Upper-Weights Push No. 2 Penn State Wrestling Past No. 12 Ohio State 28-12

No. 2 Penn State wrestling (5-0) won its fifth straight away dual Friday night with a win over No. 12 Ohio State (5-4) in Columbus.

After the dual was tied up 12-12 heading into the 174-pound weight class, the Nittany Lions would go on to win the next four matches of the contest to win 28-12.

The strong performance from Cael Sanderson’s squad was led by impressive performances from hammers Roman Bravo-Young, Nick Lee, and Michael Beard. Carter Starocci also picked up his second straight overtime upset victory in the match of the night against third-ranked Kaleb Romero.

How It Happened

Friday night’s dual started off at 125 lbs. as Robbie Howard got the call in his second dual meet appearance for the Nittany Lions against Ohio State’s No. 10 Malik Heinselman. Howard attempted a throw late in the first period, but Heinselman defended it nicely and the two were tied 0-0 heading into the second period.

Heinselman started off the second period with a quick escape and takedown as time was running out. Howard answered in the third period with a quick escape of his own but gave up a takedown out of a scramble position shortly after. Trailing 5-2, Howard couldn’t complete the comeback attempt and dropped the tough decision. Ohio State’s win put them up 3-0.

No. 3 Roman Bravo-Young went up against Ohio State’s Jordan Decatur at 133 lbs. The fiery Bravo-Young got off to a hot start, scoring three takedowns in the first period to give himself a 6-2 lead. The highlights continued to come from Bravo-Young as he poured on the points in the second. He scored 12 points in the period and even scored a takedown by jumping over Decatur. Leading 18-6 heading into the third period, the relentless Bravo-Young tacked on another eight points to get the tech fall for the Nittany Lions. The 26-8 technical fall put Penn State up 5-3.

At 141 lbs., No. 2 Nick Lee faced off against the Buckeyes’ Dylan D’Emilio. Lee handled business per usual, picking up a 15-3 major decision. The senior capitalized on some nice takedown attempts and was able to score with ease, getting turns on top and accumulating over two minutes of riding time. The major decision increased Penn State’s lead to 9-3.

Penn State wrestled its fourth different grappler of the season at 149 lbs., as true freshman Beau Bartlett made his varsity debut against Ohio State’s No. 2 Sammy Sasso. Bartlett got in on a takedown early on against the veteran Sasso to take the lead early. Sasso quickly answered with an escape and a takedown of his own to take a 3-2 lead heading into the second period.

The second period started off with Sasso getting a quick escape. Neither wrestler scored the remaining of the period, and Sasso took a 4-2 lead into the final two minutes. Sasso would go on to hold his lead and nearly rode out Bartlett for entire last period. Bartlett’s tough 5-3 decision loss made the score 9-6 in favor of Penn State.

Penn State’s No. 8 Brady Berge faced off against Ohio State’s Elijah Cleary at 157 lbs. The slow-paced Berge couldn’t score in the first period but did force a stall call from Cleary. Tied up at 0-0 in the second period, Berge got an escape point but nearly gave up a takedown as time expired. Cleary answered with an escape of his own to tie things up at 1-1. In the final 10 seconds of the match, Berge finally broke through Cleary’s defense to get the match-winning takedown. The 3-1 decision pushed Penn State’s lead to 12-6 going into intermission.

The 165-pound weight class featured a ranked matchup with Penn State’s No. 14 Joe Lee facing off against No. 10 Ethan Smith. Lee took an early 2-1 lead but got caught by a granby roll from the veteran Smith and was pinned in the first period. The pin would tie the match at 12-12.

After winning Big Ten Wrestler of the Week due to his overtime win in the Michigan match, No. 5 Carter Starocci took the mat against third-ranked Kaleb Romero of Ohio State in what would be the match of the night. The match would go into sudden victory as the two were tied up at 1-1 after regular time.

Starocci thought he had the match-winning takedown on the edge of the mat in sudden victory, but the call was reversed after video review showed the two were out of bounds. In the first tie breaker period, Starocci earned the escape and led 2-1. The freshman then rode out Romero in the next period for the full 30 seconds for his second straight overtime upset win. The thrilling victory put Penn State back on top 15-12.

No. 2 Aaron Brooks handled business against Ohio State’s No. 20 Rocky Jordan with a 13-4 major decision. Brooks was relentless, scoring multiple takedowns against the outmatched Jordan. He also racked up nearly three minutes of riding time and increased Penn State’s lead to 19-12.

No. 16 Michael Beard secured the dual win for the Nittany Lions after he pinned Ohio State’s Gavin Hoffman in the first period. Beard’s first-period pin avenged his loss against Hoffman when the two were in high school. Penn State’s lead increased to 25-12.

The dual capped off with a battle of two ranked heavyweights. Penn State’s No. 8 Seth Nevills wrestled against Ohio State’s No. 16 Tate Orndorff. The two big men traded escape points in the first and second, respectfully. Tied up in the third, Nevills finally broke through on a takedown with 30 seconds left in the match. The 3-2 decision gave Penn State the 28-12 win over the Buckeyes.

What’s Next

Penn State will wrestle in its first home match of the season when they host Maryland at 6 p.m. at Rec Hall on Monday, February 22. The match will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

Max Tolson

Max is a senior majoring in print journalism. He hails from the small town of Millsboro, DE and loves to watch the Eagles and Penn State wrestling. Follow him on twitter @TolsonMax or send emails to [email protected]. Go Birds!

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