Lions pummel Hoosiers

UNIVERSITY PARK – Penn State 141-pounder Kade Moss isn’t too shabby when it comes to wrestling on his feet, having won a Greco-Roman national title this past summer.

So, when the opportunity for a headlock of Indiana’s Sean Brown presented itself, the four-time Utah state champion pounced. Moss, up 9-3, hit a headlock that was a thing of beauty – Brown’s feet in the air (something rare in college wrestling), Moss taking him right to his back and the Rec Hall crowd of 6,281, mostly quiet throughout the meet, roaring its appreciation, The end came in 5:43.

“I don’t go out there looking for the throws,” Moss said. “I really want to work on my shots. It felt good, though. There’s nothing better than being able to perform a big Penn State crowd and get a throw in like that.”

The seventh-ranked Nittany Lions, fresh off their Southern Scuffle team title, had a lot of chances to work on their big moves against the overmatched Hoosiers in a warmup for Sunday’s big match at No. 3 Ohio State. The Lions recorded three pins, a technical fall, a major decision and a forfeit to go with three decisions in their 42-3 romp on Friday night.

“I think we scored a lot of points. That was the plan. That’s what we wanted to see,” said Penn state coach Cael Sanderson, whose team improved to 6-0. “Things went as expected, I guess.’

With the Hoosiers (2-3) forfeiting 125 to Jordan Conaway, the coaches agreed to a prematch weight draw, so the meet started at 165. That just happened to be where Indiana’s best wrestler, fourth-ranked Taylor Walsh, earned his team’s only win, 9-6, over Garett Hammond.

Hammond, who missed on a couple shots in the first period and was ridden the entire second period, trailed 5-2 entering the final period, but he took Walsh down twice. Despite the loss, the crowd gave Hammond a big ovation.

“I think he figured how to score there,” Sanderson said. “I think that second period obviously caught him, where he was just kind of hanging out on the bottom. That took him out of the match, but I think that’s got to be a big confidence booster for him to score two takedowns in the third period against a good kid, tricky kid.”

At 174, Penn State’s third-ranked Matt Brown built a 9-2 lead on the tall, lanky 19th-ranked Nate Jackson with four takedowns before putting Jackson on his back and pinning him in 4:10. There’s a tradition at Rec Hall of throwing shirts to the crowd after pins. More shirts were thrown at the next weight.

PSU 184-pounder Matt McCutcheon needed only 55 seconds to take Wyatt Wilson down to his back and pin him. Morgan McIntosh took Luke Sheridan down twice, escaped and had a 2:23 riding time advantage in a 6-3 win at 197.

Jon Gingrich got the call at 285 over Jimmy Lawson, who Sanderson says is healthy, and he earned a 6-2 win over Garret Goldman, giving the Lions an 18-3 lead at the break.

After Conaway won by forfeit, fifth-ranked 133-pounder Jimmy Gulibon had no trouble with Alonzo Shepherd, ringing up a 20-4 technical fall in 5:53. Gulibon had six takedowns, including a five-point move in the first period.

Moss, a redshirt freshman who completed his two-year Mormon mission, took Brown down four times in the first two periods. He gave up an escape in the third period before hitting the big headlock and giving the Lions a 35-3 lead.

“I don’t really think about it when it’s happening,” Moss of the throw. “I’ve been wrestling Greco for a long time, and when it’s there, it’s there, and I go for it.”

“I think his shots are getting better,” Sanderson said. “We saw a lot of that at the Scuffle. He’s getting to the legs quickly. Everything is improving, and that’s obviously what we want to see.

At 149, Zack Beitz rang up a 14-4 major decision over Trevor Moody, amassing 4:33 in riding time and five takedowns. Dylan Alton, who returned to the lineup at the Southern Scuffle after offseason shoulder surgery, finished the night with a 2-0 win over Alex Gregory. Alton rode Gregory the entire final period.

“It’s good to be back,” Alton said. “Every match I wrestle, the more I feel I’m getting better.”

The Lions will now get ready for the 4-3 Buckeyes, who lost to Iowa, 18-14, last Sunday. The last time Penn State wrestled a top 10 team, Lawson’s overtime win preserved a 20-15 win over ninth-ranked Virginia Tech.

“I’m really excited about that,” Sanderson said. “Ohio State has a great team, one of the most talked about teams coming into the season. They have some real tough kids. I want to see where we’re at and see how we respond.”

165-Walsh, I, dec. Hammond, 9-6; 174-Brown, PS, pinned Jackson, 4:10; 184-McCutcheon, PS, pinned Wilson, :55; 197-McIntosh, PS, dec. Sheridan, 6-3; 285-Gingrich, PS, dec. Goldman, 6-2.

125-Conaway, PS, won by forfeit; 133-Gulibon, PS, tech. fall Shepherd, 20-4, 5:53; 141-Moss, PS, pinned Brown, 5:43; 149-Beitz, PS, maj. dec. Moody, 14-4; 157-Alton, PS, dec. Gregory, 2-0.

Records: Indiana (2-3 overall, 0-2 in Big Ten); Penn State (6-0 overall, 2-0 in Big Ten)

Att: 6,281.