Penn State dominates Michigan; clinches share of Big Ten title
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The top-ranked Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team handled No. 11 Michigan 32-9 in a Super Bowl Sunday showdown live on the Big Ten Network Sunday, in a battle between the conference’s final two unbeaten teams. By virtue of the win, Penn State clinched at least a share of the 2014 Big Ten regular season title, riding three straight technical falls to a lop-sided win. Coach Cael Sanderson’s crew won eight of 10 bouts in the victory.
With two-time All-American Nico Megaludis (125) not making the weekend trip due to illness, sophomore Jordan Conaway got the nod and controlled Conor Youtsey for a strong 9-4 win. Jimmy Gulibon then silenced a raucous sell-out crowd with a strong 9-0 major over Rossi Bruno at 133. True freshman Zain Retherford remained unbeaten with a dominating 7-1 win over No. 13 Steve Dutton, rolling up 2:20 in riding time in the process and putting Penn State up 10-0
At 149, junior Andrew Alton nearly pulled off an upset of No. 7 Eric Grajales. Alton bolted out to an 8-5 lead and led by two late. But a last second Grajales takedown ended with a Michigan fall at the 6:56 mark. But All-American Dylan Alton responded in fine fashion with a thrilling 3-1 (SV2) decision over No. 14 Brian Murphy, sending Penn State into halftime with a 13-6 lead.
After intermission, three-time All-American David Taylor, ranked No. 1 at 165, posted yet another impressive win over a top-10 opponent, rolling through No. 6 Dan Yates on his way to a 17-2 tech fall at the 5:13 mark. All-American Matt Brown posted a tech fall of his own, notching a 21-6 win at the 5:35 mark over UM’s Collin Zeerip. At 184, three-time All-American Ed Ruth made it three straight tech falls, rolling to a 17-2 win over No. 20 Domenic Abounader at the 5:39 mark to put Penn State up 28-6.
Seventh-ranked sophomore Morgan McIntosh continued the bonus point parade at 197, majoring Chris Heald 17-1. Junior Jon Gingrich nearly upset No. 2 Adam Coon, but the Wolverine heavyweight fought off a late Gingrich shot to escape with a 2-1 win.
Penn State won the takedown battle with a 31-5 edge. Taylor improves to 23-0 on the year with 11 pins, seven tech falls and five majors. He his 123-3 all-time, seventh on Penn State’s career wins list. Ruth is now 22-1 on the year with eight pins, eight tech falls and six majors. He is 124-3 on the year, fifth all-time at Penn State. Ruth improves to 31-0 in Big Ten duals and is 53-0 all-time against Big Ten competition.
Retherford remains unbeaten on the year with a 23-0 record, including four pins, two tech falls and seven majors. Dylan Alton is also unbeaten at 15-0 with three pins and a major.
Penn State (13-0, 7-0 Big Ten) continues a three-game Big Ten road swing when Lions trek to Minneapolis Feb. 9.