In a battle of top ten teams it was Minnesota winning by a slim 1 point margin thanks to two major decisions compared to Penn State's one. Bonus points are always important but they proved to be the difference Sunday afternoon.
133: #1 Chris Dardanes MIN dec. #9 Jimmy Gulibon PSU, 3-2
The dual started at 133 and Jimmy came out firing nearly taking Dardanes down several times in the first. There were several scrambles but we were scoreless after 1. Dardanes chose bottom and escaped after Jimmy built up some riding time. Neither wrestler scored and the bout went into the final period. Gulibon chose down, quickly escaped, and started pushing the action. Gulibon was in deep on a shot but Dardanes countered for the only takedown of the match. Gulibon escaped but ran out of time and lost a hard fought 3-2 decision.
41: #4 Nick Dardanes MIN maj. dec. Kade Moss PSU, 14-6
Moss was not timid against the highly ranked Gopher and nearly scored on a high single early but Dardanes fought it off. Dardanes then scored on his own with 1 minute left. Moss escaped but was taken down with 28 seconds and the period ended with Moss down 4-1. Moss chose down, quickly escaped and looked for another single that was countered by Dardanes for a takedown. Moss escaped only to be taken down again. Up 8-3, Dardanes chose down to start the 3rd and quickly escaped. Moss almost hit a throw but did manage to get a takedown off the move to cut the score to 10-5. Dardanes escaped and took Moss down to up his lead to 12-8. Moss was hit with a late stall warning, his second, which was the extra point to push the decision to a major with the riding time point 14-6.
149: #18 Zack Beitz PSU dec. Jake Short MIN, 9-4
After Penn State's bad start it was essential that Beitz get a win. Beitz pushed the action and almost gave up a counter takedown early. With 22 seconds left Beitz shot in and Short countered for a takedown and a 2-0 lead after 1. Short chose down and escaped but not before Beitz built up over a minute of riding time. Down 3-0 Beitz chose down to start the 3rd and quickly escaped. Beitz pushed the action and forced a (reluctant) stall call. He then connected for his first takedown and tied the score at 3. Short escaped but Beitz used a low single to take the lead. He then added 3 late nearfall points and won 9-4 with the riding time point.
157: #1 Dylan Ness MIN dec. Cody Law PSU, 9-1
Without the services of Dylan Alton, Penn State had to send Cody Law to take on top ranked Ness. Ness scored quickly then rode the period out to take a 2-0 lead. Ness chose down and escaped to a 3-0 lead. Law nearly scored but Ness countered for a takedown and 2 nearfall points after catching Law in a late cradle. Down 7-0 Law chose down and was hit with two quick stall calls for a point. Law escaped but Ness won 9-1 with the riding time point.
165: #17 Nick Wanzek MIN dec. Garett Hammond PSU, 8-4
Hammond nearly scored quickly but Wanzek fought it off. The two battled for nearly two minutes with Wanzek finally opening up the scoring on a double leg takedown with just over a minute left in the 1st. Hammond escaped only to be taken down again by Wanzek. Hammond escaped but was down 4-2 to start the 2nd. Hammond built up over a minute of riding time but got too high and was reversed. Hammond escaped to a 6-3 deficit as the period ended. Hammond chose down and quickly escaped. Garett nearly scored but Wanzek fought out of bounds and forced a reset. Wanzek clinched the bout with a takedown with 25 seconds left and won 8-4.
174: #4 Matt Brown PSU dec. #3 Logan Storley MIN, 4-1
In what seems like the 5,000th time Brown met Storley yet again. Both wrestlers were close to getting the opening takedown but there was no score after 1. Brown chose down to start the 2nd and quickly escaped. Brown then got in on a good single attempt and after a scramble secured the takedown. He rode the period out to lead 3-0 after 2. Storley chose down and escaped but not before Brown built up the riding time advantage. There would be no more scoring as Brown won a convincing 4-1 with the riding time advantage.
184: #11 Brett Pfarr MIN dec. #16 Matt McCutcheon PSU, 11-5
McCutcheon and Pfarr battled with both wrestlers getting good shots but it was McCutcheon who scored first. Pfarr quickly escaped and took McCutcheon down for a 3-2 lead after a ride out. Pfarr chose down to start the 2nd, quickly escaped, and added another takedown. McCutcheon chose down to start the 3rd and quickly escaped. Unfortunately, Pfarr added two more takedowns and won 11-5 with the riding time advantage.
197: #6 Morgan McIntosh PSU dec. #1 Scott Schiller MIN, 7-4
Good Morgan came to the match Sunday as McIntosh scored early to take a 2-1 lead after a quick Schiller escape. McIntosh got in again and after a long scramble appeared to have the takedown but the ref didn't call it. Penn State called for a replay and McIntosh was given the points after the call was reversed. Schiller escaped but McIntosh had the 4-2 lead after 1. McIntosh chose down and quickly escaped to start the 2nd. McIntosh nearly scored again but the period ended. Schiller chose down and escaped to a 7-4 deficit. Morgan would get in several more times on half-hearted shots (he was just trying to keep from getting hit with the stall call) but the bout ended with a convincing 3 point victory for McIntosh.
285: #6 Jimmy Lawson PSU dec. #13 Michael Kroells MIN, 3-1
Lawson got the call against 13th ranked Kroells and the two traded attempts early on. Jimmy finally broke through and scored late to take a 2-0 lead after 1. Kroells chose down to start the 2nd and Jimmy built up riding time. Kroells escaped and nearly scored but Jimmy rolled out of it to maintain neutral. Jimmy chose down to start the 3rd and escaped after Kroells built up some riding time. Lawson defended well for the rest of the period and walked away with a hard fought 3-1 win.
125: #8 Jordan Conaway PSU maj. dec. Ethan Lizak MIN, 13-3
Conaway walked to the mat know what he had to do: get a pin for Penn State to pull off the upset. Jordan got an early takedown and looked for backpoints. Lizak escaped only to be taken down again and this time Conway nearly had Lizak on his back but the Gopher rolled through Conaway cut Lizak and scored on another quick takedown. Conaway chose down but was unable to escape the entire 2nd period. Lizak chose top to start the 3rd but Conaway was able to escape. Conaway added another takedown and cut Lizak. Conaway got another takedown and had Lizak on his back but the Gopher rolled through and only gave up 2 nearfall. The bout ended in a 13-3 major but Penn State lost the dual.
Penn State wrestled very well Sunday especially the big boys. McIntosh and Brown looked dominating against highly ranked opponents that have seen both of them many times before. A 1-point loss to the 2nd ranked team in the nation is nothing to hang your heads about.
Two very unrelated and uneducated thoughts
- If Minnesota wants to be a player in the national title hunt, they will have to turn the aggression up quite a bit. The Gophers were countering Penn State more than creating their own shots, that won't fly in nationals.
- I'm by no means blaming the officiating but, in the 25+ years I've been watching wrestling (yeah I'm old) I don't think I've seen a worse ref than the main ref Sunday. Absolutely Bush League: terribly inconsistent, and horribly wrong so many times I lost count. I sat there mat side with my jaw dropped about 5 times. Simply unacceptable. Penn State football fans think the Big Ten refs are bad, they don't even compare to Sunday's display.