PSU locks up share of Big Ten title

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Top-ranked Penn State pummeled No. 19 Illinois in the Big Ten dual meet finale.

Penn State won eight of ten bouts to post a 39-9 win over the homestanding Illini, helping secure Penn State at least a share of its sixth Big Ten regular season (dual meet) title. Penn State has won or shared four straight Big Ten regular season crowns.

The dual began at 125 where sophomore Devin Schnupp was pinned by No. 12 Travis Piotrowski at the 1:03 mark to give Illinois an early 6-0 lead. Senior Scott Stossel stepped in at 133 for true freshman Roman Bravo-Young, ranked No. 11 at 133, who returned to Tucson for a funeral. Stossel used takedowns in the second and third periods and added 1:40 in riding time to post a 6-4 win over Joshua Contreras, picking up his first dual victory as a Nittany Lion.

Sophomore Nick Lee, ranked No. 2 at 141, put on an offensive clinic in downing Illinois’ Abdullah Assaf. Lee had four takedowns and three turns, including a four-pointer in the second period to post the 17-2 technical fall at the 3:48 mark. Lee’s win put Penn State up 8-6 after three bouts.

Redshirt freshman Brady Berge, ranked No. 11 at 149, returned to the lineup and was impressive in a 15-4 major over Illinois’ Christian Kanzler. Senior Jason Nolf, ranked No. 1 at 157, then dominated No. 10 Eric Barone. Nolf built up a 12-1 lead before Barone, after a second injury timeout, was unable to continue, giving Nolf the injury default victory at the 5:25 mark. Nolf’s win put Penn State up 18-6 at the midway point.

Junior Vincenzo Joseph, ranked No. 1 at 165, rolled through Nick Gasbarro to keep Penn State charging. Joseph notched six takedowns and amassed 4:37 in riding time to post the 15-4 major and put Penn State up 22-6. Junior Mark Hall, ranked No. 1 at 174, made short work of Illinois’ Carver James. Hall turned a first period takedown into one two point turn before resetting and pinning James at the 2:20 mark in the first period.

Redshirt freshman Mason Manville once again moved up from 165 to 184 for No. 2 Shakur Rasheed and battled No. 7 Emery Parker tough for seven minutes before dropping a close 7-3 decision. Senior Bo Nickal, ranked No. 1 at 197, racked up six takedowns and two near falls on his way to a 19-3 tech fall over Matt Wroblewski, getting the tech at the 6:49 mark to put Penn State up 33-9. Senior Anthony Cassar, ranked No. 3 at 285, finished off Penn State’s dominating performance by pinning Deuce Rachal at the 2:06 mark, locking the Illini up and tossing him to his back in seconds for the fall. Cassar’s pin made the final 39-9 for the Nittany Lions.

Penn State dominated the dual from start to finish, posting a 28-5 takedown advantage. The Lions tallied 15 bonus points off two pins (Hall, Cassar), an injury default (Nolf), two tech falls (Lee, Nickal) and two majors (Berge, Joseph). Hall picked up his 29th career pin. Nickal now has 111 career wins while Nolf has 108.

The Nittany Lions have now won 58 straight dual meets dating back to the end of the 2014-15 season. Sanderson’s Lions won their last dual of that campaign, went 16-0 in 2015-16, went 14-0 in 2016-17 and went 14-0 in 2017-18. Penn State is now 13-0, 9-0 in the Big Ten and finish the Big Ten season with a 9-0 mark for the fourth straight year. Illinois falls to 2-9, 1-8 B1G.

125: #12 Travis Piotrowski ILL pinned Devin Schnupp PSU, WBF (1:03); 133: Scott Stossel PSU dec. Joshua Contreras ILL, 6-4; 141: #2 Nick Lee PSU tech fall Abdullah Assaf ILL, 17-2 (TF; 3:48); 149: #11 Brady Berge PSU maj. dec. Christian Kanzler ILL, 15-4; 157: #1 Jason Nolf PSU inj. def. #10 Eric Barone ILL, Inj.Def. (5:25; Nolf up 12-1); 165: #1 Vincenzo Joseph PSU maj. dec. Nick Gasbarro ILL, 15-4.

174: #1 Mark Hall PSU pinned Carver James ILL, WBF (2:20); 184: #7 Emery Parker ILL dec. Mason Manville PSU, 7-3; 197: #1 Bo Nickal PSU tech fall Matt Wroblewski ILL, 19-3 (TF; 6:49); 285: #3 Anthony Cassar PSU pinned Deuce Rachal ILL, WBF (2:06)

Records: Penn State (13-0, 9-0 B1G), Illinois (2-9, 1-8 B1G)