Penn State went into Gopher territory looking for their first dual win over Minnesota in over a decade, and they got out to a 24-0 lead at the intermission and eventually won 33-6 to open up their Big Ten dual season.
If you were relying on the Big Ten Plus feed, you missed the two pins to start the match by the Nittany Lions. 149lb was drawn as the starting weight for the match, which meant that the Gophers would likely soon find themselves down 6-0. That was indeed the case as top-ranked Zain Retherford pinned unranked Carson Brolsma, wrestling down from 157, in 2:22.
The most entertaining wrestler in America, Penn State’s 157lb #1 Jason Nolf, lived up to that moniker Friday as he got out to a 14-4 lead after the first period playing catch-and-release with #11 Jake Short. Short chose bottom to start the second period and, like a life alert commercial, he could not get up as Nolf worked a power half and got the fall at the 3:44 mark to put Penn State up 12-0.
The Lions would pick up two consecutive wins by decision as #8 Vincenzo Joseph beat #14 Nick Wanzek (down from 174) 7-4 and #15 Geno Morelli beat Chris Pfarr 5-2 to make it 18-0 Penn State.
At 184lb, #2 Bo Nickal took on unranked Bobby Steveson, older brother of class of 2018 stud and Penn State target Gable Steveson. Nickal has been on a pinning rampage for most of this year and that would continue in Minneapolis as he got the fall in 2:36 to put the Lions up 24-0 at the intermission.
At 197lb, #11 Matt McCutcheon took the mat for the Nittany Lions to face off against #2 Brett Pfarr for the Gophers. Cutch got to the legs consistently throughout the match, but was unable to finish against the notably funky Pfarr, and Pfarr held on for a 3-2 victory to get the Gophers on the board.
HWT featured another matchup of ranked wrestlers as #5 Nick Nevills took on #8 Michael Kroells. Nevills used an early takedown and excellent top work to beat Kroells 4-0, making it 27-3, Penn State.
Number 3 freshman phenom Nick Suriano took on #6 Ethan Lizak at 125lb, fresh off his title at the Southern Scuffle. Suriano was dominant on his feet throughout the match, and did not let Lizak, maybe the best top worker in the weight class, turn him for back points, and came out on top 8-6, making it 30-3.
With #13 Jered Cortez still out with an undisclosed injury, George Carpenter got the call at 133lb. Carpenter wrestled well, especially on the top position (where he earned a riding time point), but he fell 2-1 to Minnesota’s #16 Mitch McKee, as the Gopher got the team score to 30-6.
Jimmy Gulibon took the mat against Tommy Thorn to end the dual. The twelfth-ranked Gulibon has had his struggles this year but wrestled one of his best matches of the year as he topped the ninth-ranked Thorn 6-3.
OW: Jimmy Gulibon
What looks to be a close team race this year could be not very close if Gulibon wrestles to his sky-high potential like he did today. Of course, the question with Gulibon is consistency, so we will see what we get from him going forward before getting too optimistic.
Bout By Bout
149: #1 Zain Retherford PSU pinned Carson Brolsma MINN, WBF (2:28) / 6-0
157: #1 Jason Nolf PSU pinned #9 Jake Short MINN, WBF (3:44) / 12-0
165: #8 Vincenzo Joseph PSU dec. #14 Nick Wanzek MINN, 7-4 / 15-0
174: #15 Geno Morelli PSU dec. Chris Pfarr MINN, 5-2 / 18-0
184: #2 Bo Nickal PSU pinned Bobby Stevenson MINN, WBF (2:36) / 24-0
197: #2 Brett Pfarr MINN dec. #11 Matt McCutcheon PSU, 3-2 / 24-3
285: #5 Nick Nevills PSU dec. #8 Michael Kroells MINN, 4-0 / 27-3
125: #3 Nick Suriano PSU dec. #6 Ethan Lizak MINN, 8-6 / 30-3
133: #16 Mitch McKee MINN dec. George Carpenter PSU, 2-1 / 30-6
141: #12 Jimmy Gulibon PSU dec. #9 Tommy Thorn MINN, 6-3 / 33-6
Penn State returns to action Sunday against Nebraska.