Penn State wrestling con­tin­ues to make history in Big Ten opener

Centre Daily Times - - Front Page - BY NATE COBLER [email protected]­

For the past seven years, Penn State has con­tin­ued to break records and hit un­prece­dented mile­stones — and Fri­day night was no dif­fer­ent.

The Nit­tany Lions won their 50th con­sec­u­tive dual — with­out Vin­cenzo Joseph — in a 33-8 vic­tory over North­west­ern in Evanston, Ill. It’s not known why Joseph made the trip but didn’t wres­tle.

In ad­di­tion to the streak, red­shirt se­nior Ja­son Nolf earned ca­reer win No. 100 in typ­i­cal Nolf fash­ion (with bonus points). And, for the first time since last sea­son’s dual against Ohio State, Penn State dropped two bouts in the same dual.

“I think ev­ery Big Ten team will come to wres­tle,” head as­sis­tant coach Casey Cun­ning­ham told the Penn State Sports Net­work. “I don’t think there is an off week­end when you’re wrestling in the Big Ten. They (North­west­ern) came to fight. Our guys re­sponded, and it was a fun night.”

The eight points that the Wild­cats scored against Penn State are the most the Nit­tany Lions have al­lowed this sea­son. Penn State has outscored its op­po­nents 210-17.

Penn State also won the take­down ad­van­tage, 51-7. It now has a 220-17 take­down ad­van­tage in five duals.

The Nit­tany Lions dropped the first bout of the night at 125 pounds. North­west­ern’s Se­bas­tian Rivera, who be­came the No. 1ranked wrestler in the weight class, earned an 18-2 tech­ni­cal fall over Devin Sch­nupp in 2:53.

AFter Ro­man BravoYoung’s 15-9 de­ci­sion at 133 pounds, Nick Lee had seven take­downs in his 16-6 ma­jor de­ci­sion at 141 pounds. Penn State gained the lead for the first time on the night at 7-5.

Brady Berge got the start at 149 pounds for the Nit­tany Lions. He rat­tled off a team-high nine take­downs — five alone in the first pe­riod. The red­shirt fresh­man won 19-7.

“The kid is one of the hard­est-work­ing kids we have,” Cun­ning­ham said of Berge. “One of the most dis­ci­plined. He put in more time last year dur­ing his red­shirt year than any­body. He wants to be good. He is go­ing to keep get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter.”

Nolf got a lit­tle late birth­day gift. He turned 23 on Thurs­day, the same day his wife, Nolf, was drafted into the Na­tional Women’s Soc­cer League.

Nolf, too, amassed five first-pe­riod take­downs on No. 3 Ryan Deakin at 157 pounds. He had three more take­downs in the se­cond pe­riod and led 16-7. In the third pe­riod, Deakin handed Nolf two stall points and an in­ter­lock­ing penalty point for the 19-7 fi­nal score and Nolf’s his­toric win.

What’s even more as­tound­ing: 91 of Nolf’s 100 vic­to­ries have come with bonus points.

“Nolf is, like we’ve said a bunch of times, special,” Cun­ning­ham said. “He’s one of those special guys. You don’t see too many of those guys come around in our ca­reers.”

Bo Pipher filled in for the miss­ing Joseph at 165 pounds. He trailed 9-4 at the start of the third pe­riod against Tyler Mor­land, and got to 11-9 with 29 sec­onds to go. He was un­able to get the ty­ing take­down, but the Nit­tany Lions still led 15-8.

Mark Hall earned a 10-4 win at 174 pounds with Penn State earn­ing bonus points the rest of the way.

Shakur Rasheed earned an 18-2 se­cond-pe­riod tech­ni­cal fall in 3:59. Bo Nickal picked up his team lead­ing 10th pin in 6:12 as the Nit­tany Lions led 29-8.

An­thony Cas­sar fin­ished the dual off with sev­eral dou­ble-leg take­downs on No. 19 Co­nan Jen­nings in a 12-2 ma­jor de­ci­sion. On the first points of the bout, Cas­sar picked Jen­nings — who had a 50-pound ad­van­tage — clear off the mat and back down.

Penn State trav­els home for a dual against Wis­con­sin on 1 p.m. Sun­day in Rec Hall. It is un­clear if Joseph will take part in the dual. How­ever, Cun­ning­ham knows his guys will be ready for the quick turn­around.

“Wis­con­sin is a tough team. They got a lot of fire,” Cun­ning­ham said. “The guys (Wis­con­sin) are go­ing to come in and fight hard. I think our guys get ex­cited about that. We want guys that want to come fight us and score points.”

Fol­low Nate Cobler on Twit­ter for sea­son-long Penn State wrestling up­dates

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