ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The top-ranked Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team handled No. 11 Michigan 32-9 in a Super Bowl Sunday showdown live on the Big Ten Network Sunday, in a battle between the conference's final two unbeaten teams. By virtue of the win, Penn State clinched at least a share of the 2014 Big Ten regular season title, riding three straight technical falls to a lop-sided win. Head coach Cael Sanderson's crew won eight of ten bouts in the victory.
With two-time All-American Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), ranked No. 2 at 125, not making the weekend trip due to illness, sophomore Jordan Conaway (Abbottstown, Pa.) got the nod at 125 and controlled Conor Youtsey for a strong 9-4 win. 16th-ranked Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.) then silenced a raucous sell-out crowd with a strong 9-0 major over Rossi Bruno at 133. True freshman Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), ranked No. 2 at 141, remained unbeaten with a dominating 7-1 win over No. 13 Steve Dutton, rolling up 2:20 in riding time in the process and putting Penn State up 10-0
At 149, junior Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) nearly pulled off an upset of No. 7 Eric Grajales. Alton bolted out to an 8-5 lead and led by two late. But a last second Grajales takedown ended with a Michigan fall at the 6:56 mark, briefly cutting into Penn State's lead. But All-American Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), ranked No. 4 at 157, responded in fine fashion with a thrilling 3-1 (SV2) decision over No. 14 Brian Murphy, sending Penn State into halftime with a 13-6 lead.
After intermission, three-time All-American David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), ranked No. 1 at 165, posted yet another impressive win over a top-ten opponent, rolling through No. 6 Dan Yates on his way to a 17-2 tech fall at the 5:13 mark. All-American Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), ranked No. 3 at 174, posted a tech fall of his own, notching a 21-6 win at the 5:35 mark over UM's Collin Zeerip. At 184, three-time All-American Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), ranked No. 2 nationally, made it three straight tech falls, rolling to a 17-2 win over No. 20 Domenic Abounader at the 5:39 mark to put Penn State up 28-6.
Seventh-ranked sophomore Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.) continued the bonus point parade at 197, majoring Chris Heald 17-1. Junior Jon Gingrich (Wingate, Pa.) nearly upset No. 2 Adam Coon, but the Wolverine heavyweight fought off a late Gingrich shot to escape with a 2-1 win. Still, the Lions' eight wins led to a 32-9 victory and kept Penn State unbeaten on the year.
Penn State won the takedown battle with a 31-5 edge. Taylor improves to 23-0 on the year with 11 pins, seven tech falls and five majors. He his 123-3 all-time, seventh on Penn State's career wins list. He moves to 31-0 in Big Ten duals and is 52-0 all-time against Big Ten competition. Ruth is now 22-1 on the year with eight pins, eight tech falls and six majors. He is 124-3 on the year, fifth all-time at Penn State. Ruth improves to 31-0 in Big Ten duals and is 53-0 all-time against Big Ten competition.
Retherford remains unbeaten on the year with a 23-0 record, including four pins, two tech falls and seven majors. Dylan Alton is also unbeaten at 15-0 with three pins and a major. Brown moves to 23-1 with six pins, four tech falls and seven majors while McIntosh improves to 22-2 with four pins and ten majors.
Penn State is now 13-0 on the year, 7-0 in Big Ten duals, clinching at least a share of the Big Ten regular season (dual meet) crown. Michigan moves to 9-3, 5-1 B1G. The Nittany Lions continue a three-game Big Ten road swing when they trek to Minneapolis on Sunday, Feb. 9, for a 2 p.m. (Eastern) match-up with No. 3 Minnesota.
--Penn State Athletic Communications