EAST LANSING, Mich. — Penn State’s tour through Michigan got off to a good start on Friday night as the No. 1 Nittany Lions invaded Jenison Field House and pinned their way to a 42-3 win over the Michigan State Spartans.
Penn State (12-0, 6-0) won nine of 10 bouts and got bonus points in all but three of its wins and David Taylor (165), Ed Ruth (184), Morgan McIntosh (197) and Zain Retherford (141) picked up falls for the Nittany Lions. Matt Brown added a technical fall at 174 pounds while Jordan Conaway picked up a major decision for Penn State at 125 pounds.
Dylan Alton and Jimmy Gulibon added decision wins for Penn State at 157 and 133 pounds and Andrew Alton returned to the lineup and picked up a win at 149 pounds.
Michigan State’s No. 7 Mike McClure picked up the Spartans’ lone win with a 5-1 decision over Nick Ruggear at 285 pounds.
“We wanted to get out there and get on the scoreboard right away. It’s something we talked about and I think the guys listened,” Penn State associate coach Cody Sanderson told the Penn State Radio Network. “They went out and did it and it was nice to break that 40-point barrier with the team score too. That happened because they went out trying to score immediately.”
While Andrew Alton returned to wrestle just his second dual-meet bout of the season, Penn State was without No. 2 Nico Megaludis and Jon Gingrich as the 125- and 285-pounders sat out the dual with illnesses. Megaludis did not travel with the team and will not be in action when the Nittany Lions take on No. 11 Michigan (9-2, 6-0) on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Spartans were without much fight for most of the night. Penn State secured 23 takedowns to Michigan State’s two and easily controlled the pace in nearly every match.
Dylan Alton got things started for Penn State with an 8-3 decision over Roger Wildmo at 157 pounds. Taylor, Brown, Ruth and McIntosh followed with impressive performances to put the dual away at the midpoint.
Taylor worked for a fall immediately in his bout with Bobby Nash at 165. Taylor got in on a quick shot and tried to lock up a cradle before Nash squirmed away. Less than a minute later, Taylor finally clamped down with a cradle and rolled Nash to his back for a fall in 1:53.
Brown used all seven minutes at 174 pounds to roll to an 18-3 technical fall over Nick Kaczanowski before Ruth found an inside cradle right away against John Rizqallah at 184 pounds. Rizqallah couldn’t defend Ruth’s signature move and was fastened to the mat in just 38 seconds.
While Ruth’s pin gave Penn State a 20-0 lead, McIntosh turned a ride into a cradle of his own on Nick McDiarmid 4:23 into their bout at 197 to push Penn State to a 26-0 advantage. Retherford turned a 4-0 lead into a fall when he pinned Brian Gibbs in 4:42 at 141 pounds for Penn State’s final pin.
“That was great for Morgan and Zain to get those pins,” Sanderson said. “Morgan, if he continues to make that kind of improvement on top, that is going to be a huge advantage for him going into the postseason.”
Michigan State had the advantage in the heavyweight match, sending a highly-ranked opponent out to face Ruggear who hadn’t wrestled in a dual since Feb. 18, 2011.
But Ruggear held a 1-0 lead over McClure heading into the final period. In the third McClure came alive and came out of a scramble to notched the bout’s lone takedown midway through the third. McClure also earned a penalty point and a riding time point to seal the bout.
Conaway followed with a dominant performance at 125 pounds. It was the first time Conaway dropped down a weight in college and he had little trouble trouncing Brenan Lyon 16-4.
Gulibon got off to a quick start with a takedown just a few seconds into the 133-pound bout with Garth Yenter. Gulibon added a strong ride, two more takedowns and a second-period reversal to post a 9-3 win.
Andrew Alton earned the first takedown at 149 then picked up two nearfall points against Nick Trimble. Trimble kept Alton down for a minute in the second but Alton escaped and hit a low single to end the period. Alton added another takedown in the third but Trimble picked up a takedown to cut the lead to 9-5. Trimble couldn’t get the tilts he needed to overtake Alton, however.
Sanderson said the coaching staff will make match time decisions on who will wrestle at 149 against the Wolverines on Sunday.