Sophomore All-American Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), ranked No. 2 at 125, pinned No. 5 Jesse Delgado to get Penn State off to a fast start. The Lion used a third period scramble to get the fall at the 6:45 mark. Red-shirt freshman Jordan Conaway (Abbottstown, Pa.) picked up yet another win over a top-ten opponent, rolling to a convincing 8-6 victory over No. 8 Daryl Thomas at 133. Senior Bryan Pearsall (Lititz, Pa.) then posted a 2-0 win over Steven Gonzales at 141 and the Nittany Lions led 12-0 early.
Sophomore Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), ranked No. 8 at 149, then posted a 6-3 win over Caleb Ervin. Brother Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), 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.
All-American David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), 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 shutout going. Sophomore Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), ranked No. 4 at 174, posted a 6-4 win over No. 8 Jordan Blanton at 174. All-American Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), ranked No. 1 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 0:47 mark.
Senior All-American Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.), ranked 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 (Tom's River, N.J.) secured the road shutout with a strong 9-4 win over Chris Lopez, posting the final dual score at 37-0.
The Nittany Lions improve to 9-1 on the year, 6-1 in the Big Ten. Illinois falls to 6-4, 2-4 in Big Ten action. Penn State, in addition to winning all ten bouts, tallied seven bonus points off Ruth and Megaludis' pin and Dylan Alton's major. Penn State also won the takedown battle 20-4. The shut out is Penn State's third in Big Ten action this year and its first road shut out of a Big Ten foe since blanking Wisconsin 43-0 in Madison last year on Jan. 15, 2012. The victory is Penn State's first ever at Illinois.
Penn State continues its four-dual road trip at Pittsburgh on Friday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. The Lions then visit Ohio State on Sunday, Feb. 10, at 4 p.m. Penn State's only remaining dual meet is Sunday, Feb. 17, when Rider visits Rec Hall. The dual is sold out but a limited number of SRO tickets may be available. For availability, fans can call 1-800-NITTANY or visit the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office windows from 10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Fans are encouraged to follow Penn State wrestling via twitter at www.twitter.com/pennstateWREST and on Penn State Wrestling's facebook page at www.facebook.com/pennstatewrestling. The 2012-13 Penn State Wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline.
125: #2 Nico Megaludis PSU pinned #5 Jesse Delgado ILL, WBF (6:45) 6-0
133: Jordan Conaway PSU dec. #8 Daryl Thomas ILL, 8-6 9-0
141: Bryan Pearsall PSU dec. Steven Rodgrigues ILL, 2-0 12-0
149: #8 Andrew Alton PSU dec. Caleb Ervin ILL, 6-3 15-0
157: #6 Dylan Alton PSU maj. dec. Matt Nora ILL, 14-6 19-0
165: #2 David Taylor PSU dec. #8 Conrad Polz ILL, 14-7 22-0
174: #4 Matt Brown PSU dec. #8 Jordan Blanton ILL, 6-4 25-0
184: #1 Ed Ruth PSU pinned #20 Tony Dallago ILL, WBF (0:47) 31-0
197: #3 Quentin Wright PSU dec. #13 Mario Gonzalez ILL, 4-2 34-0
285: Jimmy Lawson PSU dec. Chris Lopez ILL, 9-4 37-0
Records: Penn State 9-1, 6-1 Big Ten; Illinois 6-4, 2-4 Big Ten
Up Next for Penn State: At #16 Pittsburgh, Friday, Feb. 8, 7 p.m.
125: All-American Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), ranked No. 2 at 125, took on No. 5 Jesse Delgado in a rematch of the NWCA All-Star Classic exhibition match, wrestled this past November (won in tight fashion by Megaludis, 3-2). The highly ranked duo traded early shots with neither wrestler finding an opening at the bout's start. Delgado connected on a single leg at the 1:00 mark, gaining control of Megaludis on the edge of the mat for a takedown and a 2-0 lead. The Lion sophomore was not able to escape and a Delgado ride out gave the Illini the lead heading into the second. Delgado chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 3-0 lead. Megaludis worked for his first takedown but Delgado was able to fight off the Lion's shots through the bulk of the second period. Trailing 3-0, Megaludis chose down to start the third period. He quickly escaped and began pressing Delgado towards the outside circle. Delgado got hit with a first stall warning at the 1:00 mark and Megaludis gained control of his ankle. But the Illini was able to work out of bounds and force a reset. Megaludis picked up a stall point at :40, cutting the lead to 3-2, and continued to press. The Lion sophomore forced a scramble that allowed him to work into control of Delgado's waist. He shifted his hips and forced the Illini's shoulders to the mat, getting the pin at the 6:45 mark.
133: Red-shirt freshman Jordan Conaway (Abbottstown, Pa.) took on Illinois senior Daryl Thomas, who was ranked No. 8 at 133. After the tandem worked through the first minute plus, Conaway drew first blood with a counter takedown at the 1:28 mark, taking a 2-0 lead early. Thomas escaped at the :46 mark and action resumed in the center circle. Conaway nearly connected on a second takedown late in the period but Thomas fought off the move. Leading 2-1, Conaway chose down to start the second period. A quick escaped gave the Lion a 3-1 lead. Conaway countered a high Thomas shot, using a duck under for a single leg to takedown and a 5-1 lead with :35 left in the period. A Conaway ride out gave the Lion a 5-1 lead with 1:18 riding time after two periods. Thomas chose down to start the final period but Conaway once again proved to be strong on top. The Lion freshman clinched the riding time point before escaping. He then cut Conaway loose and took him down again, but a Conaway escape gave the Lion a 7-6 lead. The Lion freshman was able to fight off Thomas' final shot and, with the bonus point, picked up the 8-6 win over the eighth-ranked Illini.
141: Senior Bryan Pearsall (Lititz, Pa.) met Illini freshman Steven Rodgrigues at 141. The duo battled through a scoreless first period, with neither wrestler finding an opening. Pearsall chose down to start the second stanza and quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead. Continuing to work the shoulders, Pearsall and Rodrigues worked the center of the mat with the Lion fighting off two shots to hold his 1-0 lead at period's end. Rodrigues chose down to start the third period but Pearsall was able to break the Illini down, nearly finishing off a cradle in the process. The Nittany Lion senior maintained control for the entire period, nearly turning him to his back in the process. While not getting back points, the ride out gave Pearsall a bonus point and a 2-0 win, putting Penn State up 12-0.
149: Sophomore Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), ranked No. 8 at 149, battled Caleb Ervin. Alton quickly took Ervin down, gaining control of his shoulders for a 2-0 lead just seconds into the bout. The duo scrambled in the center of the mat, with Alton fighting off a reversal and maintaining control. Ervin escaped at the 1:15 mark, and Alton quickly worked in on his shoulders once again, working the Illini to the mat for another takedown and a 4-1 lead. Ervin escaped and Alton shot low once again, but the clock wound down and Alton led 4-2 after the opening period. Alton chose down to start the second stanza but Ervin was able to control the Lion long enough to work of Alton's riding time edge. Alton worked his way to a last second reversal and led 6-2 after two periods. Ervin chose down to start the final stanza and steadily worked his way to an escape and a 6-3 deficit. With riding time not a factor, Ervin shot low on Alton, forcing a scramble that Alton eventually fought off. Alton got in on a single leg after a reset with :30 on the clock. The move forced a scramble that killed the clock and Alton posted the 6-3 win.
157: Sophomore All-American Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), ranked No. 5 at 157, faced off against Illini freshman Matt Nora. Alton quickly gained control of Nora's shoulders and nearly turned him to his back for a five point move. But the takedown alone gave Alton an early 2-0 lead. Nora escaped to a 2-1 score and action returned to the center circle. Alton quickly took Nora down again and cut him loose to a 4-2 score with 1:30 on the clock. Trailing 4-2, Nora chose down to start the second period and worked his way to an escape, but not before Alton built up 1:32 in riding time. Leading by one, Alton chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 5-3 lead. The Lion sophomore then upped his offensive pressure, forcing Nora towards the edge of the mat. He countered a low Nora shot and took the Illini down on the edge of the mat with 1:20 left, taking 7-3 lead. He then cut him loose and began working for another takedown. He went on to add three more takedowns. He finished the bout off with a ride out and, with 2:03 riding time, posted the 14-6 major.
165: Two-time All-American David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), ranked No. 2 at 165, took to the mat against No. 8 Conrad Polz. Taylor scored quickly, forcing Polz' head to the mat, allowing him a clear shot at a low single and a takedown. Leading 2-0, Taylor then put together a strong ride, building up well over a minute's worth of riding time. Polz escaped, only to get taken down again by Taylor and this time the Lion rode him out to lead 4-1 after one period. Polz chose down to start the second stanza and escaped to a 4-2 deficit. Polz took a shot that Taylor countered at the :35 mark and the Nittany Lion led 6-2 late in the second. Another Taylor ride out gave the Lion a 6-2 lead with 2:37 riding time after two periods. Taylor chose down to start the final period, quickly escaped and then stepped right in for a fourth takedown and a 9-2 lead. With the riding time point clinched, Taylor then turned Polz to his back for three near fall points and a 12-2 lead. Taylor continued to control the action from the top. Polz was able to reverse Taylor and pick up three late back points. The late flurry was enough to keep Taylor from getting bonus points but 4:14 in riding time gave Taylor a 14-7 win.
174: Sophomore Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), ranked No. 4 at 174, met No. 8 Jordan Blanton of Illinois. Brown scored first, getting a takedown just under a minute into the bout to lead 2-1 after a Blanton escape. The Lion sophomore continued to set the tempo offensively, gaining control of Blanton in the center circle. Blanton countered the move and forced a stalemate with 1:00 left in the opening period. Brown used a strong high double to work his way into control of Blanton, picking up a late takedown and potential near fall points. With the nearfall not being called, the Penn State bench challenged the call, but to no avail. Trailing 4-1, Blanton chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 4-2 score. Neither wrestler found a way to score for the rest of the period and Brown rode that score into the third. The Lion chose down to start the third and quickly escaped to a 5-2 lead. He then gained control of Blanton and forced a scramble in the middle of the mat, but a stalemate was called at the 1:05 mark. Blanton used a single leg to work towards his first takedown, cutting Brown loose to a 6-4 Lion lead with :30 on the clock. With riding time not a factor, Brown rolled to the 6-4 win over the ranked Illini.
184: Two-time All-American Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 184, battled No. 20 Tony Dallago. Ruth wasted no time taking Dallago down, working his way to a 2-0 lead just :15 into the bout. The Lion junior then completed a cradle and eventually stuck the ranked Illini for the pin at the 0:47 mark.
197: Three-time All-American Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.), ranked No. 3 at 197, wrestled No. 13 Mario Gonzalez. Wright used an early opening to slide down to a low double and a 2-0 lead with a takedown at the 1:00 mark. Gonzalez escaped and action resumed in the center circle. Wright and Gonzalez then battled through the rest of the period without any more scoring and Wright led by one after one. Gonzalez chose down to start the second period but could not break free of a dominating Wright ride. He escaped to a 2-2 tie but not until Wright had built his riding time edge to 1:49. Wright chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 3-2 lead. Wright shot through a high single, working Gonzalez to the mat and forcing a scramble that nearly ended in a Wright pin. But Gonzalez countered and almost notched a takedown before action moved out of bounds. Wright carried the one point lead and, with the riding time point, posted the 4-2 win.
285: Sophomore Jimmy Lawson (Tom's River, N.J.) got the nod at 285 and met Illinois freshman Chris Lopez. Lawson wasted no time, blowing through a high shot at Lopez and getting a takedown early. He then added two back points before Lopez escaped to a 4-1 score with 1:45 on the clock. Lawson fought off a Lopez shot at the :30 mark and rode the 4-1 lead into the second period. Lopez chose down to start the second stanza but was not able to break free of Lawson until the :45 mark. The escape cut the Lawson lead to 4-2, but the Lion had 1:38 in riding time. Lawson chose down to start the third period and quickly worked his way to a reversal and a 6-2 lead. Lopez escaped at the 1:08 mark but Lawson had the riding time point clinched. Lopez dove low at a double leg with :40 on the clock, but Lawson forced a stalemate and action resumed in the center circle. The Lion sophomore finished on top, working through another high double for a takedown. Lopez added an escape, but with the riding time point Lawson posted a 9-4 win, securing the 37-0 road shutout.