No. 1 Penn State Wrestling Scores One Bonus Point, Still Blows Out No. 7 Nebraska
In its biggest test of the season thus far, No. 1 Penn State wrestling faced No. 7 Nebraska and pulled out a 25-6 win, despite scoring only one bonus point. The Nittany Lions won eight bouts, including five by three points or fewer, in a dual that was much closer than the team score suggested.
Normally the most dynamic team in the country, Penn State has now gone two consecutive duals without a fall while facing its two best opponents to date.
How It Happened
Wrestling began at 125 lbs. with Devin Schnupp facing former NCAA finalist No. 13 Zeke Moisey. Moisey, who transferred to Nebraska from West Virginia this season, took Schnupp down in the opening seconds of the bout and rode him out for the remainder of the first period. A quick escape by Moisey to begin the second period, followed by another takedown extended his lead to 5-0. Schnupp escaped at the beginning of the third period and held off Moisey for the remainder of the period to keep him to a 6-1 decision.
At 133 lbs., No. 13 Roman Bravo-Young got off to a fast start, taking down Jevon Parrish three times in the first period. In a showcase of both his deft touch on offense and aggressive approach, Bravo-Young added two more takedowns in the second period and another four in the third period, en route to a 20-7 major decision that gave Penn State a 4-3 lead.
In a rematch of the 2016 Indiana High School Athletic Association 132 lb. State Finals, No. 6 Nick Lee met No. 19 Chad Red Jr. of Nebraska. The two Hoosier State rivals traded blows on their feet for the first two minutes of the bout before Lee struck first with a takedown. Trailing 2-0, Red rode out Lee in the second period but surrendered a stalling point in the process.
Red quickly escaped to begin the third period and took down Lee tie the bout 3-3. Lee took a 4-3 lead off a locked hands call and escaped to extend it to 5-3, holding off Red who had already secured a riding time point. In a much-needed bounceback win, Lee again wasn’t at his best and struggled on bottom yet managed to come away with a 5-4 decision, his first win against a ranked opponent this season.
Also in need of a bounceback win after losing to an unranked wrestler last week, No. 10 Brady Berge extended Penn State’s lead to 10-3 with a gritty 6-4 win against Jordan Shearer.
At 157 lbs., No. 1 Jason Nolf wasted no time in getting to work against No. 2 Tyler Berger in the dual’s premier bout. Nolf held Berger over his head and took him down less than a minute into the match to take a 2-0 lead. He remained in control from then on en route to a 10-4 decision.
Berger put his hands in Nolf’s face, shoved him after whistles, slapped his feet while trying to escape, and stalled for a large portion of the bout. His strategy was mostly successful, as he became the first wrestler this season not to allow bonus points against Nolf. Nolf’s win made the team score 13-3 after five bouts.
Berger was the first of six consecutive ranked Huskers. After the intermission, wrestling resumed with No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph facing No. 6 Isaiah White at 165 lbs.
Joseph and White remained scoreless through the first two periods, with Joseph riding White out in the second period. In the third period, Joseph came close to escaping on the edge of the mat three different times before being called out of bounds. He finally escaped with one minute left in the match and his riding time point still in intact to secure a 2-0 win.
At 174 lbs., No. 1 Mark Hall also needed to pull out a tough win against No. 9 Mikey Labriola. Hall led 3-0 in the second period before being put in an unfamiliar place: taken down. With Labriola threatening to take control of the bout, Hall quickly battled to his feet to escape and go up. He later added a riding time point to hold off Labriola 5-3.
Mason Manville got the start at 184 lbs. with Shakur Rasheed out of the lineup. After wrestling at 165 lbs. last weekend, Manville was up two weight classes on Sunday against No. 5 Taylor Venz, his second straight top-five opponent. After holding No. 3 at 165 lbs. Evan Wick to a 6-1 decision last week, Manville turned in another strong performance, losing 7-1 to Venz and now allowing bonus points. At the start of the period, Manville trailed only 3-1 and attempted a shot that could’ve tied the score before being taken down by Venz.
No. 11 Eric Schulz of Nebraska gave No. 1 Bo Nickal as good of a fight as anyone has during the last two seasons. Nickal comfortably led Schulz for the entirety of the bout, taking him down three times during the first two periods. After Schulz escaped in the third period, the two wrestled on their feet for most of the period before Schulz managed to take Nickal down at the buzzer and cut the lead to 8-6.
The dual ended at 285 lbs. in one of the more exciting matches after a relatively boring first nine. No. 4 Anthony Cassar and No. 14 David Jensen were scoreless after one period, before Cassar escaped to begin the second period. Cassar went up 3-0 after taking down Jensen to end the third period. Jensen escaped three times in the third period, only to be taken down by Cassar each time. Cassar added on a riding time point to win by a final score of 10-4 and secure the 25-6 win for Penn State.
- Once again, Devin Schnupp looked tough in the loss. Despite totaling more than four minutes of riding time, Zeke Moisey couldn’t get much else going against a very defensive Schnupp who managed to stay off his back for the entire bout. No longer a liability, Schnupp has made a strong case to stay in Penn State’s starting lineup and keep both Gavin Teasdale’s and Brody Teske’s redshirts intact.
- Neither Nick Lee nor Brady Berge looked particularly impressive after both losing to unranked opponents last week. Both still have plenty of room to improve in order to distinguish themselves as top wrestlers at their weights, but securing wins is a step in the right direction.
- Mason Manville might be the most valuable backup in college wrestling. He’s faced two top-five wrestlers at two two different weight classes in the past week and lost by decision both times, including one against a wrestler 20 pounds heavier than his normal weight.
Penn State wrestling hits the road next weekend to visit Purdue on Friday, January 25 and Indiana on Sunday, January 27. The Nittany Lions don’t return home to Rec Hall until Friday, February 15 against Michigan State but will wrestle Michigan at the Bryce Jordan Center on Friday, February 1.
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