UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State Nittany Lions (11-2, 8-1 B1G), ranked No. 2 in the latest InterMat Tournament Power Index, rode a string of three straight bonus wins at the second half to beat No. 3 Ohio State (10-4, 6-3 B1G) in the 2020 BJC Dual. Head coach Cael Sanderson's squad won its fifth-straight over Ohio State, posting a 20-16 win in front of a sold-out BJC crowd. The dual was a BTN national telecast.
A sell-out crowd of 15,995 saw Penn State take down the Buckeyes. The crowd is the third largest in Penn State history and the third largest for an indoor dual in NCAA history. Penn State owns the top two indoor figures in NCAA history (15,998 vs. Iowa on Feb. 10, 2018; 15,996 vs. Pitt on Dec. 8, 2013). The two largest attendance totals were both in outdoor/football stadiums.
The dual began at 125 where freshman Brandon Meredith (Limerick, Pa.) lost a hard-fought 5-3 decision to Ohio State's Malik Heinselman. Sophomore Roman Bravo-Young (Tucson, Ariz.), ranked No. 2 at 133, tied the dual up by taking care of Jordan Decatur. Bravo-Young rolled up a flurry of third period takedowns to roll to a 10-4 win over Decatur, including 1:50 in riding time. His win tied the dual at 3-3 after two bouts. Junior Nick Lee (Evansville, Ind.), ranked No. 2 at 141, met No. 1 Luke Pletcher in a battle of unbeatens. Lee gave up an early takedown but then dominated the rest of the bout. The Nittany Lion junior picked up a takedown in the second and third period, rode Pletcher out each time, and added in 1:50 in riding time and a stall point to toll to an 8-4 win.
Sophomore Jarod Verkleeren (Greensburg, Pa.), ranked No. 17 at 149, took on No. 1 Sammy Sasso at 149. Verkleeren equaled the top-ranked Buckeye for seven minutes and nearly all of extra time. But Sasso notched a takedown with just :02 left in sudden victory to post a 3-1 (sv) win. At 157, sophomore Brady Berge (Mantorville, Minn.) made his return to the lineup for the first time since early November. Berge met Quinn Kinner and took an early lead with a first period takedown but Kinner notched a third period takedown and finished on top to post a hard-fought 4-3 win over Berge. The Buckeyes led 9-6 at intermission.
Senior Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 165, dominated No. 16 Ethan Smith in the first bout of the second half. Joseph gave up an early takedown and then then controlled the rest of the bout. The Lion senior turned a 6-3 lead after the second period into a 13-5 major with a dominant third period, giving Penn State a 10-9 lead. Senior Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.), ranked No. 2 at 174, then sent the BJC sellout crowd into a frenzy with a quick pin of No. 7 Kaleb Romero.
True freshman Aaron Brooks (Hagerstown, Md.), ranked No. 6 at 184, made it three straight bonus point wins over three straight Buckeyes by rolling to a major decision over No. 12 Rocky Jordan. Brooks controlled the match from start to finish and rolled to a 15-4 major, giving the Nittany Lions 20-9 lead. Senior Shakur Rasheed (Coram, N.Y.), ranked No. 17 at 197, met No. 1 Kollin Moore at 197 and dropped a 14-6 major decision to the top-ranked Buckeye. True freshman Seth Nevills (Clovis, Calif.), ranked No. 15 at 285, the lost a close 5-4 decision to Gary Traub and Penn State walked away with a 20-16 victory.
Penn State posted a 19-12 advantage in takedowns. The Lions won the dual thanks to five bonus points off a pin (Hall) and two majors (Joseph, Brooks).
Penn State is now 11-2 overall, 8-1 in the Big Ten. Ohio State falls to 10-4, 6-3 in the Big Ten. Penn State will host American University in its dual finale next Sunday, Feb. 23, at 2 p.m. in Rec Hall. The dual will serve as Senior Day for Penn State.
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.
125: Malik Heinselman OSU dec. Brandon Meredith PSU, 5-3 0-3
133: #2 Roman Bravo-Young PSU dec. Jordan Decatur OSU, 10-4 3-3
141: #2 Nick Lee PSU dec. #1 Luke Pletcher OSU, 8-4 6-3
149: #1 Sammy Sasso OSU dec. #17 Jarod Verkleeren PSU, 3-1 (sv) 6-6
157: Quinn Kinner OSU dec. Brady Berge PSU, 4-3 6-9
165: #1 Vincenzo Joseph PSU maj. dec. #16 Ethan Smith OSU, 13-5 10-9
174: #2 Mark Hall PSU pinned #7 Kaleb Romero OSU, WBF (0:46) 16-9
184: #6 Aaron Brooks PSU maj. dec. #12 Rocky Jordan, 15-4 20-9
197: #1 Kollin Moore OSU maj. dec. #17 Shakur Rasheed PSU, 14-6 20-13
285: Gary Traub OSU dec. #15 Seth Nevills PSU, 5-4 20-16
Attendance: 15,995 (6th sellout in 8 BJC duals, 60th of 62 home sellouts including 54-straight in Rec Hall)
Records: Penn State (11-2, 8-1 B1G); Ohio State (10-4, 6-3 B1G)
Up Next for Penn State: home vs. American University, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2 p.m., Rec Hall (BTN+)
125: Freshman Brandon Meredith (Limerick, Pa.) took on Malik Heinselman at 125. Meredith and Heinselman worked the middle of the mat for the opening :30 before Heinselman worked a high shot into a takedown and a 2-0 lead. Meredith escaped to a 2-1 score as the clock moved below the 2:00 mark. The duo battled evenly for the next minute until Meredith worked a how single into a scramble on the Lion logo. Heinselman countered the shot and forced a stalemate with :25 left in the period. Trailing 2-1 after one, Meredith chose down to start the second period. He escaped to a 2-2 tie at the 1:30 mark and action resumed in neutral. Meredith took a low single at 1:00 but Heinselman was able to defend the move and keep the bout tied as the clock moved below the :30. Meredith continued to press on offense, forcing the Buckeye into defense for the rest of the period, forcing one stall warning. Heinselman chose down to start the second period and quickly reversed Meredith for a 4-2 lead. Heinselman controlled the Lion freshman long enough to build up more than 1:00 in riding time. Meredith escaped to a 4-3 score and then got in on a shot. He was unable to finish off the move as Heinselman scrambled the clock to 0:00. The Buckeye had 1:41 in riding time and posted the 5-3 win.
133: Sophomore Roman Bravo-Young (Tucson, Ariz.), ranked No. 2 at 133, met Jordan Decatur. Bravo-Young got in on an early single that Decatur was able to fight off. Action resumed in the middle of the mat at the 2:00 mark, tied 0-0. Bravo-Young continued to press on offense over the next minute, forcing Decatur into defense for the next minute. Decatur fought off another Lion shot, wrapping Jordan's shoulders to work even more time off the clock. Bravo-Young continued to shoot Decatur backwards but the Buckeye was able to defend his way through a scoreless first period. Bravo-Young chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead. Bravo-Young connected on another low shot and worked his way to a takedown and a 3-0 lead with :40 on the clock. The Nittany Lion sophomore finished the period on top and led 3-0 with :34 in time after two periods. Decatur chose down to start the third period and Bravo-Young went to work on top. The Nittany Lion sophomore worked his riding time edge over 1:00 and then lifted Decatur off the mat, sending him back down to his stomach as the clock hit 1:05. Bravo-Young cut Decatur loose at the 1:00 mark, forced a first stall warning and then took the Buckeye down again. He cut Decatur loose and led 5-2 at the :50 mark. Looking for bonus points, Bravo-Young took Decatur down twice in 20 seconds but was not able to finish off a final takedown and settled for a strong 10-4 win with 1:50 in riding time.
141: Junior Nick Lee (Evansville, Ind.), ranked No. 2 at 141, met No. 1 Luke Pletcher in the dual's marquee matchup. Pletcher got in on a quick single leg, taking Lee down on in the middle of the mat for an early 2-0 lead. Lee quickly escaped to a 2-1 score and action continued at 2:20. Lee and Pletcher traded jabs on the Lion logo as the clock hit 1:30. The Lion junior fought off a solid Pletcher single and went to work on offense. Lee looked to control the middle of the mat, taking a series of quick shots that Pletcher was able to step away from as the period wound down. Leading 2-1, Pletcher chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 3-3 lead. Lee continued to work on offense. Lee forced a stall warning and then tied the bout with a takedown at the :50 mark. Lee gained control of the Buckeyes arm as the clock moved to :45, looking for back points. He forced Pletcher into a second stall and led 4-3 with :51 in riding time after two periods. Lee chose down to start the third period and escaped to a 5-3 lead. Pletcher took a slight shot at 1:30 and Lee deftly countered the move, working his way around for another takedown and a 7-3 lead. He dominated Pletcher on top, clinching riding time as the clock hit :25. Pletcher picked up a late escape but with 1:50 in time, Lee rolled to the dominant 8-4 win.
149: Sophomore Jarod Verkleeren (Greensburg, Pa.), ranked No. 17 at 149, battled No. 1 Sammy Sasso. Sasso took a quick shot that forced a scramble in the middle of the mat. A potentially dangerous hold stopped action and the bout resumed in neutral as the clock hit 2:30. Verkleeren and Sasso battled for control for the next minute with neither man gaining an edge. Verkleeren countered a Sasso shot at the :40 mark, looking for his own takedown. But the Buckeye was able to force action out of bounds as the period wound down. Tied 0-0, Verkleeren chose down to start the second period. The Lion sophomore escaped to a 1-0 lead with 1:25 on the clock. The duo battled evenly for the next minute plus with Verkleeren hold a 1-0 lead. Sasso chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 1-1 tie. The Lion and Buckeye worked the mat, on their feet, with neither wrestler gaining control as the clock moved below 1:00. Sasso got in on a low shot with :40 left but Verkleeren forced a stalemate with :35 left to wrestled. Sasso shot at the :20, Verkleeren nearly countered to a takedown, but a stalemate was called late and the match moved to sudden victory. The duo worked the middle of the mat for the first :30. Sasso worked a low shot into a scramble and the, with just :02 on the clock, finished off the takedown for the hard-fought 3-1 (sv) win over Verkleeren.
157: Sophomore Brady Berge (Mantorville, Minn.) made his return to the mat at 157, wrestling for the first time since early November, and took on Quinn Kinner. The duo battled evenly for over 1:00 with neither wrestler finishing off a shot. Berge took a solid shot with 1:10 that Kinner moved away from. But the Lion continued right to his next shot and finished it off for a 2-0 lead. Kinner escaped after a short Berge ride and the Nittany Lion led 2-1 at :20. Leading by one, Berge chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 3-1 lead. The clock moved below :30 as Berge tried to fight through Kinner's defense. The Buckeye stepped away from a couple Lion shots and Berge led 3-1 after two. Kinner chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 3-2 Berge lead. Kinner turned a quick shot into a takedown and a 4-3 lead with 1:10 on the clock. Berge was unable to break free of Kinner's control as the Buckeye finished on top to post a 4-3 win.
165: Senior Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 165, faced off against No. 16 Ethan Smith. Joseph stepped back from two quick low Smith shots and worked to control the middle of the mat. Smith connected on his third shot and took a 2-0 lead with 1:55 on the clock. Joseph quickly escaped to a 2-1 score and turned in to the Buckeye. Joseph connected on a low shot that Smith turned into a scramble and a stalemate at the 1:00 mark. Joseph took a 3-2 lead with a nice single, working Smith down to the mat with :25 left. Smith managed an escape as the period ended and the bout moved to the second period tied 3-3. Joseph chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 4-3 lead. The duo battled evenly for the next minute, with Joseph setting tempo. Joseph exploded through a high shot at the :35 mark and took a 6-3 lead with another takedown. The Lion controlled Smith for the rest of the period and carried that lead into the third stanza. Smith chose down to start the third period. Joseph worked the top position long enough to build his riding time up over 1:00. He turned Smith for two back points before the Buckeye escaped and Joseph led 8-4 at 1:20. Joseph took Smith down again, cut him loose and led 10-5 with :45 left. Needing one more takedown for a shot at bonus points, Joseph turned a high double into a late scramble and finished off the takedown with just :02 left. With 1:38 in riding time, Joseph posted the strong 13-5 major decision.
174: Senior Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.), ranked No. 2 at 174, met No. 7 Kaleb Romero. Hall made short work of the seventh-ranked Buckeye. He worked in neutral, gained control of Romero's shoulders, worked him down to the mat as the clock hit 2:30. The Lion then finished off the bout quickly, locking his shoulders tight, turning Romero his back and getting the fast fall at the 0:46 mark.
184: True freshman Aaron Brooks (Hagerstown, Md.), ranked No. 6 at 184, battled No. 12 Rocky Jordan. Brooks drew first blood with a low shot and takedown to open up an early 2-1 lead. As the clock moved below the 2:00 mark in the first period, Brooks stepped away from a slight Jordan shot, then turned a low single into a lift and takedown to lead 4-1 with 1:30 left in the period. Brooks went to work on top, building up 1:01 in time before Jordan escaped to a 4-2 score. The Lion freshman continued to shoot, and his offense paid off. Another low shot led to a third takedown and a 6-2 lead after the first period. Brooks escaped to start the second period, opening up a 7-2 lead. He forced Jordan into a first stall warning with 1:10 on the clock and then took a 9-2 lead with another takedown as the clock hit :50. Brooks then finished the period by picking up a stall point and riding Jordan out. With Brooks up 10-2, Jordan chose down to start the third period and escaped to a 10-3 score. Brooks continued to pour on the offense, notching another takedown to open up a 12-3 lead. Jordan escaped to a 12-4 score. Brooks bulldozed his way through a low double to open up a 14-4 lead with :25 on the clock. The Lion finished the period on top and, with 3:02 in riding time, rolled to a 15-4 major decision.
197: Senior Shakur Rasheed (Coram, N.Y.), ranked No. 17 at 197, took on No. 1 Kollin Moore. Moore scored quickly, taking Rasheed down off the opening whistle to lead 2-1 after a quick Lion escape. Moore added a second takedown with 1:45 to wrestle to open up a 4-1 lead. Moore built up a 1:00-plus riding time edge as the period moved to 1:00 before Rasheed escaped to a 4-2 score. Rasheed fought off another Moore shot, forcing a stalemate at the :30 mark. Leading 4-2, Moore chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 5-2 score. Moore forced Rasheed into a first stall warning and then forced a scramble with another single. Rasheed fought off the effort for :30 before Moore finished off the move to lead 7-3 after Rasheed escaped at the :35 mark. Trailing 7-3, Rasheed chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 7-4 score. But Moore picked up a fourth takedown right away and led 9-4 with 1:42 on the clock. Rasheed escaped to a 9-5 score with 1:31l left in the bout but Moore quickly took him down and cut him loose to an 11-6 score. Rasheed fought off a Moore shot as the clock moved to :30 but the Buckeye finished off the takedown to lead 13-6 with :25 left in the bout. Moore finished on top and, with 2:28 in riding time, posted the 14-6 major over Rasheed.
285: True freshman Seth Nevills (Clovis, Calif.), ranked No. 15 at 285, faced off against Gary Traub. Nevills set a fast tempo to start the match, working neutral and forcing Traub to the outside circle. Traub was hit with stalling early in the period and Nevills looked for an opening on offense as action was moved back to the middle of the mat. Nevills worked on offense but Traub was able to defend his way through the opening 3:00 and the bout moved to the second period tied 0-0. Nevills chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead. The Lion freshman then worked his way into control of Traub on a single leg and took the Buckeye down to open up a 3-0 lead. He nearly locked up a cradle but Traub managed to fight off the move and escaped to a 3-1 score. The duo battled evenly for the final seconds of the middle period and Nevills carried the 3-1 lead into the third period. Traub chose down to start the third period and Nevills controlled the action from the top. He built his time edge over 1:00 before Traub worked his way to a reversal, tying the bout briefly. Nevills escaped to a 4-3 lead at the :50 mark. Traub took the Lion down with :20 left and then finished the period ton top to steal a 5-4 victory over the Lion freshman.