No. 1 Penn State (5-0) sat two of its top-five ranked starters and still rolled to a 41-0 win over Big Ten foe Michigan State (4-6) Sunday afternoon for its second shutout of the season.
In front of 6,353 Rec Hall fans, sophomore 125-pounder Nico Megaludis got things rolling with a 19-6 major decision over Brenan Lyon. His teammates followed the lead with nine consecutive victories, including Jon Gingrich's upset over No. 4 Michael McClure at heavyweight. McClure and 157-pound David Cheza, ranked No. 19, were the only nationally ranked Spartan wrestlers on the squad. Cheza fell to Nittany Lion James Vollrath, 6-4.
In all, Penn State scored 33 takedowns to Michigan State's one and tallied two pin falls, three major decisions, and a technical fall.
Best Performance - No. 3 Matt Brown exploded out of the gates in the first period, racking up five takedowns in the first three minutes. Facing Michigan State's Jordan Wohlfert at 174, Brown scored four more takedowns, three near-fall points and an escape before sealing the 23-7 technical fall. The win came 6:17 into the bout.
Afterward coach Cael Sanderson said the results of the match were reflective upon what Brown has been working on at practice.
"He's just trying to get out there and score quicker, instead of pulling guys down and hand-fighting with them," Sanderson said. "He's very good at that, but he doesn't need to wear kids out before he scores points. He can go out and score points right away. I think Coach [Casey] Cunningham has been working with him a lot with just going out and scoring points. And [Brown] has been trying to put a lot of time into getting better on top, and you can see that. I think that got him in trouble at the [Southern] Scuffle, but I think it was in the name of progress. So we're happy."
Most Anticipated Match - Vollrath, who is wrestling in place of Dylan Alton until his one-month suspension expires, drew Michigan State's 19th-ranked Cheza at 157 pounds.
Vollrath already had proved at the Southern Scuffle (Jan. 1-2) that he's capable of beating nationally ranked wrestlers, but he reassured that fact Sunday against Cheza. But heading into the third period, Vollrath trailed by one.
"I just had to regroup myself," he said. "I knew in the last 30 or 20 seconds that I would need one good shot. So I went to the hi-crotch sweep, and I made sure I finished, scored and got two for the takedown."
His takedown came with less than 15 seconds remaining in the bout.
Biggest Surprise - Deja vu? You can call it that. The last time Gingrich started a dual meet in Rec Hall, he had a very similar prelude. His teammates had won nine straight, and it was up to him - the heavyweight - to cap the shutout. During both dual meets, however, his opponent happened to be the other teams' highest ranked wrestler.
This time, facing the fourth-ranked McClure, Gingrich landed a third-period takedown. It more so resembled a form tackle rather than a double-leg, but it worked to perfection. He drove McClure to the mat and directly to his back, picking up two-near fall points and a 5-1 lead.
McClure quickly escaped. Then Gingrich was hit for his second stall warning of the match, which awarded a penalty point to McClure and tightened the score, 5-3. But McClure couldn't do any more, as Gingrich held on for the win.
"I need to keep myself from getting for hit for stalling," Gingrich said. "The refs are going to hit me for stalling if I'm not shooting. Even though I am working, they need to see the offense. So I need to work on that still."
Did you notice? - During pre-match introductions, Gingrich was the only heavyweight announced? Afterward it was revealed that Gingrich beat teammate Jimmy Lawson in a third wrestle-off on Friday. Gingrich won by two points.
"It was a takedown match - a lot of heavyweight matches are like that," Gingrich said. "It was pretty cool. We made it similar to a dual meet. We set up the big mat out in the gym, had the lights off, dimmed down. [Coach Sanderson] wanted to try and make it like a real match, so we both get the same feeling."
125: No. 2 Nico Megaludis PSU maj. dec. Brenan Lyon MSU, 19-6 4-0
133: Jordan Conaway PSU dec. Brandon Fifield MSU, 7-2 7-0
141: Bryan Pearsall PSU maj. dec. Nick Trimble MSU, 10-2 11-0
149: James English PSU dec. Dan Osterman MSU, 6-0 14-0
157: James Vollrath PSU dec. No. 19 David Cheza MSU, 6-4 17-0
165: No. 2 David Taylor PSU pinned Nick Proctor MSU, WBF (1:37) 23-0
174: No. 3 Matt Brown PSU tech fall Jordan Wohlfert MSU, 22-7 (TF; 6:17) 28-0
184: No. 1 Ed Ruth PSU pinned John Rizqallah MSU, WBF (1:37) 34-0
197: No. 3 Quentin Wright PSU maj. dec. Luke Jones MSU, 13-4 38-0
285: Jon Gingrich PSU dec. No. 4 Michael McClure MSU, 5-3 41-0
Records: Penn State 5-0, 2-0 Big Ten; Michigan State 4-6, 0-3 Big Ten
Up Next for Penn State: Home vs. Wisconsin, Friday, Jan. 18, 7 p.m. - Rec Hall