No. 1 Penn State Wrestling Holds On To Beat No. 7 Nebraska
In its first home match of 2016, No. 1 Penn State wrestling took on No. 7 Nebraska in one of the most competitive matches of the B1G season. Penn State came in boasting an 8-0 record with three wins coming in the B1G. Nebraska also came in with eight wins, however they also had a loss against No. 6 Rutgers. With both sides having wrestlers in the InterMat Rankings Top 20 in every weight class besides heavyweight, it was one of the most intriguing B1G matches of the season so far. Penn State won the match 24-10 with quality matches coming from Matt McCutcheon, Zain Retherford, and Jason Nolf. The Nittany Lions improved to 9-0 and 4-0 in the B1G, while Nebraska fell to 8-2.
How It Happened
Starting in the 125, No. 4 Nico Megaludis wrestled No. 9 Tim Lambert from Nebraska. The bout started off fast and aggressive with both wrestlers trying to get some take downs early on. Through two periods, it was even at four. In the third, Megaludis was able to dominate the riding time, recording 1:36 of it, and ultimately win 8-5 to put Penn State up 3-0 early. In the 133, No. 5 Jordan Conaway took on No. 12 Eric Montoya. This match was not as fast paced and aggressive as the last, but Conaway was able to rack up 10 seconds of riding time and two points at the end of the first period. The second period was just as even and defensive for both wrestlers. Conaway got another two points, but Montoya got three to cut the lead to 4-3. In the third, Conaway was able to get one escape for a point to get a narrow victory over Montoya, 5-3, and to give the Nittany Lions a 6-0 lead.
In the 141, Kade Moss took the mat for Penn State to take on No. 20 Anthony Abidin from Nebraska. Abidin controlled the match early, but Moss held his own, and he only trailed 2-1 after one period. After a valiant effort by Moss in the second and third periods, Abidin controlled the riding time with 2:17 total and won 3-1 to cut Penn State’s lead to 6-3. In the 149, No. 1 Zain Retherford and No. 5 Jake Sueflohn wrestled in one of the most anticipated matches of the night. Retherford took the lead early with a few take downs, and he never let up that lead as he dominated with 3:17 of riding time en route to an 11-3 win. Penn State led 10-3 with one match to go before the half. In the 157, redshirt freshman and third ranked Jason Nolf took on No. 17 Tyler Berger from Nebraska. Nolf proved why he is deservedly the third best wrestler in his weight class as he controlled much of the match. He recorded 1:57 of riding time and won 19-3 to give the Nittany Lions a 15-3 lead at the half.
For the start of the second half, in the 165, Geno Morelli took the mat for the Nittany Lions as he wrestled No. 14 Austin Miller. Morelli, the clear underdog in the match, came out aggressively, trying to catch Miller by surprise. The first period was dead even as it ended in a 0-0 tie with nobody having any riding time. Miller got one on an escape in the second and two in the third, while Morelli could only record one take down. Miller won 3-2 to cut the lead to 15-6. In the 174, No. 1 Bo Nickal took on No. 14 Micah Barnes. It was an even match throughout, but Nickal’s strength kept Barnes from ever being able to get any leverage on Nickal, and Nickal won 9-3, and Penn State led 18-6.
In the 184, No. 13 Matt McCutcheon took on No. 5 T.J. Dudley from Nebraska in another highly anticipated match. Through one period, McCutcheon and Dudley were neck and neck and tied at two with McCutcheon having 35 seconds of riding time. It was still even in the second with a score of 3-3, only Nebraska’s Dudley controlled the riding time with 35 seconds. In the third, with McCutcheon down one with only a few seconds left, he got a take down to put him up 8-7 and give Penn State a 21-6 lead and a guaranteed victory.
In the 197, No. 1 Morgan McIntosh took on No. 16 Aaron Studebaker in yet another match between two ranked opponents. It was another deadlocked match after one, with neither wrestler gaining any points or riding time. After three periods, it was still only 1-1, forcing an overtime period. A second overtime period followed after the score remained 1-1. McIntosh got an early escape in the fifth period, earning him a point. McIntosh was able to hold on to the 2-1 victory to give Penn State a 24-6 lead. In the heavyweight, Wes Phipps made an appearance for the Nittany Lions as he wrestled No. 17 Collin Jensen from Nebraska. Phipps was a heavy underdog in this match, but he held his own throughout. After one, neither wrestler recorded any points or riding time. Phipps showed some aggression in the second period, but Jensen was able to counter back as he took a 4-0 lead after the second. Phipps rolled to an 8-1 lead, but Penn State came away with a 24-10 victory.
Wrestler Of The Match
Matt McCutcheon | Sophomore | 184 Pound Weight Class
Matt McCutcheon receives wrestler of the match honors for this dual. After being tied through two periods and being down one with seconds left in the third period, he got a take down with only seconds remaining to take an 8-7 lead. He held onto the lead which gave Penn State a 21-6 lead and a guaranteed victory.
Penn State will hit the road again as the Nittany Lions’ next match will be against Northwestern in Evanston on Sunday at 2 p.m. With only one win on the season, the Wildcats may provide somewhat of a break from a very difficult Big Ten schedule for Penn State.