There was only one way to describe Penn State wrestling’s 48-3 drubbing of Michigan State on Sunday afternoon inside Jenison Field House in East Lansing, Mich.
The Nittany Lions won their 38th straight dual — tying a school mark set by the 1969-1972 teams — with ease. They had a takedown advantage of 39-3 and rattled off nine straight bonus-point victories, five of which were pins.
“That’s the difference when it comes to the Big Tens and nationals,” assistant coach Casey Cunningham told the Penn State Sports Network, referring to the bonus points. “For the guys to go out and do that is awesome. Every time out we want our guys to wrestle as hard as they can and score as many points as they can. Today was a good example of that.”
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Following the opening 6-3 loss at 125 pounds, Corey Keener stepped on the mat for Penn State and began the bonus-point parade.
Keener recorded two takedowns in the first and third period, had two near-fall points and a riding time point to collect a 12-2 major decision over Matt Santos.
Nick Lee took on No. 20 Javier Gasca at 141 pounds and gave up a first-period escape — the only point Gasca scored. Lee went to town scoring points.
In the first period, he tallied two takedowns and four near-fall points for an 8-1 lead. Lee turned a reversal into four more near-fall points and led 14-1 after two periods. A takedown nine seconds into the third finished off the 16-1 technical fall for the true freshman.
“Nick Lee has really been wrestling hard. He has a great attitude and is coachable,” Cunningham said. “He had a good first match Friday night, and again against a better kid today, he just looked sharp. We know what we are going to get out of him every time. Unfortunate that (Jered) Cortez went down with an injury, but this gives Nick Lee an opportunity now.”
Following Lee’s tech fall, the Nittany Lions’ “Murderers’ Row” continued the bonus-point tirade.
Zain Retherford amassed a 12-1 lead after one period and pinned Jwan Britton with 52 seconds left in the second period. Jason Nolf racked up eight takedowns — seven alone in the first period — before sticking Jake Tucker in 3:27. Vincenzo Joseph built up an 8-1 lead before putting Austin Hiles on his back with 12 seconds left in the first period.
Penn State’s Mark Hall took just as long to wrestle his opponent as Joseph and Nolf did. Hall used six takedowns, an escape, a reversal and four near-fall points to earn a 19-4 technical fall over Logan Ritchie in 6:22.
Bo Nickal earned Penn State’s fourth fall of the dual by taking care of Shwan Shadaia in 2:01. Anthony Cassar got the start at 197, a spot that still doesn’t seem settled. Cassar nearly had a fall in the third period but instead got a 16-3 major decision over Nick May.
Nick Nevills finished the dual with one final fall. Nevills looked like a man on a mission, tallying a 14-3 lead through two periods. In the third, he caught and stuck Matt Lloyd in 6:33.
“I thought the guys’ attitude and wrestling was really good today,” Cunningham said. “We looked sharper today than we did Friday. Friday was a better team, but overall we did look better today. That was exciting for the guys to respond with.”