Death, taxes, Penn State wins a wrestling dual.
Friday night's win over Michigan put Penn State's dual meet streak at 37 and provided insight into what the future holds for the Nittany Lions. Cael Sanderson pulled Nick Lee's redshirt and started Southern Scuffle Outstanding Wrestler Shakur Rasheed against the Wolverines.
The Lions ended up winning seven of 10 bouts overall on the way to a fairly comfortable 25-12 victory.
The dual did not start off great for Penn State, as both Devin Schnupp and Corey Keener dropped major decisions to No. 15 Drew Mattin and No. 6 Stevan Micic, respectively. Penn State was down 8-0 and did not have a single takedown by the time Lee took the mat.
Michigan came with some fight to this dual. Penn State has been getting everyone's best shot this year and the Wolverines did not back down from the Lions' firepower.
Lee was everything Penn State fans would be hoping for, as he pushed the pace and dominated the center against the very solid Sal Profaci. Lee is becoming known for an unrelenting pace and he really forced Profaci to wrestle that way. Lee ended up scoring three first-period takedowns and won 9-5.
There will be higher scoring Lee performances, but Profaci is an NCAA qualifier. Plus, Lee came into this match with the added pressure of needing a win to get Penn State going in the dual. He did what he needed to do and Penn State trailed 8-3.
Some fireworks occurred when No. 1 Zain Retherford took on Malik Amine. Amine came out like he was on fire, getting to Zain's legs on a couple of occasions, but never securing the takedown. Zain started controlling the match and was up 7-2 after the first period, in part thanks to two penalty points against Amine for strikes to Retherford's face.
With a 13-2 lead to start the third period, Zain chose top to turn Amine for the fall. During Zain's attempt to put Amine on his back, a restart for potentially dangerous was called, Amine took exception and shoved Zain. He was hit with a two point unsportsmanlike penalty and Zain was given another point for the injury timeout.
At 16-2, Zain could have easily settled for the technical fall, but Zain hates settling; he eventually turned Amine to his back and secured the pin at the 6:29 mark of the third. Penn State took a 9-8, a lead the Lions never relinquished.
Tight One for Nolf
No. 1 Jason Nolf was then in an unexpected battle against No. 7 Alec Pantaleo. Pantaleo really did not open up much in this match and was hit with a stall warning in the second period. Nolf tried to be as active as ever, but Pantaleo really did not want to engage and was hoping to score solely on potential overzealousness from Nolf. Pantaleo scored two takedowns in the second period and was down 5-4 going into the third. Pantaleo chose bottom to tie the match up with an escape point.
Nolf had other ideas and rode Pantaleo out for the entire third period, picking up a 6-4 win. Penn State was up 12-8 as an NCAA semifinal rematch was about to take place between No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph and No. 5 Logan Massa.
Joseph Seizes The Moment
Joseph and Massa wrestled a close match but Joseph was very much the more aggressive of the two. After two first-period takedowns and a second-period escape, Joseph had a 5-2 lead heading into the third. Massa chose down and escaped to make it a one-takedown match. Joseph nearly scored what would have been the match-winning takedown with about a minute left, but Massa was able to fight it off. Then, the match hinged on one moment. Joseph and Massa both had body locks on each other and were looking for the big throw. It looked like Massa's trip was going to possibly come out on top.
However, Vincenzo maintained his balance and threw Massa to his back for six points and a 12-3 major decision victory. Penn State was now up 16-8, and time was running out for the Wolverines.
The Cardiac Kid
No. 2 Mark Hall is becoming the cardiac kid this year, taking home another close victory - this time over No. 6 Myles Amine. Hall scored a first-period takedown and was able to ride out Amine in the first period. However, this match was close thanks to a second-period reversal by Amine. Hall was up 5-3 with over three minutes of riding time advantage.
Amine was close on a shot late in the third that Hall possibly could have fought out of, but Hall bailed to prevent anything more serious; Amine then scored the takedown. Hall ended up winning 6-5 and Penn State was up 19-8.
Bo Survives in Controversial Fashion
No. 1 Bo Nickal wrestled No. 5 Domenic Abounader in what was easily the most controversial bout of the night. Bo had a slim 3-2 lead in the third period when Abounader looked to have secured a takedown with around 30 seconds left. However, the referees never called it. Even more surprisingly, the Michigan coaches did not challenge the ruling on the mat.
The decision to not challenge proved costly, as Bo ended up countering an Abounader shot late in the period for a 5-2 victory. This result clinched the dual for Penn State, as the Lions were up 22-8.
Rasheed's First Start Goes Well
At 197, No. 10 Shakur Rasheed received his first start since the 2015-16 season, and he took on No. 11 Kevin Beazley. Beazley is a graduate transfer from Old Dominion and an All-American. Rasheed was able to control the action and, despite being the smaller man, never really seemed all that bothered by the size difference. Rasheed was able to secure his trademarked cross-face cradle in the second period, but was only able to get four nearfall points instead of the fall.
Despite that, Rasheed was able to ride Beazley well and racked up 2:20 in riding time, as he won 7-1. Penn State was up 25-8 at that point, with Nick Nevills looking to get back on track against Adam Coon.
No. 2 Adam Coon is a dominating heavyweight. If someone other than the best wrestler in the world existed at this weight, Coon would be a likely favorite to take the NCAA Tournament. His size and strength was just on another level to anyone Nevills has seen all season. It showed as Coon nearly secured a first-period fall with a cradle. Nevills was really unable to get going in this match-up and Coon wrestled a terrific match.
Coon won 8-0, but Penn State ended up winning overall, 25-12.
- 125 pounds - No. 15 Drew Mattin maj. dec. Devin Schnupp (1-10), 8-0, Michigan 4-0
- 133 pounds - No. 6 Stevan Micic maj. dec. Corey Keener (9-3), 10-1, Michigan 8-0
- 141 pounds - Nick Lee (16-3) dec. Sal Profaci, 9-5, Michigan 8-3
- 149 pounds - No. 1 Zain Retherford (15-0) fall Malik Amine, WBF (6:29), Penn State 9-8
- 157 pounds - No. 1 Jason Nolf (15-0) dec. No. 7 Alec Pantaleo, 6-4, Penn State 12-8
- 165 pounds - No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph (10-0) maj. dec. No. 5 Logan Massa, 12-3, Penn State 16-8
- 174 pounds - No. 2 Mark Hall (16-0) dec. No. 6 Myles Amine, 6-4, Penn State 19-8
- 184 pounds - No. 1 Bo Nickal (15-0) dec. No. 5 Domenic Abounader, 5-2, Penn State 22-8
- 197 pounds - No. 10 Shakur Rasheed (14-3) dec. No. 11 Kevin Beazley, 7-1, Penn State 25-8
- 285 pounds - No. 2 Adam Coon maj. dec. No. 8 Nick Nevills (14-3), 8-0, Penn State 25-12
To close out the recap, we would just like to leave with this:
Find someone who wants you as much as Shakur Rasheed wants a cross-face cradle.
— Roar Lions Roar (@RLRblog) January 13, 2018