points, to take a 15-3 lead into the intermission. Rutgers responded out of the break with four straight wins to take a one-point lead into the final 285-pound matchup.

With a chance to clinch a final-bout victory at The World’s Most Famous Arena, Esposito lasted all but 1:16 against the nation’s second-ranked heavyweight. Parris worked a six-point pin to deliver Rutgers a second-straight dual defeat for the second time this year.

“Until you go through it, it’s a gauntlet,” Goodale said. “And everybody talks about the Big Ten and how tough it is, that’s true. …At every single weight, you have to bring it. And these young guys, they are kind of hitting a bit of a wall. We have to do a better job of getting some more rest, keeping some guys out of practice. We’ll do that a little more as we get closer and closer to compete for the Big Ten Tournament.”

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