Penn State’s rout keeps crowd entertained

UNIVERSITY PARK – While the final score doesn’t indicate it, top-ranked Penn State’s 39-8 win over Northwestern Sunday afternoon before a crowd of 6,393 at Rec Hall had a little bit of everything.

Consider some of the highlights and lowlights:

n The Nittany Lions had two pins, two technical falls and two major decisions.

n Penn State coach Cael Sanderson had called for video reviews before, but when he called for one this time, in Zack Beitz’ 5-3 overtime loss to fourth-ranked Jason Tsirtsis, he won the review.

n David Taylor (20-0) and Morgan McIntosh (19-2) put on respective ankle pick clinics.

n One team point was taken away from the Wildcats when the coaches were warned the second time for arguing a call.

n Two wrestlers injury-defaulted, including Penn State 285-pounder Jimmy Lawson, who appeared to injure his knee against fourth-ranked Mike McMullan in the first period and didn’t continue.

One constant on the day, though, was another big win for the Lions, who have scored at least 34 points times en route to a 10-0 record.

“I thought our guys wrestled well today,” Sanderson said. “We bussed to Indiana [for Friday’s match] because our flight was canceled, so it ended up being a long trip. So you have a long ride back [Saturday], I thought it was good for our guys to wrestle well.

“We try to wrestle physical every match,” McIntosh said. “Maybe sometimes it shows more than others, but that’s definitely the way the coaches encourage us to wrestle.”

The day ended on a sour note for the Lions and their fans, though. Lawson spent much of the first period hopping on one leg in trying to avoid getting taken down by McMullan. Lawson (17-3) defaulted with 16 seconds left in the period when he appeared to come down awkwardly near the edge of the circle. Sanderson didn’t know the extent of the injury.

“He went back with the trainer right away,” Sanderson said, “but he was able to walk off, which is a good sign.”

The meet opened with Nico Megaludis’ 23-6 technical fall of Garrison White in 6:39 at 125. Megaludis (19-2) notched five takedowns in the first period and two more in the second before working for back points.

Jimmy Gulibon, who had a first-period technical fall against Indiana on Friday, started off slow against Dom Malone at 133, breaking a 2-2 tie in the second with a takedown. He added three back points a riding time point for an 8-2 win.

After freshman 141-pounder Zain Retherford stayed unbeaten (20-0) with an 11-2 major decision of Pat Greco, Beitz and Jason Tsirtsis hooked up in a controversial 149-pound bout. Tsirtsis was up 1-0 in the second when Beitz brought the Wildcat down at the edge of the circle. The referee ruled no takedown, but when Sanderson called for the replay, the ref ruled that it was a takedown.

“That’s rule now,” Sanderson said. “If there’s no reaction time, and you’re there for a fraction of a second, it’s a takedown.”

An escape tied the score, 2-2. In the third, there was a discussion at the scorer’s table about the scoreboard clock not starting on a restart.

“I didn’t catch it. I wasn’t watching the clock at that time,” Sanderson said.

Beitz escaped and was ahead 3-2 when time ran out, but a 1:13 riding time advantage for Tsirtsis tied the score and sent the bout into OT. A third discussion at the table preceded a Tsirtsis takedown with 11.7 seconds left in OT.

At 157, James Vollrath built an 8-0 lead on Ben Sullivan before cradling Sullivan for the fall in 4:01. Vollrath and Beitz were in the lineup because Andrew and Dylan Alton were wrestling in the Shorty Hitchcock Open a week after they returned to the lineup from their respective offseason shoulder surgeries.

Fans were given Taylor figurines as they entered Rec Hall, and he treated them to another dominating performance at 165, racking up a 17-2 technical fall in 4:45 of Pierce Harger.

At 174, Matt Brown (20-1) was leading Lee Munster 10-1 in the second period when Munster took his second injury time for an apparent leg injury and defaulted in 3:56.

After Ed Ruth (19-1) decked Jacob Berkowitz in 1:36 with a cradle at 184, McIntosh dominated Alex Polizzi on his feet, scoring his first two takedowns on ankle picks, the third on a rare arm spin and his fourth on another slick ankle pick. He was up 12-5 when the team point was taken away from the Wildcats (making the score 35-2). McIntosh notched two more takedowns in the third to win, 17-8.

“I like hitting ankle picks like that,” McIntosh said. “I really don’t have a body for it like Beitz or David, but I like it. It’s a nice, easy, quick takedown. He had that ankle right there, and he kept putting it there, so I figured I’d capitalize on it and get a few takedowns.”

125-Megaludis, PS, tech. fall White, 23-6, 6:39; 133-Gulibon, PS, dec. Malone, 8-2; 141-Retherford, PS, maj. dec. Greco, 11-2; 149-Tsirtsis, N, dec. Beitz, 5-3 OT; 157-Vollrath, PS, pinned Sullivan, 4:01.

165-Taylor, PS, tech. fall Harger, 17-2, 4:45; 174-Brown, PS, won by injury default over Munster, 3:56; 184-Ruth, PS, pinned Berkowitz, 1:36; 197-McIntosh, PS, maj. dec. Polizzi, 17-8; 285-McMullan, N, won by injury default over Lawson, 2:44.

Records: Northwestern (6-4 overall, 1-4 in Big Ten); Penn State (10-0 overall, 4-0 in Big Ten)

Att: 6,393