clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Film Room: Bo Nickal Pins A Championship On Penn State

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Who can recall a moment in sports like the one Bo Nickal gave all of us last Saturday night? With the 184-lb title on the line, and the team national championship hanging in the balance, Bo used an elevator off of Myles Martin’s double leg attempt to flip the script, and give all Nittany Lion fans a memory they’ll never forget. Let’s take a look at the video to see how Bo pulled it off.


Myles Martin came out firing. He was much more aggressive than we’d seen him this year in either the dual at Rec Hall, or in East Lansing at Big Tens. And if you ever question which wrestler is being offensive, and which is being defensive, just watch their feet. You don’t shoot with your feet parallel - one foot will always be in front of the other, if you have any intention of taking a shot.

And that’s what we see in this first shot below. Martin begins with a left jab to Bo’s face, measuring off the distance. Meanwhile, he takes an exaggerated right-foot lead, and his left heel is up, driving forward. A shot is about to come.

This (below) is really pretty. Martin is lightning quick in this exchange. Following the left jab, Martin gives a quick pull on Bo’s head with his right arm. By pulling down, Martin forces Bo to resist - straightening up. But the pull down is a “touch and go”. Quick pull, then he drops his hips, and takes his penetration step with his right leg. It’s really beautiful - EXCEPT that Bo keeps his elbow in.

And because Bo kept his elbow in, Martin’s blast double isn’t perfectly clean. As shown below, Bo hooked him immediately. That’s why you want to keep your elbows in, kids.

In this next shot, Bo’s already made up his mind. He probably could have stuck to his baseline defense, and had a decent chance of avoiding the takedown. But Bo moved his right arm outside, and wrapped up Martin’s head like a football, while also digging his left underhook a little deeper. Bo’s going big.

Martin feels it. He swivels his hips to get Bo’s left leg outside, rather than between his hips.

Bo swivels with Martin, and intentionally sticks his foot back in there. As you can tell from Bo’s stance, he’s already dropping his hips and intending to elevate Martin over top of him.

Martin, to his credit, also feels this second re-attack from Bo, and completely bails out of the double leg. He releases with both hands, sinks his own hips backward, and instead of getting elevator’d over top of Bo, he lands flat on top of Bo (and this is why you should stick to your baseline defense, youth wrestlers!)

At this stage (below), Bo looks to turn out of his elevator, and give up the two point takedown. And this becomes the next critical decision. If Martin backs off, he’ll get 2 for a takedown. But Martin gets greedy, and drives forward into Bo, hoping to get a quick turn or even a pin out of this move.

So Bo - for the 3rd time in the last 8 seconds, and with Martin finally driving into him - goes back to his left underhook and right-arm football grip on Martin’s chin, sticks his left leg between Martin’s hips, and starts to kick Martin over.

Unfortunately for us at home, ESPN changed the camera angle on us, in order to show us a close up of Martin getting swipes on Bo. What we’re left with is the shot below, at which point Bo has elevated Martin over top of him with his left leg and left underhook. Myles is literally inverted, on his head, feet (out of camera angle) in the air.

Thru all of that, Bo kept Martin’s chin wrapped, and his left underhook. And the Ohio State fans in red who stood up to cheer 2 seconds ago, are quickly retreating to their seats.

Bo, meanwhile, is not getting elevator’d himself. He straddles Martin and grapevines his legs, while keeping a tight grip on Martin’s head. (And that, friends, is not a good feeling - feels like your head’s going to pop off).

The ref slaps the mat, and the PSU celebration begins. The yellow box below shows why you don’t want to coach at a high level. Jaggers dropped to his knees; Tervel has his head in his hands; and Tom Ryan is slumped over like Abe Lincoln. Bo is a literal assassin.

Here’s the whole 10 second exchange, set to the wild and gravelly rantings of our own radio man, Ironhead Byers.


Three times, friends. Three different times Bo went to that elevator, including from - practically speaking - flat on his back (and yes, I understand the implications of this).

Coach Cael likes to say he doesn’t want his wrestlers afraid of losing. Wellsir, I can think of no better example than Bo Nickal. From going double-overs outside trip on Brian Realbuto at the Scuffle three years ago, or spladle-ing Sammy Brooks at Carver in 37 seconds, or eschewing the traditional baseline defense for three separate attempts at an elevator - WITH THE NATIONAL TITLE AND TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP ON THE LINE - whew, brother.

Bo don’t scare worth a darn.

Sure is fun to watch.