Penn State Wrestling Falls at Home to Top-Ranked Minnesota 17-16
On Jan. 30, 2011, the Penn State wrestling team dropped a home dual meet to the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Nittany Lions had been undefeated in the friendly confines of Rec Hall since.
It took nearly four years to the day, but that streak is finally over. An experienced, No. 1 Minnesota team defeated No. 6 Penn State 17-16 on Sunday afternoon in front of 6,540 fans at Rec Hall.
How It Happened
Minnesota came into the match with four wrestlers ranked in the top-three, including three at No. 1, and the young Nittany Lions looked phased early. Starting at 133, No. 9 Jimmy Gulibon fell to No. 1 Chris Dardanes 3-2 on a takedown with just eight seconds left. That clutch win got the ball rolling for the visitors.
The Gophers would go on to win three of the next four bouts — two by major decision — to go into the intermission with a 14-3 lead. Only No. 18 Zack Beitz was able to defeat his opponent in the first half of the match, as he beat unranked Jake Short 9-4 at 149.
The bout everyone was anticipating before the match was No. 4 Matt Brown vs. No. 3 Logan Storley at 174. The two had met seven times before Sunday, and the bout was the only one to feature two top-five wrestlers.
After a scoreless first period that left fans calling for a stalling call on Storley, Brown chose down to start the second period. He escaped and then promptly took down Storley and rode him out to end the period. Storley chose down to start the third, which proved to be the wrong decision as Brown rode him for most of the period before he escaped. But it was too late, as the 2:15 of riding time gave Brown an extra point and helped secure a dominant 4-1 win.
Despite the momentum Brown’s big win seemed to give the crowd, redshirt freshman Matt McCutcheon dropped a decision to No. 11 Brett Pfarr, putting the Nittany Lions in a tough spot. They trailed 17-6, and couldn’t afford to give up another bout.
Luckily, the heart of Penn State’s order made up the final three bouts. No. 6 Morgan McIntosh upset No. 1 Scott Schiller 7-4 at 197, and No. 6 Jimmy Lawson beat No. 13 Michael Kroells 3-1 at 285 to put the home team down by just five points going into the final bout.
At 125, No. 8 Jordan Conaway had a chance to win it for the Nittany Lions in the final bout. He had to either pin or tech fall freshman Ethan Lizak to avoid the loss. Despite earning back points twice and winning 13-3, he was unable to earn the bonus points needed to win it all.
“We have to win those close matches,” head coach Cael Sanderson said after the match. “I thought we had a chance to win a couple of those, obviously. We ended up giving up two majors, which ended up being the difference. They have some pretty good guys, too.”
Man of the Match
Today, the award goes to Morgan McIntosh. He was able to dominate the No. 1 wrestler in the country at 197, Scott Schiller, and provided points where they weren’t expected, giving Penn State a chance late.
Matt Brown gave a glowing review of his teammate after the match. “He controlled that whole match,” Brown said. “I was very impressed. I looked and saw the kid he was wrestling was ranked first, well, Morgan should be first, you know? Look at how good he’s wrestling!”
Tweet of the Match
Today’s attendance: a season-high 6,540. There’s no better atmosphere in the NCAA than a packed Rec Hall. pic.twitter.com/gimZjn2tHw
— Onward Sports (@OnwardStSports) January 25, 2015
The 6,540 fans that packed Rec Hall were a season-high, and they provided an electric atmosphere throughout the day.
Penn State makes a two-match road trip up north this weekend, competing against conference rivals Michigan on Friday and Michigan State on Sunday. The Nittany Lions return home on Feb. 8 against Iowa in the Bryce Jordan Center.
133: #1 Chris Dardanes MIN dec. #9 Jimmy Gulibon PSU, 3-2
141: #4 Nick Dardanes MIN maj. dec. Kade Moss PSU, 14-6
149: #18 Zack Beitz PSU dec. Jake Short MIN, 9-4
157: #1 Dylan Ness MIN dec. Cody Law PSU, 9-1
165: #17 Nick Wanzek MIN dec. Garett Hammond PSU, 8-4
174: #4 Matt Brown PSU dec. #3 Logan Storley MIN, 4-1
184: #11 Brett Pfarr MIN dec. #16 Matt McCutcheon PSU, 11-5
197: #6 Morgan McIntosh PSU dec. #1 Scott Schiller MIN, 7-4
285: #6 Jimmy Lawson PSU dec. #13 Michael Kroells MIN, 3-1
125: #8 Jordan Conaway PSU maj. dec. Ethan Lizak MIN, 13-3