Blackford's Pin in the Final Bout Lifts ASU Over Oregon 22-19

Feb. 2, 2001

EUGENE, Ore. - Trailing by three points with one bout remaining, senior All-American Steve Blackford came through for the Sun Devils in the clutch, pinning Leif Williams in 3:33 and lifting No. 15 Arizona State wrestling to a dramatic 22-19 Pac-10 victory over No. 17 Oregon at McArthur Court Friday night.

The Sun Devils remain unbeaten in Pac-10 action with a 3-0 conference mark, winning their third straight dual match and improving their overall record to 8-3. Oregon drops their fourth-straight, falling to 7-7 overall and 4-3 in the Pac-10.

Trailing by a substantial margin of 16-4 after five matches, ASU won four of the final five bouts to come back for the victory. Junior David Douglas, ranked 15h at 133 pounds, sparked the Sun Devil rally with an upset 4-0 decision over ninth-ranked Brian Watson, followed by a much-needed pin by sophomore All-American and third-ranked Eric Larkin of Casey Hunt in 1:45.

After ASU junior Dana Holland fell victim to a 11-5 major decision by Tony Overstake at 149 pounds, the Sun Devils still had six points to make up on the scoreboard for a tie. No. 13 Sophomore Rocky Smart came to the rescue, getting ASU within three points with a 6-4 overtime decision over Eugene Harris at 157 pounds. Smart's takedown with one second left in overtime sealed the nail-biting victory.

With the match on the line, Blackford then came through with flying colors. In the first period, Blackford, ranked fourth at 165, scored a takedown but Williams tied the match with a reversal with one tick left on the clock. In the second period, Williams was no match for Blackford as the 2000 Pac-10 Wrestler of the Year scored a reversal and then the final pin in the second frame.

ASU had to fight its way back all evening, after opening the dual at 174 pounds with a major decision by junior Curtis Owen, ranked 20th in the nation, over Luke Larwin, 13-2. Oregon then went on to win the next four matches, by wrestlers all ranked at least eighth in their respective weight classes.

The Sun Devils will now return home to host Cal State Bakersfield, Sunday, Feb. 4 at 2 p.m. in Wells Fargo Arena.

No. 15 Arizona State 22 vs. No. 17 Oregon 19
Friday, February 2, 2001, McArthur Court, Eugene, Ore.

No. 15 Arizona State 22, No. 17 Oregon 19

174: #20 Curtis Owen (ASU) major dec. Luke Larwin (UO), 13-2
184: #7 Doug Lee (UO) dec. # 13 R.D. Pursell (ASU), 8-5
197: #7 Chael Sonnen (UO) pinned Mike Marshall (ASU), 0:52
HWT: #8 Eric Webb (UO) dec. Hector Torres (ASU), 5-3
125: #5 Shaun Williams (UO) major dec. Chris Knox (ASU), 19-6
133: #15 David Douglas (ASU) dec. #9 Brian Watson (UO), 4-0
141: #3 Eric Larkin (ASU) pinned Casey Hunt (UO), 1:45
149: Tony Overstake (UO), dec. Dana Holland (ASU), 11-5
157: #13 Rocky Smart (ASU) dec. Eugene Harris (UO), 6-4 OT
165: #4 Steve Blackford (ASU) pinned Leif Williams (UO), 3:33
Attendance: 589
Rankings according to Amateur Wrestling News

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