No. 1 Penn State Wrestling Caps Off Undefeated Dual Season With 55-0 Win Over Buffalo
Less than a fifteen-minute walk down Curtin Road from the Final Four THON at the Bryce Jordan Center, Penn State wrestling sold out Rec Hall for the 41st consecutive time and dominated the lowly Buffalo Bulls in historic fashion. The Nittany Lions tied a program record with seven, yes, seven, pins in the 55-0 win. Their 55 points against Buffalo, which mustered only one takedown in the entire dual, broke a 35-year old program record for the most points scored in a dual meet, with a forfeit, major, and decision rounding out the scoring.
In its entirety, the dual lasted one hour and two minutes.
How It Happened
Senior Carson Kuhn recorded his first win both in 14 months and as a Nittany Lion, winning via forfeit at 125 lbs. Corey Keener extended Penn State’s lead to 9-0 with an 8-3 decision over Justin Patrick, the only afternoon’s dual not decided by bonus points. Keener jumped out to an early lead thanks to a mid-first period takedown and rolled to his second straight win after dropping three consecutive decisions to ranked wrestlers.
After Keener’s bout, seven of the last eight matches ended with falls. True freshman No. 8 Nick Lee kicked off the pin party with a second period fall after taking a 14-4 lead over Nicholas Cassella. No. 1 Zain Retherford ended his Rec Hall career in style, opening up a 16-3 lead over Nick Palumbo before pinning him at the 4:10 mark. Retherford completed his dual career with an unblemished 60-0 record.
In the biggest surprise of the afternoon, Bo Pipher gave the Nittany Lions Jason Nolf-esque production at 157 lbs., pinning Eric Fasnacht less than two minutes into the bout off a cradle and sending the team into halftime with a 27-0 advantage.
To put that score into perspective, in each of the Nittany Lions’ last three duals, they had scored 28, 19, and 25 points after ten bouts.
No. 3 Vincenzo Joseph broke the streak of falls with a 16-8 major decision over Noah Grover. Joseph jumped out to a 10-3 lead but went straight to his back from the neutral position for the second match in a row after a failed toss that saw his commanding lead sink to 10-7. Over the next two periods, Joseph regained control and outscored Grover 6-1 to stretch his lead to 16-8 and win bonus points.
After Joseph’s bout, a streak of four falls to finish out the evening commenced.
First, it was No. 2 Mark Hall besting last weekend’s fall in 1:00 by scoring six for Penn State with a win over Derek Holcomb in only 56 seconds. After outdoing Hall’s fall by 10 seconds against Iowa, No. 1 Bo Nickal once again stole the show from the 174-pounder. Nickal used only 11 ticks of the clock to pin Brett Perry. The fall was the team’s fastest this season and the fastest of Nickal’s career. Nickel’s 11-second fall tied David Taylor for the second fastest in program history. Only Dylan Alton has had a faster time, a seven-second fall in 2013.
No. 5 Shakur Rasheed got the nod at 197 lbs. for the final dual of the season and will accordingly compete at that weight for Penn State this season. He assumed his new role with as much thrill and style as he used to seize it after beginning the campaign as a backup, pinning Joe Ariola 1:57 into the bout.
No. 4 Nick Nevills finished the afternoon off with a rare fall, after taking an 8-1 first period lead over Nolan Terrance, 72 minutes after Kuhn won via forfeit. Nevills’ fall was his third this season.
Wrestler of the Dual
Bo Pipher, Redshirt Freshman, 157 lbs.
There was no doubt the Nittany Lions would handle the Bulls with ease. Pipher’s first-period fall, however, was the most meaningful and unexpected win for Penn State. Regardless of his role moving forward, which is contingent on Jason Nolf’s health, Pipher impressed Rec Hall and helped Penn State to a record-setting afternoon after being tasked with facing top-five wrestlers in his first two varsity bouts.
Penn State has two weeks off, before it heads to East Lansing for the Big Ten Championships, where it will look to reclaim the conference title after last season’s second-place finish behind Ohio State