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No. 1 Penn State beats down No. 6 Ohio State, 32-7 in home BJC dual

by Andy Elder, Special to

Nick Lee of PSU scores on Dylan D'Emilio of OSU at 141 pounds. Photo by Mark Sellers, Penn State Athletics

UNIVERSITY PARK — Even with four starters out of his lineup, Tom Ryan wasn’t in the mood to offer excuses on Friday night.

As much of a disadvantage those absences presented in No. 6 Ohio State’s (6-3, 2-3 B1G) dual meet against No. 1 Penn State (15-0, 7-0), the Buckeyes coach cited another reason for the Nittany Lions’ 32-7 beatdown in a sold-out Bryce Jordan Center crowd listed at 15,991, but thinned by some no-shows due to an ice storm earlier in the day.

“When it gets tough, you need to figure out ways to get your hand raised in overtime. It got tough and they found a way to win all of the close ones,” Ryan said. “We had a good opportunity in every close match to win it. We got outfought in the critical moment.”

Even with 165-pounder Brady Berge and 174-pounder Carter Starocci out of the lineup, Penn State won eight of 10 bouts. That included three sudden victory triumphs. The Nittany Lions added two falls, two major decisions and a tight decision to roll past the Buckeyes.

Penn State enjoyed an 18-8 edge in takedowns. Only three Buckeyes scored at least one, as Smith recorded six on his own.

“I think we wrestled fine. You know, we had a couple guys out of the lineup. They had a couple guys out of their lineup. I think that's just what happens this time of the year,” Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said.

“It's like week four or five of the Big Ten season, or last week of the Big Ten season for us, so we just need to finish strong here on Sunday with Nebraska because they've got a really good team.”

Ohio State was missing Dylan Koontz (133), Jashon Hubbard (157), Carson Kharchla (165) and Kaleb Romero (184).

“We’ve got four guys out, they’ve got two guys out. It’s that time of the season. It’s brutal,” Ryan said.

Neither Drew Hildebrandt nor Malik Heinselman could manage a takedown through the first two periods at 125, but a Hildebrandt escape gave the Nittany Lion a 1-0 lead heading into the third. Heinselman chose bottom and nearly escaped at the start of the period, but Hildebrandt was able to counter that, slip in legs and ride the Buckeye the rest of the period for a riding time point and 2-0 win.

At 133, Roman Bravo-Young was on the offensive from the start, converting on a variety of takedowns, five total, to build an 11-3 lead through two periods. Backup Brady Koontz chose bottom to start the third and twice Bravo-Young stepped out front to attempt a throw. On the second, he executed a reverse headlock, stepped over and planted Koontz for a fall in 5:31.

Nick Lee ran the advantage to 13-0 for Penn State with a dominating 13-3 major decision over Dylan D’Emilio. Lee racked up five takedowns in the win.

At 149, Beau Bartlett pushed Sammy Sasso to the limit in a 4-2 loss. Bartlett scored a go-ahead reversal with 1:07 to go, but Sasso worked himself free and scored a takedown with 6 seconds to go to pull out the win.

Terrell Barraclough squared off with Ohio State backup Isaac Wilcox and the Nittany Lion was able to notch his first dual meet win. The match was tied 2-2 at the end of regulation and in the sudden victory period, Barraclough was able to counter a Wilcox shot, come out the back door and emerge on top for the winning score.

“Yeah, he was pumped. I mean, you know, he's good. He's really good. He's tough. He just needs some confidence, like you're saying. He just needs some experience so he can kind of just believe in himself,” Sanderson said. “He works hard and is just a great kid. It was fun to see him get excited after his win in a big dual like that.”

At 165, each team sent out a backup, as Penn State’s Creighton Edsell squared off with Kevon Freeman. The match went to the sudden victory period scoreless as each man rode the other for an entire period. In the overtime period, Edsell got in on a single, stepped over, trapped both legs and shook off Freeman’s whizzer for the winning takedown 35 seconds into the period and a 2-0 win.

Ohio State’s Ethan Smith amassed six takedowns over Penn State backup 174-pounder Mason Manville and cruised to a 15-5 major decision to cut the Nittany Lion lead to 19-7.

Penn State swept the final three bouts, starting with Aaron Brooks’ second-period fall over fill-in Rocky Jordan at 184. Brooks locked up a near cradle and stuck Jordan in 3:20.

Max Dean needed overtime to edge Gavin Hoffman at 197. Trailing 1-0, Dean started the third on bottom but scored a reversal to go in front. Late in the bout, Hoffman reversed Dean and rode him the rest of the way. Dean, though, had enough riding time to secure a match-tying point and send it into overtime. With 25 seconds left in overtime, Dean converted on a takedown to earn the 5-3 win.

Finally, at 285, Greg Kerkvliet used four takedowns to engineer a 10-2 major decision over Tate Orndorff.

Sanderson said that Starocci has been nursing an injury and it made sense to rest him. And, he said that Berge is working on his weight. When asked whether that meant cutting to 157 or maintaining 165, he said “both, if that makes any sense.”

The Penn State coach said that his team feeds off the energy of the crowd in the Jordan Center, which allows more than twice as many fans to attend as its usual home venue, Rec Hall.

“Yeah, I think so. The bigger the match, the more they get excited,” Sanderson said. “That’s a great attribute of a team. So, a big match on Sunday (No. 8 Nebraska visits) and then Rider a week from Sunday and then it’s the postseason. So, it’s go time.”

No. 1 Penn State 32, No. 6 Ohio State 7

(Friday at University Park, Pa.)

125: No. 6 Drew Hildebrandt, PSU, dec. No. 10 Malik Heinselman, 2-0.

133: No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young, PSU, pinned Brady Koontz, 5:31.

141: No. 1 Nick Lee, PSU, maj. dec. No. 20 Dylan D’Emilio, 13-3.

149: No. 2 Sammy Sasso, OSU, dec. No. 18 Beau Bartlett, 4-2.

157: Terrell Barraclough, PSU, dec. Isaac Wilcox, 4-2 SV.

165: Creighton Edsell, PSU, dec. Kevon Freeman, 2-0 SV.

174: No. 7 Ethan Smith, OSU, maj. dec. Mason Manville, 15-5.

184: No. 1 Aaron Brooks, PSU, pinned Rocky Jordan, 3:20.

197: No. 2 Max Dean, PSU, dec. No. 21 Gavin Hoffman, 5-3 SV.

285: No. 5 Greg Kerkvliet, PSU, maj. dec. No. 13 Tate Orndorff, 10-2.

Referees: Ray Santiago; Jim Rivello.

Attendance: 15,991.

Takedowns: Ohio State 8; Penn State 18.

Records: Ohio State 6-3, 2-3 Big Ten; Penn State 15-0, 7-0.

Next match: Nebraska at Penn State, noon Sunday.