No. 1 Penn State wrestling faced No. 10 Lehigh for the 107th consecutive year on Sunday afternoon, and the matchup was a far cry from the Nittany Lions’ dramatic, too-close-for-comfort win against the Mountain Hawks last season.
Penn State shut out Lehigh 42-0 in one of the most dominant performances you will see against a top-10 team. The Nittany Lions outscored the Mountain Hawks, who were without six starters, 122-38 and didn’t allow a single takedown.
How It Happened
The dual began at 197 pounds with No. 1 Bo Nickal facing No. 15 Jake Jakobsen. Nickal got off to a fast start, registering three takedowns and four near fall points in the first period to go up 10-2. He kept the scoring coming, taking down Jakobsen four more times and escaping once en route to a 19-4 technical fall win that gave Penn State a 5-0 advantage.
No. 5 Anthony Cassar got his first true test at heavyweight in No. 6 Jordan Wood. He turned in a convincing performance, majoring Wood 12-3 and picking up nearly two and a half minutes of riding time. The most impressive of Cassar’s five takedowns came in the first period when he lifted the significantly larger Wood and threw him to the mat for two points.
After losing first 14 dual bouts, Devin Schnupp got his second win of the weekend. He earned a standing ovation from the Rec Hall faithful after beating Luke Resnick 5-1 at 125 to make the score 12-0. Schnupp led Resnick 3-0 after the second period and sealed the win with a late takedown to make the final score 5-1.
True freshman Roman Bravo-Young continued to display his offensive firepower and inhuman agility against Brandon Patezell. He racked up more than three minutes of riding time and used two late takedowns to clinch a 13-5 major decision. In the second period, Paetzell had Bravo-Young by his leg and was threatening to score until Bravo-Young acrobatically flipped around Paetzell and somehow came away with a takedown of his own.
No. 4 Nick Lee followed with a major of his own to make the score 20-0 halfway through. He used nine takedowns to beat Ryan Pomrinca 23-10, falling just short of a technical fall.
After the intermission, Jarod Verkleeren met Jimmy Hoffman at 149. Verkleeren, who got the nod over Brady Berge as the two continue to compete for the starting job, pulled out a gritty 5-3 win. Although it wasn’t as exciting as his first period throw in his Rec Hall debut, Verkleeren outlasted Hoffman to make the dual 23-0.
He took a 2-0 lead off of a reversal in the second period. After Hoffman tied it with a pair of escapes, Verkleeren retook the lead with a third period takedown and almost had another but couldn’t secure it before the clock expired.
At 157, Josh Humphreys did what few wrestlers have been able to do: keep up with Jason Nolf for at least part of the match. Early on, Nolf couldn’t get much going against Humphreys (relatively speaking) and led only 8-3 at the start of the third period. As the period continued though, reality kicked in. Nolf found his stride and pinned Humphreys at the 6:19 mark. With 51 career pins, he now needs only two more to tie the program record.
No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph followed with a fall of his own. After sitting out Friday night’s dual against Bucknell, Joseph didn’t miss a beat in his return. He jumped out to a 17-4 lead before pinning Trey Cornish in the second period to make the team score 35-0.
In one of the afternoon’s more interesting matchups, No. 2 Mark Hall met No. 7 Jordan Kutler. Last season, Hall narrowly beat Kutler, 3-2, and their match on Sunday was nearly as close when Hall beat Kutler 6-1. A late takedown and riding time point opened the score up a bit, but the defensive-minded Kutler seemed to have an answer for most of what Hall tried.
The dual ended with an 11-2 major decision at 184, when No. 4 Shakur Rasheed beat Andrew Price, who was wrestling in place of No. 7 Ryan Preisch. Rasheed tallied four takedowns in the win, bringing the team’s dual total to 47.
Wrestler of the Dual
Devin Schnupp | Redshirt sophomore | 125 lbs.
The Rec Hall crowd has always supported Schnupp faithfully, even if it’s cheering him on through the final minute of a match while he tries to avoid allowing a technical fall. They’ve loved his tireless energy even when the results haven’t always followed. The standing ovation he received for his first Rec Hall win, an unceremonious 5-1 decision, was truly special. It was something you’d expect to follow the final match of a fan favorite.
Penn State will next face Arizona State at Rec Hall on December 14.