Penn State Tops Michigan in Annual Bryce Jordan Center Matchup
Penn State (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) played host to the fifth-ranked Michigan Wolverines (9-1, 5-1 Big Ten) in the annual Bryce Jordan Center duel. The Wolverines were coming off an impressive 19-17 victory over second-ranked Ohio State as they hoped to play spoiler to the Nittany Lions’ perfect season tonight.
Devin Schnupp looked to capture his second Big Ten victory after a successful weekend away from Happy Valley, but Drew Mattin had other plans. Mattin only managed one takedown on Schnupp in the first period and wiggled his way to a 3-0 lead to start the second period. Schnupp shot on a single leg as the second period though Schnupp was unable to keep he and his opponent in bounds to score the two points. Mattin caught Schnupp late and scored one final takedown to cruise to a 6-0 decision victory as Michigan took a 3-0 lead.
Stevan Micic is a one bad man as the 133 pound crown is his to lose in March. Scott Stossel looked to play spoiler tonight as Stossel had Micic’s leg up to his shoulder less than one minute into the contest. Stossel tried to wrap Micic up, but Micic is a different animal right now. Micic put his foot down after this small offensive showing from Stossel and destroyed Stossel in a true wrestling clinic. Micic’s victory by technical fall (score of 20-5) pushed the Michigan lead to 8-0.
Nick Lee came out firing in the Bryce Jordan Center as he scored his first takedown just over 30 seconds into the first period. Kanen Storr then shot on Lee, but Lee turned it around into another takedown of his own, looking to get Penn State on the team scoreboard. This match got the crowd involved too as Storr’s stalling call was enjoyable for all the Penn State fans in attendance. Lee scored another huge takedown directly in front of “The RECkoning” student section for Penn State as Lee was looking to get some bonus points. Lee and Storr rolled around near the scorer’s table which prompted Coach Cael Sanderson to challenge a supposed missed takedown call in favor of Lee. Lee was not awarded the takedown as this took Storr and Lee into the third period.
Jarod Verkleern and Malik Amine both came out looking to have quick nights on the mat; the two were in position to cradle the other one 15 seconds into the first period. Verkleeren attempted to pin Amine, but Amine shifted his weight and rolled over and on top of Verkleeren. Verkleeren escaped this danger and only gave up the takedown points to Amine. Amine rode Verkleeren for a little over one minute until a reversal was hit, making the score tied at two. Verkleern snuck in another takedown as the second period ticked away as he held a 5-3 lead over Amine. Starting down and earning his one escape point, Amine made this match interesting for the intense crowd. Amine scored a takedown to take control of the lead and rode Verkleeren for the remainder of the match. Michigan had their third decision victory in the first half with the team scoreboard reading 11-3.
Our second-ranked matchup of the day pitted top-ranked Jason Nolf against No. 5 Alec Pantaleo; Nolf came out attentive compared to his usual routine. Nolf did find his spot on Pantaleo and gained a takedown in addition to four back points to close out the first period. Pantaleo had Nolf’s left leg in the second period, but Nolf who is as crafty as they make them, got away from Pantaleo. Nolf and Pantaleo were both cautious in the third until Nolf was caught in a double leg takedown by Pantaleo much to the dismay of the Penn State faithful. Nolf was safe as time expired with a decision victory in hand. Despite the Nolf decision victory, Michigan carried a 11-6 lead into intermission.
Coming back from intermission, another top ten matchup was on deck with Vincenzo Joseph and No. 7 Logan Massa were ready to go. Joseph, who lost in last year’s BJC duel, looked to exterminate those demons against a very worthy opponent in Massa. Massa has had a tough season thus far with three losses to his record, but he is no easy W. Joseph and Massa were waiting for their spot when Joseph got a little too “handsy."
Michigan challenged for “hands-to-the-face” with 1:25 left in the third and Massa was awarded this point which evened the score to two apiece. The two could not score on each other as the third period ended and sudden victory was needed to decide the superior. Joseph scored the winning takedown as time ticked away in sudden victory as the Michigan lead shrink to just two points at 11-9.
Much like the match prior, Mark Hall and Myles Amine were looking for their spot to start the match. The two were scoreless after the first period and Hall took the 1-0 lead to start the second. Amine and Hall were stuck in a mad scramble for a solid minute to close the second period as neither man was able to score here as well. Hall circled around Amine with 26 seconds left in the match to win by decision with a 3-2 final. This was the fourth decision victory for the NIttany Lions as the lead was in their possession for the first time as the jumbotron read 12-11.
Shakur Rasheed still looks to prove his doubters wrong this season as he took on Jelani Embree. Rasheed grabbed one of Embree’s legs early and completed a big double leg to score the first points. Embree was then taken down again as Rasheed took a 4-1 lead. Rasheed was then hit with a roughness call which gave Embree to jump right back into this match. Embree had the chance to hold Rasheed down, but Embree could not control Rasheed as the score elevated to the final 5-3. Penn State’s murderer’s row was in full force now with the team score standing at 15-11.
Bo Nickal’s move to 197 pounds has been as smooth as it could possibly be. Bo also knows smooth as he recently got a pair of custom Louis Vuitton wrestling shoes to wear for the rest of the season. Nickal came out looking to score the first bonus point victory of the night for Penn State as Nickal was up 12-3 with three minutes of riding time at the end of the second period. Nickal let Bobby Striggow go to start the third, quickly adjusted and cradled Striggow for the fall. Nickal gets a critical fall as he still looks to catch teammate Jason Nolf for the all time record at Penn State. Penn State’s lead was now up to ten points as the duel was win was secured.
This match was interesting from the jump as Cassar caught seventh-ranked Mason Parris with both arms locked; Cassar bulldozed Parris to his back and was awarded three back points. Michigan challenged this ruling as the match ref was caught in the crossfire. The call was confirmed and Cassar continued to feast on Parris. The score at the end of the first period was 11-4 in favor of Cassar; Cassar’s toughest competitor on this night was his headgear as it fell off his head on four different occasions. Dominance continued into the second period as Parris could not defend the shots that Cassar was throwing. Cassar sent the crowd home happy with a 19-8 major victory as the Nittany Lions beat the Michigan Wolverines 25-11.
Penn State’s next duel will be against the Ohio State Buckeyes on Feb. 8 at Ohio State. Penn State narrowly beat Ohio State last year as Nick Nevills held off Olympic and National Champion Kyle Snyder from bonus points to keep Penn State’s duel winning streak in tact. Ohio State will look to get back on track as the nation’s best team travels to Columbus next week.
Ryan Simpson is a senior majoring in statistics and minoring in sociology. To contact him, email email@example.com.