Mauller, No. 24 Missouri look for upset wins at No. 11 Oklahoma State
The Tigers hit the road to take on one of the best teams in the country.
Jan. 31, 2020
No. 5 Brock Mauller, 20-1 this year and 53-6 in his young career at Missouri, has yet to face an opponent in his sophomore season whose ranking is higher than his.
That will change on Sunday when Mauller and the No. 24 Tigers head to Stillwater, Oklahoma to take on No. 3 Boo Lewallen and the No. 11 Oklahoma State Cowboys. Mauller is set to butt heads with Lewallen at the 149-pound weight class, where the junior hasn’t lost a match in over a full calendar year.
“It’s just like any other match,” Mauller said. “I might be a little more focused — I mean, I’m focused for every match. But I’ll just go in there, do what I need to do, wrestle how I wrestle.”
Since debuting as a true freshman last season with a 12-6 win over then-No. 8 Jarrett Degen of Iowa State, Mauller has established himself as one of the premier wrestlers in the country. The Columbia native and graduate of Fr. Tolton Catholic High School went on to win the Mid-American Conference championship at 149 pounds and finish sixth at the NCAA championships.
Mauller’s signature weapon is his double-leg shot. He’ll dip forward, onto one knee, and under his opponent’s waist with incredible quickness. Then he’ll grab the back of his man’s hamstrings before he has a chance to sprawl, and drive him into the mat for two points.
His confidence in that double-leg shot has never been higher.
“Oh, I’ll score it on anyone in the country,” Mauller said. “Just getting to it, that’s all I need to work on. Just getting to that double. If I get there, I’m scoring every time.”
Mauller isn’t the only Tiger with a tough matchup against Oklahoma State. The powerhouse program features five top-12 wrestlers: Lewallen, No. 4 Nick Piccininni at 125, No. 9 Travis Wittlake at 165, No. 12 Joe Smith at 174, and No. 11 Dakota Geer at 197.
A win over the Cowboys would be the Tigers’ first against a current NWCA Coaches Poll Top 25 team in five tries. Missouri faced No. 7 Virginia Tech, No. 12 Lehigh, No. 17 Cornell, and No. 15 Northern Iowa, and it lost all four duals.
“Oklahoma State’s well-coached,” coach Brian Smith said. “They have a really good team. But matchup-wise, I know we can compete with them and go down there and get a win. I know it, they have to know it.”
Missouri faced Oklahoma State last season as well, that time in the Hearnes Center. The then-No. 5 Tigers fought until the end against the then-No. 2 team in the country, but the Cowboys won the last match in overtime to clinch the meet.
Smith stressed that if the young Tigers stay true to the moves and techniques they’ve worked on all season, they can go on the road flip last year’s result against a top-11 team.
“What it takes is winning your positions, going and getting takedowns when it’s short-time at the end of a period, getting off the bottom, riding really tough,” Smith said. “And if we do that with the energy that we did in that first match [against Northern Illinois], we’ll compete at a high level and we can go get a win down there.”
Edited by Eli Hoff | firstname.lastname@example.org