A Penn State wrestling fan caught the eye of Iowa coach Tom Brands on Saturday night during the Nittany Lions’ 28-13 win at the Bryce Jordan Center.
After Mark Hall had pinned his Hawkeye opponent at 174 pounds, Brands said the fan told the coach, “It was going to be a long night.”
“That crowd was relentless behind us,” Brands said. “After the second (fall) at (1)84, I turned around and looked at him and said, ‘It’s not going to be a long night anymore.’”
Hall and Bo Nickal wrestled a combined 1 minute, 50 seconds and turned a four-point team deficit into a 21-13 advantage. Penn State won the final four bouts and for Brands, it brought up old memories.
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“It unravled in a hurry,” Brands said. “It was similar to Ohio State. We knew we were going to have to weather that storm. We have to do a better job in those situations that are mismatches on paper, (and make sure) that our guys don’t believe that.”
Hall caught Joey Gunther in a deep standing cow catcher but only gave up the takedown. However, on the way down, Hall locked up a cradle and it was over for Gunther in 1:00.
Nickal looked like he was on a mission to beat Hall’s time. Nickal quickly took Mitch Bowman down, locked up a cradle of his own and it was over for the Hawkeye.
“Oh, did he?,” Hall said with a laugh, when he learned of Nickal beating him by 10 seconds. “He didn’t let me know. But, that is something he definitely would do though. It is funny you say that.”
Some would say the back-to-back pins came at the perfect time for the Nittany Lions. They had just watched 165-pound No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph suffer his first loss of the season to No. 7 Alex Marinelli.
Joseph held a two-point lead 12 seconds into the final period. He got into an upper-body tie up with Marinelli and went for his inside trip. Marinelli made sure he wouldn’t succumb to Joseph by body-locking the Nittany Lion to the mat for a takedown and four near-fall points. It came too late for Joseph to rally in the 9-6 loss.
“I thought Vincenzo wrestled really well outside of relaxing in that position,” Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said. “Marinelli is a tough kid.”
Shakur Rasheed got the start at 197 pounds against the Hawkeyes’ No. 7 Cash Wilcke. Rasheed snapped off four takedowns, one with six seconds left in the match, and amassed 3:52 in riding time for an 11-2 major decision.
“It was fun,” Rasheed said. “I went to the Iowa match last year and that was crazy. It would’ve been cool to beat them there too. I don’t get every match, so I try to make the most of it.”
Nick Nevills earned a hard-fought 3-2 win over No. 3 Sam Stoll to finish off a night that didn’t start out quite like Sanderson would’ve hoped.
Iowa’s Spencer Lee tallied a takedown of Carson Kuhn 25 seconds into their 125-pound match. The Hawkeye went on to pin Kuhn in 2:05.
The Nittany Lions then rattled off three straight decisions to take a 9-6 lead.
Corey Keener had two first-period takedowns be the difference in a 5-2 win over Paul Glynn at 133. Nick Lee, instructed by coaches to cut Vince Turk loose to try to score bonus points, was unable to do so in an 11-8 win. Zain Retherford, known for scoring bonus-points, had a tougher opponent than usual in No. 2 Brandon Sorensen. Retherford recorded two takedowns while only giving up two escape points in a 6-2 win. It extend Retherford’s winning streak to 84 straight and he needs to win against Buffalo next Sunday to have a perfect dual record.
Iowa earned a 14-4 major decision from Michael Kemerer at 157 pounds to finish the first half to the dual and a Hawkeye 10-9 lead.
“I think we started a little slow but the guys rallied,” Sanderson said. “The guys wrestled really well at the end there. Every match is a big match in this atmosphere. It was good to see these guys step up.”