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Penn State dominates Kent State in season opener

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- No. 1 Penn State (1-0 0-0 B1G) opened up the 2018-19 season with a rousing 52-3 win over No. 24 Kent State (3-5) in sold out Rec Hall. Penn State rode seven pins in its season opener to victory, including two from Lions making their Rec Hall dual debuts. The win was the 46th-straight dual meet victory for Penn State, dating back to the end of the 2014-15 season.

The dual was wrestled in front of 6,496 fans, Penn State's 42nd straight Rec Hall sell-out. The Nittany Lions have wrestled in front of sell-outs in 46 of its last 48 home events (42 straight in Rec Hall and four of six in the near-16,000 seat Bryce Jordan Center).

Action began at 125 where sophomore Devin Schnupp (Lititz, Pa.) dropped a tough 12-8 decision to Kent State's Jake Ferri. True freshman Roman Bravo-Young (Tucson, Ariz.) made his Penn State debut at 133 and thrilled the Lion faithful with a pin in his collegiate debut. Bravo-Young dominated his first two periods against junior Tim Rooney before picking up the pin early in the third, at the 5:31 mark. Sophomore All-American Nick Lee (Evansville, Ind.), ranked No. 4 at 141, was equally impressive, rolling up 18 points in under two periods and posting an 18-2 technical fall over Kent State's Cory Simpson, getting the tech fall at the 3:44 mark.

Red-shirt freshman Jarod Verkleeren (Greensburg, Pa.) got the call to make his Nittany Lion dual meet debut at 149 and, like Bravo-Young, notched a fall in his first dual in the Blue and White singlet. Verkleeren countered an early throw attempt by KSU's Kody Kamara, lifted the Flash wrestler off his feet and took him to his back for a fast fall at the 1:20 mark. Senior Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 157, continued Penn State's early pin parade. Nolf rolled up five takedowns in the first period before wrapping up a cradle and pinning Kent State's Joe Andrassy at the 2:29 mark. The fall was the 46th of Nolf's career, tying him for fourth all-time at Penn State with Ed Ruth. His fall also gave the Lions a 23-3 lead at intermission.

Junior Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 165, kept Penn State rolling. The Lion junior dominated the first period against Kent State's Isaac Bast and then ended the match early in the second, getting a pin at the 3:40 mark to put Penn State up 29-3. Classmate Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.), ranked No. 2 at 174, followed suit. He controlled KSU's Dylan Barreiro for the first period, building up a 10-0 lead. Like Joseph, Hall ended the match early in the second, picking up the pin at the 3:34 mark. The fall was the 26th of Hall's career, tied for 18th all-time at Penn State. Senior Shakur Rasheed (Coram, N.Y.), ranked No. 4 at 184 after earning All-America laurels at 197 a year ago, continued Penn State's torrid pace. Rasheed wasted no time in his match with Andrew McNally. The Lion senior notched a quick takedown and then worked his way to a pin, getting the fall at 1:13 in the first period.

Senior Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas), ranked No. 1 his new weight of 197, continued Penn State's pin parade. Nickal rolled up four first period takedowns before pinning Shane Mast at the 2:06 mark, Penn State's seventh pin of the dual and its fourth in the first period. The pin was the 42nd of Nickal's career, sixth all-time at Penn State. Senior Anthony Cassar (Rocky Hill, N.J.) got the nod at his new weight of 285 and capped off a raucous home opener with a dominating 17-2 technical fall over Kent State's Billy Bolia, getting the tech at the 5:51 mark.

Penn State posted a 31-4 takedown advantage. All nine of Penn State's wins were for bonus, seven pins and two tech falls. Penn State is now 1-0 while Kent State falls to 3-5. Penn State will head to Philadelphia next weekend for the 2018 Keystone Classic at the University of Pennsylvania. The team-scored tournament will be held in the historic Palestra and begins at 10 a.m.

Penn State Fans are encouraged to follow Penn State wrestling via twitter at @pennstateWREST, on Penn State Wrestling's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pennstatewrestling and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/pennstatewrest. This is PENN STATE. WRESTLING lives here.

Results:
125: Jake Ferri KSU dec. Devin Schnupp PSU, 8-12 0-3
133: Roman Bravo-Young PSU pinned Tim Rooney KSU, WBF (5:31) 6-3
141: #4 Nick Lee PSU tech fall Cory Simpson KSU, 18-2 (TF; 3:44) 11-3
149: Jarod Verkleeren PSU pinned Kody Komara KSU, WBF (1:20) 17-3
157: #1 Jason Nolf PSU pinned Joe Andrassy KSU, WBF (2:29) 23-3
165: #1 Vincenzo Joseph PSU pinned Isaac Bast KSU, WBF (3:40) 29-3
174: #2 Mark Hall PSU pinned Dylan Barreiro KSU, WBF (3:34) 35-3
184: #4 Shakur Rasheed PSU pinned Andrew McNally KSU, WBF (1:13) 41-3
197: #1 Bo Nickal PSU pinned Shane Mast KSU, WBF (2:06) 47-3
285: Anthony Cassar PSU tech fall Billy Bolia KSU, 17-2 (TF; 5:15) 52-3
Attendance: 6,496 (42nd straight Rec Hall sell-out; 46th of 48 including 4 of 6 in Rec Hall)
Records: Penn State 1-0, Kent State 3-5
Up Next for Penn State: at 2018 Keystone Classic, Penn, Philadelphia, Pa. - 10 a.m.

BOUT-BY-BOUT:

125: Sophomore Devin Schnupp (Lititz, Pa.) took on Jake Ferri. Schnupp wasted no time taking a lead, using a low shot to take Ferri down and open up an early 2-1 lead. The Lion sophomore used a swift high single to work his way into control of Ferri and take a 4-2 lead at the 1:05 mark. Ferri got control of Schnupp's left ankle, looking for a takedown, but the Lion sophomore was able to work his way to a stalemate with :28 left in the opening period. Trailing 4-2, Ferri chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 4-3 score. Schnupp worked his way into control of Ferri's leg again, but the Flash wrestler forced a stalemate with 1:28 left in the period. The Lion countered a Ferri shot, rolled his way out of a near takedown and action continued neutral with 1:00 left. Ferri took a 5-4 lead right after that scramble but Schnupp quickly escaped to a 5-5 tie with :30 left in the middle stanza. Ferri added another takedown and a rideout to lead 7-5 after two. Schnupp chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 7-6 deficit but Ferri took him down quickly. Schnupp escaped to a 9-7 score and began looking for a tying takedown. But Ferri blew through a strong low double to take an 11-7 lead with :55 on the clock. The Flash wrestler built up over 1:00 in riding time before Schnupp escaped to an 11-8 score. Ferri's riding time gave the Flash the 12-8 victory.

133: True freshman Roman Bravo-Young (Tucson, Ariz.) made his Nittany Lion debut against Kent State junior Tim Rooney. The duo battled evenly for the first :90 until Bravo-Young rolled through a strong high shot to get his first collegiate takedown and lead 2-0. Bravo-Young controlled the action from the top position and turned Rooney for four back points before the period ended to lead 6-0 after one. Bravo-Young chose neutral to start the second period and went to work on his feet. He picked up his second takedown quickly and then controlled the action for the remainder of the period. Rooney was hit for two stalls as well and Bravo-Young led 9-0 after two with over 2:00 in riding time. Rooney chose down to start the third period and Bravo-Young made him pay for the decision. The Lion quickly turned Rooney's shoulders to the mat and picked up a pin in his Rec Hall debut, getting the fall at the 5:31 mark.

141: Sophomore Nick Lee (Evansville, Ind.), ranked No. 4 at 141, met Cory Simpson of Kent State. Lee came out firing, taking Simpson down in front of the Kent State bench and nearly turning the Flash grappler to his back before Simpson rolled through to his stomach. Simpson escaped but Lee took him down immediately and led 4-1 with 1:00 on the clock. The Lion then turned Simpson's left shoulder to the mat, picking up a four-point nearfall to lead 9-1 after one. Lee chose down to start the second, escaped, took Simpson down and then ended the match with a four-point near fall. The Lion sophomore got his 18-2 tech fall at the 3:44 mark.

149: Red-shirt freshman Jarod Verkleeren (Greensburg, Pa.) made his Lion dual debut at 149 against Kent State's Kody Komara. Verkleeren fought off an early Komara takedown attempt as the Flash wrestler had control of Verkleeren's upper body early. The Lion freshman countered the control, working his way into a throw, taking Komara down and to his back and, after a quick second to reset himself, picked up a pin in his Rec Hall debut. Verkleeren's fall came at the 1:20 mark.

157: Senior Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 157, took on Joe Andrassy. Nolf put on an early takedown clinic, getting for takedowns in the opening 1:10 to lead 8-3 just over minute into the bout. Nolf continued his offense, picking up two more takedowns to lead 10-5 at the :50 mark. Nolf then wrapped up a cradle, turned Andrassy to his back and picked up Penn State's third pin in five bouts. Nolf's fall came at the 2:29 mark.

165: Junior Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 165, met KSU senior Isaac Bast. Joseph took a 1-0 lead early when Bast got hit with a quick unsportsmanlike. Joseph then took Bast down to open up a 3-0 lead with 2:15 left in the opening stanza. Joseph cut Bast loose, quickly rolled through a high shot and upped his lead to -1 with 1:25 on the clock. Joseph continued to showcase his offense, letting Bast up and using a strong low double to take a 7-2 lead with a third takedown with :40 on the clock. Joseph added one more cut and takedown and finished on top to lead 9-3 with 1:40 in riding time after one period. Bast chose down to start the second stanza, escaped, and was quickly taken down by Joseph again. Joseph picked up a stall point and then took Bast down to his back for a quick pin, getting the call at the 3:40 mark.

174: Junior Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.), ranked No. 2 at 174, faced off against Dylan Barreiro. Hall notched the first takedown just :35 into the bout to lead 2-0. He maintained control of the Kent State sophomore, working Barreiro to his back for four nearfall points once, then again, to lead 10-0 with 1:05 left in the opening period. Hall forced Barreiro into a first stall warning and finished on top to lead by ten with 2:26 in riding time after one period. Hall chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped. He then turned into Barreiro, worked shoulder control into a quick takedown and flattened Barreiro's shoulders to the mat for the pin. The fall, Penn State's fifth of the dual, came at the 3:34 mark.

184: Senior Shakur Rasheed (Coram, N.Y.), ranked No. 4 at 184, met Golden Flash sophomore Andrew McNally. Rasheed, wrestling down at his new weight of 184, wasted no time taking McNally down. He then went control on top, looking for a turning combination. The Rec Hall faithful did not have to wait long. Rasheed rolled McNally over, turning his back flat and picking up Penn State's sixth pin of the dual at the 1:13 mark.

197: Senior Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas), ranked No. 1 at 197, met Shane Mast for Kent State. Nickal took Mast down just seconds into the bout, cut him loose, and took him down again immediately to lead 4-2. He added a third takedown and cut and led 6-2 less than :90 into the match. Mast shot high but Nickal countered the move, wrapping Mast's shoulders between his lower legs and turning him to his back for a takedown. He then adjusted his position once and picked up Penn State's seventh fall of the dual, this one at 2:06.

285: Senior Anthony Cassar (Rocky Hill, N.J.) made his heavyweight debut for Penn State against KSU's Billy Bolia. Wrestling up at 285 for the first time, Cassar took Bolia down quickly to open up an early 2-0 lead. Cassar worked on top, building up a solid riding time edge before letting Bolia up. The Lion then took the Flash grappler down again to lead 4-2 with :55 left in the opening period. Cassar forced Bolia into a first stall and then took him down. Another stall warning gave Cassar a 7-2 lead after one period. Cassar chose down to start the second stanza and quickly escaped to an 8-2 lead. He roared through a strong high shot to up his lead to 10-2, with over 2:00 in riding time in the process. Cassar turned Bolia for two nearfall points and another stall point to lead 13-2 at the :50 mark. He turned Bolia for two more nearfall points and led 15-2 with nearly 4:00 of riding time after two periods. Bolia chose neutral to start the final stanza and Cassar quickly took him down to end the match, picking up a 17-2 tech fall at the 5:15 mark.

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