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Penn State Wrestling Outlasts Nebraska in Back-and-Forth Dual

on January 24, 2020 9:30 PM

Penn State wrestling needed all 10 bouts to do it, but the visiting No. 2 Nittany Lions (7-1, 4-0) held off upset-minded No. 7 Nebraska (5-3, 0-3) on Friday night in a wild, back-and-forth dual, winning 20-18.

The Cornhuskers’ lineup, with talent from top to bottom, pushed the Nittany Lions to the limits, sending the dual down to the final period of the final bout. However, a big win by true freshman heavyweight Seth Nevills clinched the road win for Penn State and extended their dual winning streak to six.

How It Happened

The dual began at 125 lbs. where Brandon Meredith dropped a 3-1 decision in sudden victory against Alex Thomsen. After trailing 1-0 entering the third period, Meredith rallied with an escape to force sudden victory, but was taken down by Thomsen, giving Nebraska an early 3-0 lead.

At 133 lbs., No. 4 Roman Bravo-Young got the Nittany Lions on the board with a major decision over No. 15 Ridge Lovett. Lovett hung with Bravo-Young for the first two and a half periods, trailing only 4-3 entering the bout’s final seconds, but a late flurry by the Nittany Lion blew the bout open. In the closing seconds, Bravo-Young scored a takedown, four near-fall points and a riding time point to pull away and win 11-3. In the process, he put Penn State ahead of Nebraska 4-3.

No. 2 Nick Lee tacked on another four points with an impressive showing against No. 8 Chad Red. Although in the past, Red has posed a challenge to Lee, the Penn State junior controlled the match from start to finish, winning 9-1. Lee scored four takedowns and clocked just under four minutes of riding time, as he extended the Nittany Lions’ lead to 8-3.

Nebraska answered with a big win at 149 lbs. as No. 14 Colin Purinton pinned Jarod Verkleeren. Leading 3-1 late in the third period, a scramble that looked like it could go either way resulted in Purinton scoring a decisive takedown that ended with Verkleeren being sent to his back and pinned. The fall halted Penn State’s momentum and put Nebraska back ahead 9-8.

No. 11 Peyton Robb ran the score up to 12-8 at the intermission with a 5-3 win over Bo Pipher.

Wrestling resumed at 165 lbs. with No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph stopping the bleeding and beating No. 5 Isaiah White 5-1 to make it 12-11. Joseph used a first-period takedown, second-period rideout, and big third period to top White, against whom he’s made a history of winning tight bouts.

No. 1 Mark Hall once again proved how big the gap is between him and every other 174-pounder when put the Nittany Lions ahead with a pin against No. 5 Mikey Labriola. After jumping out to an 8-2 lead in the third period, Hall took Labriola to his back for the fall in the final seconds, which made it 17-12 Penn State entering the final three bouts.

Once again, though, as Penn State started to gain some momentum, Nebraska charged back. No. 8 Taylor Venz overpowered No. 6 Aaron Brooks down the stretch to win 9-5. Venz ended the bout with three takedowns, which made the difference in the win and helped him cut the Nittany Lions’ lead to 17-15.

The Cornhuskers ended up taking the lead after the following match as No. 8 Eric Schultz pulled out a 3-1 decision over No. 19 Shakur Rasheed at 197 lbs. After a scoreless first period, Schultz scored an escape and takedown in the second period to go up 3-0. An escape by Rasheed in the third would trim the lead, but not be enough to knock of Schultz, who put Nebraska up 18-17 entering the final bout.

At heavyweight, Seth Nevills met No. 15 Christian Lance with the dual on the line. The heavyweights were scoreless through the first period, but a rideout by Nevills in the second period gave him an advantage entering the final period. Nevills quickly escaped to start the period and added another takedown to take out Lance 4-0 and clinch the dual win for the Nittany Lions.

What’s Next

Penn State will have another big test next week when the team faces Iowa at 9 p.m. next Friday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

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