Freshman Jakason Burks walked toward the center of the mat and shook hands with No. 6 Dom Demas of Oklahoma.
After an apparent knee injury suffered by 141-pound Dusty Hone in last week’s Cowboy Challenge Tournament, a replacement was needed. Hone was already the Cowboys backup at 141.
Coach John Smith had a decision to make.
He thought about bumping 133-pound Daton Fix to wrestle OU’s 2019 Big 12 champ. He considered 133-pound Reece Witcraft. Ultimately, Smith decided to use the services of Burks.
“I didn’t tell him (Burks) that until today,”Smith said. “I just felt like, ‘You know what? Let’s give this kid a chance.’”
Debuting in Bedlam can be a chore.
Debuting against a No. 6 opponent can be even more intimidating.
With Demas as the clear favorite, the objective was simple — hold Demas to a regular decision.
Smith and his coaching staff provided Burks with the strategy to do so.
Demas was limited to a 6-3 lead in the third period until the redshirt junior pulled a vicious cow catcher and pinned Burks at 5:31.
In the loss, Burks showed grit wrestling two weight classes above normal.
“At weigh ins, he weighed 135, and he just finished eating,” 184-pound Dakota Geer said.