Penn State wrestlers win the 4 close bouts and shut down Michigan, 25-12
Vincenzo Joseph, who defeated Michigan’s Logan Massa 12-3 Friday night in Ann Arbor, is shown celebrating an NCAA semifinals victory in St. Louis last March. (Penn State photo/Mark Selders)
It’s not easy winning 36 straight dual meets and No. 7 Michigan made sure the Penn State wrestling team’s 37th wasn’t gift-wrapped Friday night in Ann Arbor.
The Lions’ 25-12 victory in the school’s spacious Crisler Arena featured close bouts, a bit of pushing and shoving, an instant replay move from last season’s NCAA Tournament and showcased Penn State’s ability to win big bouts in a tough setting and a late (9 p.m.) time slot).
“That was a great squad out there and we’d knew we’d have our hands full coming into it,” said assistant head coach Cody Sanderson on the Penn State Sports Network. “Sometimes it’s not going to be pretty. It’s good to know you can still win those close matches.”
There were four of those and the Lions (6-0, 2-0) batted 1.000. One of those included the debut of freshman Nick Lee at 141; Lee defeated Sal Profaci 9-5 after starting out fast and tailing off a little at the end.
NCAA champs Jason Nolf, Mark Hall and Bo Nickal also delivered tight wins against high-quality competition.
Michigan(5-2, 2-1) got on the board right away at 125 when Drew Mattin majored Penn State’s Devin Schnupp 8-1. Schnupp needed a late escape to avoid the major but Mattin rolled up more than 3 minutes of riding time.
Jeff Byers on the Penn State Sports Network said that Boise State transfer Carson Kuhn made the trip to get accustomed to how Penn State typically travels, but he’s not yet certified at 125 pounds and will not wrestle this weekend.
Michigan fully expected to win the first two bouts and did so when sixth-ranked Stevan Micic clipped Corey Keener at 133 by a 10-1 count to stake the Wolverines to an 8-0 lead. Keener was never in the bout against the Junior World bronze medalist and three-time Indiana state champion.
Lee’s redshirt was pulled and he replaced injured Jered Cortez at 141. The talented freshman faced unranked sophomore Sal Profaci in his first time in a Penn State singlet and made the most of it with a 9-5 victory. He scored three first-period takedowns before letting Profaci back in the match late. But a reversal with nine seconds left sealed it for Lee.
Michigan needed a win at 141 to have a puncher’s chance heading into Penn State’s string of five straight NCAA champs in the lineup. But with Lee’s win and Zain Retherford’s fall in 6:31 over Malik Amine at 149, the Nittany Lions took a 9-8 lead that they would not relinquish.
Two of Retherford’s seven first-period points came when Amine kept stiff-arming him in the face. The match was stopped to attend to an Amine knee injury, and when Retherford later hooked up a bow-and-arrow in an effort to turn Amine and had the match stopped for a potentially dangerous call, Amine got up and shoved Retherford and gave up two more penalty points.
That proved unwise for Amine as Retherford was able to hook up a turk, control Amine’s hips, crank him to his back and get a hand under the chin to secure the fall. Retherford (15-0) has won 78 straight bouts.
“He (Zain) was tired of getting hit in the face by that kid,” Cody Sanderson said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that many penalty points before. I asked Zain what he was gonna do during a little break and he said. ‘I’m just gonna pin him.”’
Nolf also upped his record to 15-0 but it was far from an easy task against No. 5 Alec Pantaleo. The Michigan junior got to Nolf for two second-period takedowns, including one when he shrugged off a Nolf outside single-leg and got behind him to tie the bout. But Nolf rode Pantaleo the entire third period for a tough 6-4 victory.
“People always see a dynamic Nolf out there but when he needs to ride, he can do it,” Sanderson said. “He can do great things.”
Michigan’s Logan Massa returned from a knee injury to challenge Penn State’s Vincenzo Joseph at 165 and try to avenge his NCAA semifinals loss last March. Instead, Joseph notched two impressive takedowns early with a single to a double and an underhook on which he let go and slid down for a simple double-leg tackle.
But Joseph saved his best move for the last period when he pulled a repeat performance of the inside trip takedown he used against Massa in the NCAAs. This time, Joseph trapped Massa on his back after the pure power move and recorded a 12-3 major decision.
“My shots were feeling good,” Joseph said after the match. “I wanted to get a few leg attacks. And I wanted to force him into a situation where he might make a mistake and if I get in that position I’m probably gonna win it. I feel real comfortable there.”
Hall, like Nolf, also survived a challenge, this against Miles Amine at 174. Hall wasn’t in jeopardy of losing because he had accumulated riding time; Amine’s takedown with three seconds left tied the bout at 5 but Hall prevailed 6-5.
The close bouts kept coming when Michigan’s Domenic Abounader went after Penn State’s Bo Nickal and nearly took him down twice late in the bout. One was stopped for a potentially dangerous call and other was foiled when Nickal rolled through and came out the back for a takedown of his own and a 5-2 victory. But Abounader clearly was the aggressor most of the way through.
“Bo just got tough and found a way to win,” Sanderson said. “I don’t think we wrestled that great. I don’t think Bo looked great, but he just got tough. Most guys would have given that takedown up but he got the takedown himself.”
Shakur Rasheed continued his impressive run at 197 with a 7-1 win over Kevin Beazley; a second-period, nearside cradle enabled Rasheed to pull away.
The big men ended the night and No. 2 Adam Coon of Michigan easily got the best of No. 8 Nick Nevills, 8-0. A first-period, four-point move got Coon off to a good start.
“For us to come in here with a 25-12 win in that situation and how they adjusted and how they got the job done, that’s huge,” Sanderson said.
PENN STATE 25, MICHIGAN 12
125: Drew Mattin, M md Devin Schnupp 8-0.
133: Stevan Micic, M md Corey Keener 10-1.
141: Nick Lee, PS d Sal Profaci 9-5.
149: Zain Retherford, PS p Malik Amine 6:31.
157: Jason Nolf, PS d Alec Pantaleo 6-4.
165: Vincenzo Joseph, PS md Logan Massa 12-3.
174: Mark Hall, PS d Miles Amine 6-5.
184: Bo Nickal, PS d Dominic Abounader 5-2.
197: Shakur Rasheed, PS d Kevin Beazley. 7-1
285: Adam Coon, M md Nick Nevills 8-0.