After their 43-3 blowout win over Clarion Sunday, Penn State seniors David Taylor and Ed Ruth said they could not have asked for a better way to finish their Penn State careers in Rec Hall.
Before the Senior Day dual meet, standing with their family members, eight seniors, including Taylor and Ruth, were honored by a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd. "I started crying, to be honest with you," said a choked-up Taylor.
Ruth, meanwhile, said having his older brother Ed in attendance for his final match (it was the first time he had seen Ruth wrestle at home) "made me happy, too." Once the dual meet got underway they each tallied first-period pins to help lift their Nittany Lions to their 15th and final victory of the season.
"I haven't been that excited to wrestle in a long time," Taylor added. "Being here four years, I've wrestled a lot of big matches and sometimes you don't always get super excited for every match. This time of the year is what l love more than anything. With the postseason coming and this being my last match, I just had so many emotions. Before I knew it, the match was over. There was just no reason to let the guy off his back."
In all, Penn State won nine of the 10 bouts, including four pins and two technical falls.
Best Performance - Cannot give this to anyone else other than Taylor at 165 pounds and Ruth at 184. In their final Rec Hall dual meet, the pair tallied two pins in a combined time of just 76 seconds.
"There are a lot of great wrestlers, but there are not a lot of great wrestlers who are as fun to watch as those two," said head coach Cael Sanderson. "Like anybody else in the stands, I just appreciate the way they compete."
Best Move - With four pins in a row -- Taylor's 11-second fall, Ruth's cradle, Matt Brown's pin during a scramble at 174 and Morgan McIntosh's second-period pin at 197 -- there is no way to select just one move.
With four electrifying consecutive falls, they all get the honor.
"The guys went out here and completely dominated," Ruth said. "That made me happy to see them do that. It was just a good feeling to have everyone dominating."
Biggest Surprise - Heavyweight Jimmy Lawson made his first return to the mat since suffering an injury to his left knee in January, but he fell 7-6 to Clarion freshman Evan Daley to give the Golden Eagles their only win of the afternoon.
"That's not what I wanted to see," Sanderson said. "I don't know what he was doing, but he didn't need to wrestle like that."
Sanderson added, "I think you could obviously see he was bothered by (an injury), but you saw at the end, when he wanted to score points, he had three seconds left and he hit a nice double leg. So you need to decide what you want. Do you want to be hurt or do you want to win?
"(The loss) makes it tough on us now after that so now we have to decide. Is he ready for the conference (tournament) or not? That was not a really good showing."
Did you notice? James English get the starting nod at 149? Sanderson confirmed that English, a sixth-year senior who was also honored before Sunday's match, won a wrestle off earlier in the week vs. Zack Beitz and Andrew Alton. "So he has earned the right to compete," Sanderson said.
No. 1 Penn State 43, Clarion 3
February 23, 2014 - Rec Hall - University Park, Pa.
125: No. 2 Nico Megaludis PSU tech fall Hunter Jones CUP, 21-5 (TF; 5:00) 5-0
133: No. 14 Jimmy Gulibon PSU tech fall Victor Lepari CUP, 16-0 (TF; 3:00) 10-0
141: No. 3 Zain Retherford PSU dec. Tyler Bedelyon CUP, 8-4 13-0
149: James English PSU dec. Justin Arthur CUP, 7-2 16-0
157: No. 12 Dylan Alton PSU dec. Austin Matthews CUP, 12-6 19-0
165: No. 1 David Taylor PSU pinned Michael Pavasko CUP, WBF (0:11) 25-0
174: No. 3 Matt Brown PSU pinned Ryan Darch CUP, WBF (2:50) 31-0
184: No. 1 Ed Ruth PSU pinned Dustin Conti CUP, WBF (1:05) 37-0
197: No. 3 Morgan McIntosh PSU pinned Danny Sutherland CUP, WBF (3:11) 43-0
285: Evan Daley CUP dec. No. 12 Jimmy Lawson PSU, 7-6 43-3
Attendance: 6,483 (19th straight home sell out)
Records: Penn State 15-1, 7-1 B1G; Clarion 9-15
Up Next for Penn State: 2014 Big Ten Wrestling Championships, Madison, Wis., Saturday and Sunday, March 8-9, the Kohl Center
Rankings from FloWrestling.com