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No. 2 Penn State Wrestling Dominates No. 6 Minnesota on the Road

on February 09, 2020 4:28 PM

No. 2 Penn State wrestling (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten) capped off its weekend road trip with a dominating performance at No. 6 Minnesota (9-6, 4-3 Big Ten). The Nittany Lions won seven matches and got bonus points in four bouts to pick up a resounding 31-10 victory. Nick Lee led the charge with a fall in a top-five matchup.

How It Happened

The dual started off at 133 lbs. after Brandon Meredith received a forfeit victory for the Nittany Lions at 125. The forfeit gave Penn State an early 6-0 advantage. At 133, No. 2 Roman Bravo-Young faced off against Boo Dryden of Minnesota. Bravo-Young gave up an early takedown, but he bounced back with a lightning pace, scoring five takedowns in the first to give him an 11-5 lead. The sophomore continued an onslaught of takedowns in the second and third periods to earn a 23-8 victory. The technical fall increased the Nittany Lions lead to 11-0. 

At 141 lbs. No. 2 Nick Lee squared off against No. 4 Mitch McKee in a rematch of the fifth-place match in last year’s NCAA Championships. Lee scored an early takedown after defending a tight head-pinch from McKee. Lee managed to lock in a cradle and secure a fall midway through the first round. The huge move from Lee gave Penn State a commanding 17-0 lead.

Penn State’s Jarod Verkleeren took on No. 6 Brayton Lee at 149 lbs. in what turned out to be the match of the day. Verkleeren was able to score a huge takedown at the end of the first period to give him an early 2-0 lead. The Nittany Lion sophomore started off the second period on bottom and earned an escape, increasing his lead to 3-0 going into the third.

In the final period, Lee seemed to have scored an early takedown, but it was defended nicely by Verkleeren. Minnesota challenged, but the call on the mat was confirmed. After the challenge, Lee was able to score two takedowns and tie the match, sending it into sudden victory. In sudden victory, Lee got in deep on a shot and secured a takedown, winning the match 7-5. The overtime victory gave the Golden Gophers their first win of the afternoon, bringing the score to 17-3.

At 157 lbs. redshirt Junior Luke Gardner bumped up a weight class and started in place of Bo Pipher for the Nittany Lions. Gardner took on Ryan Thomas of Minnesota in a close battle but lost a 5-4 decision. Gardner wrestled tough but gave up a point from an illegal lock to give the lead to Thomas in the second period. In the third period, Gardner got a late escape to push the score to 5-4 but he was not able to secure a match-winning takedown. The decision pulled Minnesota within 11 at the break.

When wrestling resumed, No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph continued his dominance at 165 lbs. against Bailee O’Reilly of Minnesota. O’Reilly battled tough in the first period but Joseph scored three takedowns and led 7-4 going into the second period. Joseph hit a slick ankle-pick on the edge in the second to increase his lead to 9-5. In the third period Joseph looked impressive on top and secured a riding-time point and a 14-5 major decision. The win increased Penn State’s lead to 21-6.

No. 2 Mark Hall faced No. 8 Devin Skatzka at 174 lbs. In the first period, Hall defended a deep shot from Skatzka and scored a takedown to gain an early 2-0 lead. Hall kept the offense going in the second and third period and led 7-2 late in the final frame. Skatzka scored a late takedown, but Hall still emerged victorious with a 7-4 decision. Hall’s win pushed Penn State’s lead in the dual to 24-6.

No. 8 Aaron Brooks continued Penn State’s dominance with a 13-3 major decision over Owen Webster at 184 lbs. Brooks was strong on top and rode out Webster for the entirety of the second period. In the third period, Brooks showed some impressive offense, taking down Webster three times, and with an escape, penalty point and riding time, Brooks picked up the major to push Penn State’s lead to 28-6.

No. 18 Shakur Rasheed won Penn State’s seventh match of the day against Minnesota’s Garrett Joles. Rasheed was nearly pinned in the first period after attempting a tilt, but he managed to only give up two reversal points.

Rasheed got a reversal of his own and went on to ride out Joles the rest of the first period, as well as the entire two minutes of the second period to secure a riding-time point. Joles scored a takedown in the third period to tie the match but had to let Rasheed up because of the riding time factor. Rasheed held off the rest of the takedown attempts and won 7-5 The win increased the Nittany Lions lead to 31-6.

True freshman No. 15 Seth Nevills had no answer for No. 1 Gable Steveson of Minnesota in the heavyweight bout. Steveson scored six takedowns during the match, with his last takedown coming in the final seconds. The takedown secured Steveson the major decision. He also added a riding-time point to bring the score to 13-5 and narrow Penn State's final margin of victory to 31-10.

What’s Next?

Penn State will welcome No. 3 Ohio State on Saturday in the Bryce Jordan Center. The match will start at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.


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