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McIntosh’s Late Pin Lifts No. 5 Penn State Over No. 12 Pitt

The fifth-ranked Penn State wrestling team earned a hard-fought win over No. 12 Pittsburgh on Friday night, knocking off the Panthers in front of more than 7,000 fans in Petersen Events Center.

With Pittsburgh steadily climbing back into the lead after dropping the first two matches, the score remained close at 14-12 with only two bouts remaining. All-American Morgan McIntosh stepped onto the mat ranked fourth at 197, and silenced any Panther upset hopes by pinning No. 10 Nick Bonaccorsi in the second period. McIntosh led 8-0 at the time of the pin, and the fall put Penn State up 20-12 to clinch the victory.

McIntosh used a low single leg takedown on the edge of the mat less than one minute into the match to begin a strong ride before turning Bonaccorsi to his back for three near-fall points to take a 5-0 lead into the second period. The Panther chose down to start the second, and McIntosh took advantage by putting Bonaccorsi on his back yet again. After picking up the three more points, the Californian earned the pin at the 4:05 mark to clinch the dual for Penn State.

Although Penn State needed McIntosh’s late heroics to seal the win, the Lions appeared poised to roll over Pittsburgh from the start. Jordan Conaway, ranked No. 12 at 125, posted a strong 8-4 win over Pitt’s Dom Forys in the opening match, and sophomore Jimmy Gulibon ranked No. 5 at 133 and fresh off his upset of No. 2 Mason Beckman of Lehigh, followed by majoring Pitt’s Nick Zanetta 11-2 to give Penn State a 7-0 lead.

Pittsburgh would capture the next three out of four bouts, pulling within one point at 10-9 with four bouts to go. Sophomore Zack Beitz, ranked No. 15 at 149, dominated en route to an impressive 11-5 win over No. 13 Mikey Racciato to help halt the Panther’s comeback march. No. 3 Matt Brown earned a 17-6 major decision over Pitt’s Troy Raeghard with a whopping nine takedowns. Overall, the Nittany Lions posted a comfortable 22-7 takedown advantage.

Where the team struggled was the performance of their young grapplers. All four freshman dropped their bouts, beginning with Kade Moss losing a close battle at 141 pounds to Edgar Bright, who nearly beat All-American Zain Retherford last season. Cody Law lost 5-4 to Ronnie Garbinsky at 157, and losses from Garrett Hammond (165) and No. 19 Matt McCutcheon (184) gave the Nittany Lions their only blemishes of the night.

Penn State will continue its weekend road trip on Saturday when the team faces Clarion for a 7 p.m. dual meet in Tippin Gymnasium.

Final Results:

125: #12 Jordan Conaway PSU dec. Dom Forys PITT, 8-4

133: #5 Jimmy Gulibon PSU maj. dec. Nick Zanetta, 11-2

141: Edgar Bright PITT dec. Kade Moss PSU, 3-2

149: #15 Zack Beitz PSU dec. #13 Mike Racciato PITT, 11-5

157: Ronnie Garbinsky PITT dec. Cody Law PSU, 6-4

165: Cody Wiercioch PITT dec. Garett Hammond PSU, 11-8

174: #3 Matt Brown PSU maj. dec. Troy Raeghard PITT, 17-6

184: #4 Max Thomusseit PITT dec. #19 Matt McCutcheon PSU

197: #4 Morgan McIntosh PSU pinned #10 Nick Bonaccorsi PITT, WBF (4:05)

285: #7 Jon Gingrich PSU maj. dec. John Rizzo PITT, 9-1

Match Notes:

  • The dual meet marked the 70th all-time meeting between the two schools, with Penn State serving as Pitt’s most frequent and longest tenured opponent in school history. The Nittany Lions were the Panthers’ first recorded opponent back in 1916-17 when the schools faced off twice that season.
  • The Nittany Lions own a 54-12-3 advantage in the all-time series with Pitt. Penn State has won the last four, including last year’s 28-9 victory in the Bryce Jordan Center on Dec. 8, 2013, a dual meet that set a new NCAA national attendance record for fans at a dual (15,996).
  • The match marked the fourth time the Panthers have wrestled in Petersen Events Center, with the last time coming against Lehigh in 2008. With the loss on Friday, the Panthers fall to 0-4 in the arena normally reserved for the school’s basketball team.
  • Penn State’s next home match will be part of the Nittany Lion Open on Sunday, Dec. 7, starting at 8:30 a.m. in Rec Hall.

About the Author

CJ Doon

CJ is a senior journalism major from Long Island and Onward State's Sports Editor. He is a third-generation Penn Stater, and his grandfather wrestled for the university back in the 1930s under coach Charlie “Doc” Speidel. Besides writing, one of his favorite activities is making sea puns. You can follow him on Twitter @CJDoon, and send your best puns to [email protected], just for the halibut.

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