EXCUSE ME, WAS YOU SAYIN’ SOMETHIN’? UH, UH YOU CAN’T TELL ME NOTHIN’!
After week load of shit talk from Ohio State and a devastating injury to Jason Nolf that will keep him out until the postseason, Penn State walked the walk and downed the oh so mighty Buckeyes 19-18 in front of a capacity crowd in Rec Hall.
Ohio State Head Coach Tom Ryan talked smack. Kyle Snyder talked smack. Buckeyes fans talked smack.
Welp. Nut up or shut up (get it, ‘cause they’re nuts).
The dual started out at 125 pounds with Nathan Tomasello squaring off with Penn State debutante and graduate senior Carson Kuhn, who was severely out matched on paper.
Somebody must’ve forgotten to tell Kuhn that, however, as he came out firing with an early take down and a headlock and led 9-7 after the first period. Tomasello eventually found his footing but Kuhn kept him to a 21-12 major decision and the Buckeyes led 4-0.
At 133, Luke Pletcher used two first period takedowns and solid defense to grab a 5-3 win over Corey Keener and push the lead to 7-0 OSU.
Penn State seemed to be dealt a blow at 141. Sixth-ranked Nick Lee led 3-2 after the first period and 4-2 late in the second when he took a sloppy shot, getting out of position and allowing 11th-ranked Joey McKenna to pounce and making it 4-4. After a pair of McKenna escapes and Lee takedown, the match was tied 6-6 but McKenna hung on for the victory after adding a riding time point.
Down 10-0, things looked bleak for the Nittany Lions.
Zain Retherford righted the ship a bit, as he’s wont to do, at 149. Despite Ke-Shawn Hayes best attempts to survive the match, Retherford scored the last 19 points of the match to earn a 20-4 technical fall and cut the score to 10-5.
Micah Jordan dominated backup 157-pounder Bo Pipher for a 24-9 to restore the Ohio State 10-point lead at 15-5 heading into the intermission.
Out of the break, Penn State hit the gas.
With Penn State undoubtedly needing to win four of the remaining five matches and score bonus, defending national champion Vincenzo Joseph (AKA Our Little Meatball) stepped to the mat and dominated Te-Shan Campbell. Joseph controlled Campbell in all facets of the match to pick up a 12-3 major decision and put Penn State in striking distance at 15-9.
The momentum kept rolling to Penn State in the first of three huge swing matches. In a rematch of the 2017 NCAA finals Mark Hall fell behind early to Bo Jordan, who scored off of Hall’s shot, but used a super slick duck under and ride out in the third period to claim a 6-4 victory.
The lead was now just 15-12, Ohio State and the Rec Hall crowd was en fuego.
The noise only got louder at 184 pounds when Bo Nickal squared off with Myles Martin to continue their heated rivalry. Bo took and early lead after an incredible scramble and led 2-1 after the first period. Following a quick escape in the second, Nickal got another takedown in short time to make it 5-1 after two. In the third period, Martin got an early escape but Nickal hit a slick righty high crotch for two and, with time ticking down, secured two nearfall points and a 10-2 major decision.
The win gave Penn State its first lead of the dual at 16-12 and the roof just about came off Rec Hall.
Penn State still needed one more win, however.
At 197, it was a surprise to just about everyone Anthony Cassar, not Shakur Rasheed took the mat to face top-ranked Kollin Moore. Rasheed, apparently, won a wrestle-off between the two on Thursday but is dealing with a minor ankle injury. Boy, did Cassar deliver.
The New Jersey native controlled Moore using Moore’s own game. The score was 0-0 after the first despite Cassar getting in deep on a takedown. Moore escaped to a 1-0 lead in the second before Cassar got right back in, this time finishing for two and after another escape, the score was tied 2-2. Moore made the questionable decision to cut Cassar to a 3-2 lead to start the third period and, after a failed takedown attempt, Cassar scored on a countershot and finished with a 6-3 victory after a stalling point to Moore and riding time point to Cassar.
This put the Nittany Lions up 19-15 and in a position to complete the comeback. All that stood in their way was NCAA, World and Olympic Champion Kyle Snyder.
Snyder squared off with sixth-ranked Nick Nevills need to either pin Nevills or win by 13 points or greater to win the dual on criteria (Penn State had 12 more total match points at the time).
Nevills started the match strong, scoring the first takedown to get out to a 2-0 lead. Then the champ came storming back with three takedowns of his own and led 7-5 after one. Snyder took a 9-7 lead before trying a throw and almost getting caught on his back, giving Nevills a takedown to tie it at 9-9. Snyder led 12-9 after two.
He then escaped to take a 13-9 lead and scored another takedown to make it 15-10 following a Nevills escape. That was all Snyder would get, however, as he was held to a 15-10 decision victory and Penn State completed an unbelievable comeback to grab a 19-18 victory.
Outstanding Wrestler: Everybody. This is a bit of a cop out, but it really was a team effort by Penn State. From Carson Kuhn, to Zain Retherford, to Cenzo Joseph, Mark Hall, Bo Nickal, Anthony Cassar and Nick Nevills, Penn State wrestled incredibly and should be remarkably proud of its performance.
Relive the entire dual with our special edition of MatCast which you can find below or iTunes by searching “Lions247.”
125: #4 Nathan Tomasello OSU maj. dec. Carson Kuhn PSU, 21-12 / 0-4
133: #2 Luke Pletcher OSU dec. Corey Keener PSU, 5-4 / 0-7
174: #2 Mark Hall PSU dec. #3 Bo Jordan OSU, 6-4 / 12-15
184: #1 Bo Nickal PSU maj. dec. #2 Myles Martin OSU, 10-2 / 16-15
197: Anthony Cassar PSU dec. No. 1 Kollin Moore OSU, 6-3 / 19-15
285: #1 Kyle Snyder OSU dec. #6 Nick Nevills PSU, 15-10 / 19-18