With his star 157 on the bench, Penn State had little wiggle room to claim a win in a clash of the top two teams in NCAA Wrestling. Cael Sanderson has magic in him, and a thrilling 19-18 win ended up the result.
It started off with madness. Heavy underdog and transfer Carson Kuhn got two takedowns including a headlock that sent Tomasello kicking through the spanish announcers table. What was expected to be a methodical Buckeye win, turned into a 21-12 melee.
Luke Pletcher won as expected, but faded late as Keener charged picking up a stall point to drop the 5-4 match.
141 presented the first expected swing match of the evening. The two traded shots, but eventually a 2nd period takedown at the buzzer and riding time gave McKenna the 7-6 win for the Buckeyes.
The next three matches were two technical falls and a major as expected. Buckeye fans are not happy about the near-fall at the end of the 149 lb match that appeared to be barely past 90 degrees let alone 45.
174 & 184 were no doubt the marquee matches of the evening, both of them having been NCAA finals matches. Bo Jordan took a 4-2 lead in the 3rd, but Mark Hall got the escape and a takedown. He continued to win the hand fights for the rideout with riding time to snag the 6-4 win.
Myles Martin has looked unstoppable this season. The last time he wrestled #1 Bo Nickal was in the Big Ten tournament when he controlled the match. This time went the other way. All the way down to Martin fading late allowing Nickal to snag a shocking major decision.
Going into 197 with a 16-15 dual score seemed fine for Ohio State fans having only #1 ranked wrestlers left. Enter Anthony Cassar, the guy who currently is not the one ranked by most outlets for his own team. The very fast and long Cassar getting a takedown on Moore is certainly not surprising, but matching the pace and attacks from Moore on his way to the 6-3 win was.
My hope, as an impartial fan of grappling, was that Ohio State would be trailing by four going into heavyweight. World/Olympic champion having to go wide open to try to bonus point the talented #6 Nevills. It didn't disappoint and a couple counter takedowns by Nevills prevented Snyder from pulling away. It was seven minutes of great action, but the 15-10 win would mean Cael magic and Penn State prevailed.
The roller coaster of emotions was incredibly special to watch. With Nolf unavailable and McKenna winning at 141 Ohio State was in the driver's seat. A 3rd period comeback by Mark Hall, an unlikely major by Nickal, an upset of an undefeated #1 Cassar, and heroics by Nevills provided Rec Hall with a dual to remember for all-time.
No. 1 Penn State 19, No. 2 Ohio State 18
(Saturday at University Park, Pa.)
125: No. 4 Nathan Tomasello, OSU, maj. dec. Carson Kuhn, 21-12.
133: No. 2 Luke Pletcher, OSU, dec. Corey Keener, 5-4.
141: No. 11 Joey McKenna, OSU, dec. No. 6 Nick Lee, 7-6.
149: No. 1 Zain Retherford, PSU, won by tech. fall over Ke-Shawn Hayes, 20-4 (7:00).
157: No. 5 Micah Jordan, OSU, won by tech. fall over Bo Pipher, 24-9 (6:06).
165: No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph, PSU, maj. dec. No. 14 Te’Shan Campbell, 12-3.
174: No. 2 Mark Hall, PSU, dec. No. 3 Bo Jordan, 6-4.
184: No. 1 Bo Nickal, PSU, maj. dec. No. 2 Myles Martin, 10-2.
197: Anthony Cassar, PSU, dec. No. 1 Kollin Moore, 6-3.
285: No. 1 Kyle Snyder, OSU, dec. No. 6 Nick Nevills, 15-10.