No. 1 Penn State (11-0, 7-0 B1G) dominated No. 2 Ohio State (9-2, 5-2 B1G) in one of the biggest duals of the college wrestling season. Penn State controlled the action from start to finish on its way to a convincing 28-9 road win in front of 13,000 fans in Columbus.
Penn State opened the dual with two thrilling wins over top-six ranked Buckeyes and rolled from there. The dual meet featured seven bouts pitting ranked wrestlers against each other and Penn State won all seven of them, many for bonus points.
The dual began at 133 where true freshman Roman Bravo-Young, ranked No. 15 at 133, returned to action after missing some time with an injury and took on No. 6 Luke Pletcher. The Nittany Lion battled Pletcher evenly through seven minutes and an overtime period before escaping in his tie breaker period and then maintaining offensive control of Pletcher for his period to post the thrilling 2-1 (TB) win. The Lions lost a team point, however, when Bravo-Young took off his headgear. Sophomore Nick Lee, ranked No. 5 at 141, kept Penn State rolling at 141, using a late takedown to post an exciting 7-6 victory over No. 2 Joey McKenna. The two early Lion wins put Penn State up 5-0 after two bouts.
Redshirt freshman Jarod Verkleeren got the call at 149 and nearly notched Penn State’s third straight big win. Verkleeren battled Micah Jordan tough for seven minutes pping a hard-fought 10-8 decision, cutting the Lion lead to 5-3. Senior Jason Nolf, ranked No. 1 at 157, dismantled No. 6 Ke-Shawn Hayes, rolling to a 21-6 technical fall at the 5:51 mark. Junior Vincenzo Joseph, ranked No. 1 at 165, dominated No. 12 Te’Shawn Campbell, picking up the bout’s only four takedowns and racking up 2:12 in riding time to post an 11-2 major decision. Joseph’s performance gave Penn State a 14-3 lead at intermission.
Junior Mark Hall, ranked No. 1 at 174, built on Penn State’s sizeable halftime lead with a dominating 12-4 major decision over No. 18 Ethan Smith. Hall’s win gave the Lions an 18-2 lead as Ohio State lost a team point for a late challenge call. Redshirt freshman Mason Manville moved up from 165 to step in for No. 2 Shakur Rasheed at 184 and met No. 1 Myles Martin. Manville battled Martin tough before dropping an 18-6 major decision.
Senior Bo Nickal, ranked No. 1 at 197, then sent the many Penn State faithful who made the trip to Columbus to their feet with a big win in one of the dual’s marquee match-ups. Nickal met No.2 Kollin Moore and, after about ninety seconds, turned a slight Moore shot into a tight cradle. Nickal turned Moore to his back with the move and after :30 of work got the first period pin at the 1:38 mark to put Penn State up 24-6 and clinch the dual. Senior Anthony Cassar, ranked No. 3 at 285, was impressive at heavyweight, collecting eighth takedowns in a resounding 18-8 major decision over No. 19 Chase Singletary to put Penn State up 28-6. Sophomore Devin Schnupp stepped on the mat at 125 and dropped a tough 7-4 decision to Malik Heinselman in the dual’s final bout. Penn State won seven of ten bouts to roll to the 28-9 victory.
Penn State closes out its Big Ten schedule next weekend, hosting Michigan State Friday at 7 p.m. in Rec Hall and visiting Illinois Sunday, Feb. 17, at 2 p.m.