No. 2 Penn State Takes Down No. 3 Ohio State in BJC Dual

By Jarrod Prugar on February 16, 2020 at 2:00 pm
Vincenzo Joseph's major decision gave PSU much needed bonus points.
Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

The crowd at the Bryce Jordan Center was electric for No. 2 Penn State's 20-16 victory over No. 3 Ohio State Saturday night. The Nittany Lions and the Buckeyes each won five matches, but Penn State's bonus points won the dual for them. 

PSU 20, OSU 16 Results
Weight Winner Loser Result
125 pounds Malik Heinselman Brandon Meredith Dec. 5-3, OSU 3-0
133 pounds No. 2 Roman Bravo-Young Jordan Decatur Dec. 10-4, Tied 3-3
141 pounds No. 2 Nick Lee No. 1 Luke Pletcher Dec. 8-4, PSU 6-3
149 pounds No. 1 Sammy Sasso No. 17 Jarod Verkleeren SV-1 3-1, Tied 6-6
157 pounds Quinn Kinner Brady Berge Dec. 5-4, OSU 9-6
165 pounds No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph No. 16 Ethan Smith Maj. Dec. 13-5, PSU 10-9
174 pounds No. 2 Mark Hall No. 7 Kaleb Romero Fall (:46), PSU 16-9
184 pounds No. 6 Aaron Brooks No. 12 Rocky Jordan Maj. Dec. 15-3, PSU 20-9
197 pounds No. 1 Kollin Moore No. 17 Shakur Rasheed Maj. Dec. 14-6, PSU 20-13
285 pounds Gary Traub No. 15 Seth Nevills Dec. 5-4, PSU 20-16

The Nittany Lion wrestlers did their part in adding to the atmosphere during annual BJC Dual and especially so when Nick Lee took on Luke Pletcher, the No. 1 wrestler in the country at 141 pounds. The match did not disappoint and neither did Lee's teammates who could be seen jumping up and down off the mat during the match.

"A really good match like that, anticipation is huge and it'd be near impossible for us not to be jumping around like that. It was cool to see," Mark Hall said following the match.

For Lee, the opportunity to wrestle at the BJC was a cool experience and one he didn't take lightly.

"I'm excited for every match, but we got 10,000 more people here tonight," Lee said. "That was pretty cool. I'm glad more people got to experience the experience that is Penn State wrestling."

Lee's 8-4 decision over Pletcher, his first loss of the season, earned the Nittany Lions three valuable points which they needed later to help overcome the pesky Buckeyes.

"You have two of the best guys in the country wrestling there," Penn State head coach Cael Sanderson said. "Nick did a really nice job and just kept wrestling, got that take down and did a nice job on top. They'll see each other again."

Hall was one of Lee's biggest cheerleaders throughout their match and did more than his fair share to help the Nittany Lions as he pinned No. 7 ranked Kaleb Romero in 46 seconds at 174 pounds.

"It was pretty quick," Hall said. "I knew he was going to shoot with his right hand and I just got where I was good and kind of made him pay the price."

Vincenzo Joseph joined Hall and Lee with a big win of his own, a 13-5 major decision at 165 pounds over No. 16 Ethan Smith. Joseph's victory helped kickstart a streak in which Penn State earned bonus points in three straight matches with Hall's pin and Aaron Brooks' 15-4 major decision over  #12 Rocky Jordan at 184 pounds.

Penn State also got a win at 133 pounds from Roman Bravo-Young and despite the team victory Sanderson is far from satisfied. 

 "I don't think we wrestled great tonight," Sanderson said. "Our guys who are consistent were consistent and our guys that are inconsistent were inconsistent.

"We need those guys who haven't been consistent to step it up a little bit if we want to compete for a national title. We're right there...we just gotta keep moving forward and stay positive."

125: Brandon Meredeth vs. Malik Heinselman - Meredith fell down 2-0 early before escaping in the first period and tying the bout up 2-2 with an escape at the 1:30 mark in the second period. Heinselman dominated riding time with 1:41 and won by decision 5-3.

133: No. 2 Roman Bravo-Young vs. Jordan Decatur - Bravo-Young and Decatur got off to a slow start heading into the third period with Bravo-Young up 3-0. It was in the third where it picked up as Bravo-Young took over notching seven points to Decatur's four to tie the match at three a piece. Bravo-Young would ultimately win 10-4 by decision. 

141: No. 2 Nick Lee vs. No. 1 Luke Pletcher - In a battle of No. 1 vs. No. 2 it was Pletcher who got started on the right foot gaining two early points with Lee getting one. Pletcher would start the second with an escape point before Lee would score a two-point takedown to not only tie it up but begin to take the momentum. Lee would enter the third up 4-3 and quickly escaping to move to 5-3 before notching another takedown later in the period to move to 7-3. 

Lee would give Pletcher his first loss of the season with an 8-4 victory by decision. 

149: No. 17 Jarod Verkleeren vs. No. 1 Sammy Sasso - Verkleeran would take Sasso into sudden victory before the No. 1 Sasso would ultimately take down Verkleeran to win the bout 3-1. It was a strong showing against the top wrestler at 149 for Verkleeran who will be able to use that experience heading into tournament play.

157: Brady Berge vs. Quinn Kinner - Brady Berge returned to the mat for the first time in 2020, notching a first period take down of Kinner. Kinner would escape later in the first to cut the lead in half. Berge escaped to start the second period but that would be it as Kinner took over in the third to earn the 4-3 decision.

165: No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph vs. No. 16 Ethan Smith - Joseph fell down 2-0 early before getting on the board with an escape nearly midway through the first. The senior grappler would notch a takedown with under a minute left in the period to go up 3-2 before Smith would notch an escape to enter the second tied at three. 

Joseph started the second with an escape and followed it up with a takedown with 30 seconds left in the period to take a 6-3 lead into the third period. It would continue to be all Joseph in the third as he earned two near fall points late in the period that warranted a coach's challenge by Ohio State. 

Smith would earn two escape points in the third period as Joseph would be victorious by with a 13-5 major decision.

174: No. 2 Mark Hall vs. No. 7 Kaleb Romero - It took all of 46 seconds for Mark Hall to pin Romero and earn the fall. Hall's pin gave Penn State a 16-9 lead entering the final three matches of the night. It was his ninth pin of the season and became his fastest as well. 

184: No. 6 Aaron Brooks vs. No. 12 Rocky Jordan - It was Brooks early and often as the freshman jumped out to a 4-1 lead before ultimately finishing the period up 6-2. Brooks dominated the second and third periods earning eight more points as well as dominating the riding time battle with 3:02 to come out on top with a 15-4 major decision. 

The win gave Penn State a 20-9 lead.

197: No. 17 Shakur Rasheed vs. No. 1 Kollin Moore -- Moore jumped out to an early 2-0 lead before Rasheed notched an escape point to cut the lead in half. The No.1 ranked Moore would earn two points while Rasheed would earn another escape point to enter the second period down 4-2. 

Moore would earn three more points in the second to carry a 7-3 lead into the third period over Rasheed. Rasheed failed to get much offense going against Moore falling 14-6 in a major decision.

285: No. 15 Seth Nevills vs. Gary Traub -- It wasn't until the second period where the action picked up with Nevills earning an escape point to start. The freshman followed it up with a two point take down a little over halfway through the period.

Despite a 4-3 lead with under a minute left, Traub would takedown Nevills to earn the 5-4 decision. 

Penn State will finish their dual season against American next weekend, where they will honor the seniors on Senior Day. 

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