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For Penn State's most highly anticipated home dual meet of the season, more than 6,500 fans crammed into Rec Hall to see the Nittany Lions rally past visiting Oklahoma State for the 23-12 nonconference victory Sunday afternoon.
From the first match -- a come-from-behind 11-7 win from Nico Megaludis at 125 pounds -- to the last, the sold-out, standing-room-only crowd was loud and involved in the clash of two college wrestling titans. Despite the loss, one Oklahoma State wrestler said he "loved" the "packed house", while Penn State head coach Cael Sanderson said the Penn State fans continue to provide a boost for his team.
"If you go out there and fight and swing, they're going to support you," Sanderson said. "Our guys have had to go out and earn that, but our crowd is getting better and better."
The audience -- with football coach James Franklin in attendance -- seemed like it helped on Sunday. Including Megaludis' opening victory, Penn State won 6 of the 10 bouts, including two major decisions and a fall. Despite allowing the first takedown during the 125-, 133-, 149-, and 174-pound bouts, Penn State won the overall takedown battle 20-7.
Best Performance - Ed Ruth tried not once, not twice, not three times, not even four times, but on his fifth attempt at a cradle in the third period, the senior 184-pounder turned Nolan Boyd for a fall in 5:41.
197-pound Morgan McIntosh deserves an honorable mention nod here for his 16-2 major decision, as well as heavyweight Jon Gingrich, who tallied a 14-5 major, but both McIntosh and Gingrich drew Oklahoma State's back up wrestlers. Ruth, meanwhile, was honored with the Ridge Riley Award for the dual meet's most outstanding wrestler.
Most Anticipated Match - Any time you have a rematch of the pervious year's NCAA final, it's going to draw some eyeballs. And that's what the sold-out crowd got Sunday when defending national champ Chris Perry drew Penn State's Matt Brown at 174 pounds.
Brown began as the aggressor, nearly beginning the match with a takedown, but Perry scrambled and he was the one who scored the bout's first points. Although Brown quickly escaped, he was unable to score a takedown throughout the entire match. Despite tying the match 3-3, with another escape and a stalling point, Brown fell to Perry in double overtime, 4-3.
"I think it was a very similar match to the matches that they've had in the past," Sanderson said. "This time Matt came out an tried to score right away and got in a long scramble and gave up the takedown at the edge of that match. That was the only difference."
Best Move - His sixth attempt at the cradle might have been the best -- and only -- pinning combination of the night, but his reversal, which put him in position to score the fall, gets the nod for the match's best move.
After choosing down to start the period, Ruth hit a jaw-dropping granby roll/flip to reverse Boyd's control. Once Ruth turned into face his opponent, he was able to lock up the cradle and turn Boyd for the third-period fall.
Did you notice? During the 157-pound bout, the officials stopped action multiple times for Dylan Alton's bloody nose. Despite winning 6-4, Oklahoma State's Alex Dieringer said the stoppages interrupted his desired pace of the match.
"I know in the past that (Alton) has gotten tired quite a lot," Dieringer said. "Although blood time slowed the pace down a little a bit, I wish that didn't happen. But I just know that if I keep up the pace up then I'll get to my shots a little easier."
Dieringer continued, "I was going forward on his head. I could feel him getting tired, then overtime the break (for blood time) would happen it would stop the action, so it would suck a little bit."
No. 1 Penn State 23, No. 3 Oklahoma State 12
February 16, 2014 - Rec Hall - University Park, Pa.
125: No. 2 Nico Megaludis PSU dec. No. 18 Eddie Klimara OKST, 11-7 3-0
133: No. 5 Jon Morrison OKST dec. No. 14 Jimmy Gulibon PSU, 2-0 3-3
141: No. 3 Zain Retherford PSU dec. No. 17 Anthony Collica OKST, 2-0 6-3
149: No. 8 Josh Kindig OKST dec. No. 18 Zack Beitz PSU, 5-3 6-6
157: No. 2 Alex Dieringer OKST dec. No. 12 Dylan Alton PSU, 6-4 6-9
165: No. 1 David Taylor PSU dec. No. 2 Tyler Caldwell OKST, 5-2 9-9
174: No. 2 Chris Perry OKST dec. (TB2) No. 3 Matt Brown PSU, 4-3 (TB2) 9-12
184: No. 1 Ed Ruth PSU pinned Nolan Boyd OKST, WBF (5:41) 15-12
197: No. 4 Morgan McIntosh PSU maj. dec. Kyle Crutchmer OKST, 16-2 19-12
285: Jon Gingrich PSU maj. dec. Ethan Driver OKST, 14-5 23-12
Attendance: 6,571 (18th straight home sell out)
Records: Penn State 14-1, 7-1 B1G; Oklahoma State 9-5
Up Next for Penn State: Home vs. Clarion, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2 p.m.
Rankings from FloWrestling.com