Nittany Lion wrestlers blank Illini on the road

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Penn State rebounded from its loss at Iowa on Friday by posting a Big Ten shutout over No. 8 Illinois, 37-0, the Nittany Lions’ third Big Ten shutout of the year.

Sophomore All-American Nico Megaludis, ranked No. 2 at 125, pinned No. 5 Jesse Delgado to get Penn State off to a fast start. The Nittany Lion grappler used a third-period scramble to get the fall at the 6:45 mark. Red-shirt freshman Jordan Conaway then picked up another win over a top-ten opponent, rolling to a convincing 8-6 victory over No. 8 Daryl Thomas at 133.

Senior Bryan Pearsall posted a 2-0 win over Steven Gonzales at 141 and the Nittany Lions led 12-0 early.

Sophomore Andrew Alton, ranked No. 8 at 149, then posted a 6-3 win over Caleb Ervin. Brother Dylan Alton, ranked No. 5 at 157, then blistered Illini Matt Nora with four third-period takedowns to roll to a 14-6 major decision, putting the Nittany Lions up 19-0 at the midway point.

Penn State All-American David Taylor, ranked No. 2 at 165, then posted a strong 14-7 win over No. 8 Conrad Polz to keep the Lion hopes of a road shut-out going. Sophomore Matt Brown, ranked No. 4 at 174, posted a 6-4 win over No. 8 Jordan Blanton. All-American Ed Ruth, the top-ranked wrestler at 184, remained undefeated with a blistering pin of No. 20 Tony Dallago, getting the fall less than a minute into the bout with a cradle at the 47-second mark.

Senior All-American Quentin Wright, No. 3 at 197, also stayed unbeaten, posting a tough 4-2 win over No. 13 Mario Gonzalez to put Penn State up 34-0 heading into the final bout. At 285, sophomore Jimmy Lawson secured the shutout with a 9-4 win over Chris Lopez.

The Nittany Lions improve to 9-1 on the year, 6-1 in the Big Ten. Penn State, in addition to winning all ten bouts, tallied seven bonus points off Ruth and Megaludis’ pin and Dylan Alton’s major and won the takedown battle 20-4. The victory is Penn State’s first ever at Illinois.

Penn State continues its four-dual road trip at Pittsburgh on Friday.