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Wrestling Postview: PSU 35, Michigan State 0

Penn State completed its trip to the mitten state by shutting out Sparty and extending its Dual Meet Win Streak to 50.

#1 Levi Haines prevailed over #21 Chase Saldate in an epic, 12-minute match, 7-6 in TB2, East Lansing.
#1 Levi Haines prevailed over #21 Chase Saldate in an epic, 12-minute match, 7-6 in TB2, East Lansing.
Sam Janicki, https://www.sjanickiphoto.com

The Nittany Lions finished off their weekend in Michigan by taking on the Spartans in East Lansing. This weekend included additional challenges as wrestlers had to make weight twice in three days while on the road, recover from their matches on Friday night against a tough Wolverine squad, presumably take a long bus ride from Ann Arbor, and are likely battling some seasonal illnesses. But this squad abides by rule #76 - no excuses, play like a champion.

125: #14 Braeden Davis, PSU vs Tristan Lujan, MSU

1st

Davis was in on Lujan’s ankles right off the whistle, getting a quick takedown and taking a 3-0 lead. Lujan was out for the escape and Davis continued the attack getting in on a single that he wasn’t able to finish. Lujan was able to catch Davis out of position but wasn’t able to get behind as Davis turned out of it. More ties and feints followed without any more significant opportunities for either wrestler.

2nd

Lujan chose bottom to start the second and was quickly out for the escape to cut Davis’ lead to 3-2. Davis once again found himself in deep on a single but was unable to finish before another stalemate was called. Davis continued to look for an opportunity but Lujan did his best to post off Davis’ head and keep his distance to avoid any further scoring in the period.

3rd

Davis took bottom to start the third and worked his way out for an escape. He caught Lujan a bit flat-footed and got in on a low double for his second takedown of the match, extending his lead to 7-2. Lujan got out for the escape and continued playing defense throughout the rest of the period. Things got a little chippy at the end as wrestlers exchanged some hard head taps and Davis finished off a blast double after time expired.

Takeaways

Not only is Davis wrestling well but he seems to be getting more comfortable and confident. In this match he seemed to be a bit more controlling, really stalking Lujan and making sure to reciprocate the physicality. Lujan didn’t do much to challenge Davis but it was good to see the true freshman generate opportunities and finish at a 50% rate.

Penn State 3, Michigan State 0

133: #4 Aaron Nagao, PSU vs Andy Hampton, MSU

1st

Nagao came at Hampton right off the whistle and worked his way behind for the opening takedown. Hampton made his way back to his feet for the escape and took a shot from distance that Nagao stuffed. Nagao then spun behind for the takedown and extended his lead to 6-1. Nagao didn’t make much of an effort to ride, but immediately upon releasing Hampton for the escape Aaron shot back in to score his third takedown of the period. Nagao once again conceded the escape and was quickly back in deep on a single. Aaron worked his way up to ultimately get the takedown, making the score 12-3. Aaron started looking to turn the Spartan but was unable to lock anything up, taking 1:42 in riding time to the second period.

2nd

Nagao chose bottom to start the second. A standing gramby attempt found Hampton holding on to an ankle to maintain control, drawing a 5-count on the ankle for a stall warning. On the following restart, Nagao quickly got out for an escape. Hampton made some attempts to score which Aaron fought off before the Nittany Lion found an opportunity of his own and successfully converted the takedown to extend his lead to 16-3.

3rd

Hampton took bottom to start the third. He quickly got both legs in and had Hampton bellied out on the mat. With legs in, Nagao ran a power half which drew a 2-count before Hampton rolled through, ending the match by tech fall 18-3.

Takeaways

Nagao bounced back well from his loss on Friday night. This season seems to be all about improving his offense and that was on full display this match. Aaron is quick and powerful and consistently creates opportunities. The main focus for the remainder of the season will be on his ability to finish once he’s in on a good shot.

Penn State 8, Michigan State 0

141: #2 Beau Bartlett, PSU vs #33 Jordan Hamdan, MSU

1st

Bartlett wrestled the first period in his typical stalking, plodding style. With 40 seconds remaining in the period Beau got in on a low single and was able to come up to his feet with it. On his attempt to drive through, Hamdan caught an ankle and was able to hold on for the rest of the period to avoid giving up the takedown.

2nd

Hamdan chose bottom to start the second period. After an initial standup attempt, Hamdan attempted to roll out of Bartlett’s control and got out in the ensuing scramble to get the escape. Beau continued to come forward but was unable to get in on a shot.

3rd

Beau took bottom looking to tie up the bout. Off the whistle he was quickly to his feet and got the escape. Hamdan looked for a shot but hesitated, allowing Bartlett to win the ensuing scramble for the takedown and also catching Hamdan on his back for 3 near fall points. Beau put the pressure on from top, building his riding time up to over a minute before finally letting Hamdan out for the escape. Beau hunted for a takedown to get the major decision but was unsuccessful in his attempts and settled for the 8 - 2 decision.

Takeaways

Beau is a very sound wrestler who is always maintaining good position and control of the match. It seems like he should easily find his way to score and yet he doesn’t, especially early on in matches. Whether he’s not fully committing to shots or he’s unable to finish when he’s in deep, he’s still trying to find a consistent offensive attack.

Penn State 11, Michigan State 0

149: David Evans, PSU vs Braden Stauffenberg, MSU

1st

Evans was in on a single immediately and finished for the opening takedown. Stauffenberg was out for the escape and looked to answer, but Evans displayed strong defense and nearly countered before the scramble ended in a stalemate. Evans found himself back on the offensive, attempting several shots and even a headlock before the period ended.

2nd

Evans was quickly out for the escape after choosing bottom to start the period and extended his lead to 4-1. The wrestlers once again found themselves in a scramble but eventually the action went out of bounds. They continued to work collar ties but neither wrestler took a shot.

3rd

Stauffenberg took bottom to start the third. Evans was able to get legs in and attempted a turn but got a bit high, allowing Stauffenberg to get out for the escape. The wrestlers continued to tie up in the center of the mat until Stauffenberg took some desperate shots which Evans was easily able to avoid.

Takeaways

This was a good showing from Evans to go 2-0 on the weekend. He showed very good defense several times during the match to turn scrambles into advantageous positions that he just wasn’t quite able to finish. He’s quick but he may be a bit overpowered as he’s wrestling up a weight class.

Penn State 14, Michigan State 0

157: #1 Levi Haines, PSU vs #21 Chase Saldate, MSU

1st

After some feints and ties, Haines got in on a single. While working to come up with it, Saldate grabbed a leg of Haines and essentially came up with a single of his own. Haines got caught off balance and Saldate followed on top for the takedown. Haines was quickly out for the escape but found himself trailing 3-1 at the end of the period.

2nd

Haines started the period on bottom and worked through some initial pressure from Saldate to get the escape. He looked to line up a shot in neutral but never found an opening he was happy with, ending the period 3-2.

3rd

Saldate chose bottom and got out for the escape to extend his lead to 4-2. He caught Haines off guard and was in on a deep single, but Haines showed great athleticism to fight off the attempt before winning the ensuing scramble to take a 5-4 lead. Soldate was able to get out for the escape and tied the match up at 5-5 to go to sudden victory.

SV1

In neutral, both wrestlers were active as they tried to score the winning takedown. In one of the scrambles Haines backed out of bounds, drawing a stall call. Levi was able to get in deep off the restart but Saldate scrambled into a stalemate to thwart the attempt. In rideouts, Haines chose bottom first. Saldate put on a very good ride and kept control of Levi, riding out the 30 second period (though drawing a stall call in the process). Haines answered with a ride of his own but was called for locked hands on a mat return with only 8 seconds left. The Penn State coaches challenged the call (with the encouragement of Starocci who was standing matside) and were successful. Haines rode out the rest of the rideout to send the match to SV2.

SV2

Levi was able to get in deep on a high crotch but was unable to win the scramble that followed. The period would end with a lot of action but no takedowns and the wrestlers would go to a second set of rideouts. Saldate chose bottom first and threw the kitchen sink at Levi trying to get out. With 8 seconds remaining, Saldate made it to his feet with Levi still in control in a front headlock. With 1 second remaining the ref called Haines for stalling, awarding a penalty point to Saldate. Haines started the second rideout on bottom needing an escape to win. Saldate put on another good ride and was still in control as the wrestlers went out-of-bounds with 7 seconds remaining. On the restart Haines was able to get Saldate out of position on his back and turned in for the reversal to get the win. The Spartan coaches challenged but the call was confirmed and Haines took the 7-6 decision.

Takeaways

That was an incredibly exciting match but overall feels disappointing for Levi. There’s likely some combination at play between injury, illness, and Saldate’s funk that is affecting Levi, but the question is whether he’ll be able to get to 100% by March. He was able to will himself to a win, overcoming a lot of adversity in this match, but this was a match you’d expect Haines to dominate.

Penn State 17, Michigan State 0

165: #9 Mitchell Mesenbrink, PSU vs #10 Caleb Fish, MSU

1st

Mesenbrink was immediately on the attack, getting the takedown and looking for more. He built up over a minute in riding time while looking to turn Fish with an arm bar. On the restart Mitchell conceded the escape and the wrestlers started neutral. Fish went for an inside trip off of a russian tie and rolled Mesenbrink to his back for 2 near fall points in addition to the takedown, taking the lead 6-3. The Penn State coaches challenged the near fall but were unsuccessful. On the restart Mesenbrink worked out for the escape. He shot in for a double and finished the takedown to end the period up 7-6

2nd

Mesenbrink chose bottom to start the second and got out for the escape quickly. Towards the end of the period he was able to work Fish out of position to get behind for the takedown and take an 11-6 lead to the third.

3rd

Fish took bottom and was quickly out for the escape. He came close several times to getting a takedown but Mesenbrink worked through it all to ultimately come away in control. With 20 seconds left, Fish got out for the escape and quickly took a shot. Mesenbrink countered it to get yet another takedown and secure the 18-9 major decision.

Takeaways

That was another bonus point win against a ranked opponent for the freshman. He’s just relentless and constantly looks to score, overwhelming his opponents. Fish did do a very good job in how he handled that aggression, catching Mesenbrink once and nearly a second time later on in the match, but even that wasn’t enough to withstand the onslaught.

Penn State 21, Michigan State 0

174: Terrell Barraclough, PSU vs DJ Shannon, MSU

1st

The wrestlers worked a variety of ties and feints but neither wrestler made much of an attempt to score throughout the first period as they felt each other out.

2nd

Barraclough took bottom to start the second and quickly got up and out for the escape. Shannon got in deep on a single but Barraclough was able to fight it off and work his way behind for the takedown and rideout to go up 4-0.

3rd

Shannon chose neutral to start the third in order to avoid being underneath Barraclough. Barraclough was finally able to line up a shot and took it, getting the takedown to make it 7-0. Terrell put on a great ride but was eventually called for stalling with 7 seconds remaining in the period, drawing a restart. Shannon exploded off the whistle and kicked out for the escape with 3 seconds left to avoid giving up the major. Barraclough won 8-1 with the riding time point.

Takeaways

It’s pretty crazy that our backup 165 can nearly get a major up a weight class. Even undersized Barraclough was able to put on a dominant ride and show that he’s a very skilled wrestler.

Penn State 24, Michigan State 0

184: #5 Bernie Truax, PSU vs #22 Layne Malczewski, MSU

1st

The wrestlers tied up and traded feints throughout the first 2 minutes of the period. Truax was able to catch a leg of Malczewski and get the opening takedown. Malczewski was quickly out for the escape and the wrestlers would end the period in neutral.

2nd

Malczewski started the period on bottom and was quickly out for the escape to cut the lead to 3-2. The wrestlers worked ties and setups but neither were able to generate much opportunity. Towards the end of the period Truax was nearly able to get behind Malczewski but time ran out before he gained control.

3rd

Truax chose bottom to start the period and was out in 9 seconds for the escape. The wrestlers continued to work ties and head taps but always remained too far away to get a shot off. Towards the end of the period Malczewski attempted a bit of desperation but Truax was able to keep away and win the 4-2 decision.

Takeaways

Truax was always in control of the match, but there wasn’t much offense generated by either wrestler. A lot of the ties and taps didn’t seem to have much offensive intent and the wrestlers seemed content to keep well enough apart to not allow for an opportunity. I was really hoping to see more offense from Truax but he seemed content to let the match stay close. This is probably a difficult weekend for Truax having to make 184 twice after having been up at 197 all of last year.

Penn State 27, Michigan State 0

197: #1 Aaron Brooks, PSU vs #29 Kael Wisler, MSU

1st

Brooks came out on the attack and worked an underhook for the first takedown of the match. Wisler was out for the escape and Brooks once again took the Spartan down. After letting Wisler up again, Brooks snapped him down and hunted the ankle to get his third takedown. Brooks continued to let Wisler up and scored a total of 6 takedowns in the period on his way to an 18-5 lead.

2nd

Wisler took bottom to start the second and Brooks broke him down to the mat. He attempted to run an arm bar but Wisler was able to work back up to his base and then get out for the escape. Brooks again worked Wisler out of position and got behind for the takedown to end the match by 21-6 tech fall.

Takeaways

Aaron Brooks continues to show that he’s really, really good at wrestling. He put on a clinic by consistently working Wisler into bad positions that Brooks was able to keep taking advantage of. Brooks has amazing power and athleticism, and yet he scores most often by simply working his opponents into bad positions and then taking advantage of that.

Penn State 32, Michigan State 0

285: Lucas Cochran, PSU vs Josh Terrill, MSU

1st

The wrestlers tied up in the middle of the mat with a very undersized Cochran (who weighed in at 198 according to Jeff Byers) holding his own against Terrill. Cochran attempted the first shot of the match as he hit a snatch single but was unable to get Terrill to the mat before the wrestlers went out of bounds. Cochran eventually got in on a low single and was able to come up with it and finish for the takedown. He rode out the rest of the period to build up 42 seconds of riding time along with his 3-0 lead.

2nd

Terrill chose bottom to start the second and quickly tried a roll. Cochran hung with him and then followed it up with a mat return after Terrill was nearly out. From there, Cochran worked a spiral ride and hand control to ride out the rest of the period.

3rd

Cochran took bottom to start the third and was quickly out for the escape to extend his lead to 4-0. The wrestlers were locked in a collar tie for a majority of the period as Terrill never mustered much of an offense. Cochran would go on to win the 4-0 decision.

Takeaways

Despite being very undersized, Cochran controlled that match. He never let Terrill push him around and the threat of his offense kept Terrill apprehensive in neutral. That was a good win that just goes to show the spirit of the guys in the room.

Penn State 35, Michigan State 0

Executive Summary

Box Score, PSU over Michigan State, 35-0
Box Score, PSU over Michigan State, 35-0

Penn State secured the shutout using 7 Decision victories, 2 Technical Falls and 1 Major. Interestingly, Sparty’s two takedowns were earned against Levi Haines & Mitchell Mesenbrink. Every one of Penn State’s 10 wrestlers earned at least one takedown, and the Lions finished with 26.

Sparty finished with 33 bout points (to PSU’s 100), averaging 3.3 per bout, whereas on Friday night, Michigan finished with 26 and averaged 2.6.

The Takery

This weekend was a challenging test for the Lions and they showed that even when they’re not at their best they’re still absolutely dominant. It’s hard to know what factors are at play, whether guys are struggling with weight cuts, if they’re worn down due to all the competitions and training, or if they’re battling injury. This weekend undoubtedly gave the coaches and wrestlers a lot of useful information as they continue to progress towards their peak in March and it will undoubtedly be put to good use.

Next Up: @Maryland 12pm EST Sunday, 1/28, College Park, MD, BTN+($), LionVision Audio

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MMQB - 5+7

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