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Nittany Lion Wrestlers Dominate No. 8 Illinois for 30-15 Road Win

By Penn State Sports Information Department , 01/23/16, 9:45PM EST

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Nolf pins Isaiah Martinez, one of three Penn State pins in lop-sided win.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- No. 1 Penn State (11-0, 6-0 B1G) rode a furious offensive pace to three pins in a lop-sided 30-15 road win at No. 8 Illinois (9-4, 1-4 B1G). Head coach Cael Sanderson's squad won six of ten bouts, including getting a pin the dual's marquee match-up.

 

Red-shirt freshman Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.) pinned No. 1 Isaiah Martinez of Illinois in the second period at 157, handing the defending NCAA champion his first career loss. Classmate Bo Nickal(Allen, Texas) also pinned a previously unbeaten Illini, getting a third period fall over Zac Brunson at 174. Sophomore Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.) also picked up a fall at 149 for the Lions.

The dual began at 141 where No. 13 Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.) posted a 6-1 win over Mousa Jodeh with 2:53 in riding time. Retherford, ranked No. 1 at 149, followed that victory up with his 12th pin of the year, a 2:10 first period fall over Kyle Langenderfer to put the Nittany Lions up 9-0. Penn State freshman Nolf, ranked No. 3 at 157, then faced No. 1 Isaiah Martinez, ranked No. 1, in one of the dual's most anticipated match-ups. After a 3-3 first period, Nolf's continuous offensive pressure paid off. After taking a 4-3 lead on two Martinez stalls, Nolf turned a scramble into a thrilling win. The Lion freshman scrambled his way to a takedown and then worked Martinez over, picking up the second period pin at the 4:45 mark to put Penn State up 15-0

Red-shirt freshman Shakur Rasheed (Coram, N.Y.), ranked No. 16 at 165, looked to have continued the Lion dominance, taking No. 6 Steve Rodrigues down quickly and locking up a cradle early in the first period. The Illini, appearing flat, was able to rock his way out of trouble before the official could move around to make the call and action resumed. Rodrigues came back in the third for a late takedown to grab a hard-fought 10-9 win. Red-shirt freshman Nickal, ranked No. 1 at 174, was impressive in another meeting of top-five ranked opponents. Nickal broke open a tight bout late against No. 5 Zac Brunson and, after taking a 6-4 lead, Nickal took Brunson down late in the period and then turned the Illini junior for another Penn State pin, getting the fall at the 6:49 mark. The Nittany Lions pin gave Penn State a 21-3 lead heading into intermission.

Sophomore Matt McCutcheon (Apollo, Pa.), ranked no. 10 at 184, was battling Jeff Koepke in the second period when a shot on the edge of the mat had the duo tangled. With McCutcheon being injured on the move and not being able to continue, Koepke got the injury default victory. Senior Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.), ranked No. 1 at 197, dominated Andrew Lee, rolling to a 14-3 major with 3:01 in riding time. True freshman Jan Johnson (Mohnton, Pa.) got the call at 285 for Penn State and dropped a tough 6-2 decision.

Senior Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), ranked No. 4 at 125, then dominated Francis Edelin, rolling up 10 takedowns on his way to a 24-9 technical fall at the 6:50 mark, putting the Nittany Lions up 30-12. Senior Jordan Conaway (Abbottstown, Pa.), ranked no. 5 at 133, closed out the dual against No. 2 Zane Richards in another match-up of top-five ranked foes. Richards used a four point first period to open up an early lead and notched the 8-2 win. Penn State rolled to the 30-15 win.

Penn State is now 11-0, 6-0 in the Big Ten while Illinois falls to 9-4, 1-4 in the conference. The Nittany Lions picked up 12 bonus points on three pins (Retherford, Nolf, Nickal), a tech fall (Megaludis) and a major (McIntosh). Penn State also won the takedown battle 24-12.

Penn State will host No. 10 Michigan on Sunday, Jan. 31, in Rec Hall. The dual, which begins at 2 p.m., has been declared a white-out with fans encouraged to don their white Penn State gear. With the remaining Rec Hall duals already at seated capacity, a limited number of Standing Room Only tickets (SROs) can be purchased for some. Rec Hall SROs may only be purchased by calling 1-800-NITTANY and are $15 per person.

Penn State Fans are encouraged to follow Penn State wrestling via twitter at @pennstateWREST, on Penn State Wrestling's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pennstatewrestling and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/pennstatewrest. The 2015-16 Penn State wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline. This is PENN STATE. WRESTLING lives here.

#1 Penn State 30, #8 Illinois 15 January 23, 2016 -- Champaign, Ill.

141: #13 Jimmy Gulibon PSU dec. Mousa Jodeh ILL, 6-1 3-0 149: #1 Zain Retherford PSU pinned Kyle Langenderfer ILL, WBF (2:10) 9-0 157: #3 Jason Nolf PSU pinned #1 Isaiah Martinez ILL, WBF (4:56) 15-0 165: # 6 Steven Rodrigues ILL dec. #16 Shakur Rasheed PSU, 10-9 15-3 174: #1 Bo Nickal PSU pinned #5 Zac Brunson ILL, WBF (6:49) 21-3 184: Jeff Koepke ILL inj. def. #10 Matt McCutcheon PSU, inj. def. 4:00 21-9 197: #1 Morgan McIntosh PSU maj. dec. Andre Lee ILL, 14-3 25-9 285: #20 Brooks Black ILL dec. Jan Johnson PSU, 6--2 25-12 125: #4 Nico Megaludis PSU tech fall Francis Edelin ILL, 24-9 (TF; 6:50) 30-12 133: #2 Zane Richards ILL dec. #5 Jordan Conaway PSU, 8-2 30-15 Attendance: 1,451 Records: Penn State 11-0, 6-0 B1G; Illinois 9-4, 1-4 B1G Up Next for Penn State: home vs. #10 Michigan, Rec Hall, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2 p.m. -- WHITE OUT

BOUT-BY-BOUT:

141: Junior All-American Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.), ranked No. 13 at 141, met Mousa Jodeh. Gulibon and Jodeh battled evenly for the opening minute-plus of the bout. Gulibon nearly scored on a shot at the midway point that Jodeh slid out of, keeping the bout scoreless down to the 1:00 mark. Gulibon worked a low single into a takedown and a 2-0 lead with :59 on the clock and went to work on top. The Lion junior worked Jodeh for the rest of the period and led 2-0 with :59 in riding time after one. Jodeh chose down to start the second period and Gulibon maintained control. He built his riding time edge up over 1:50 and then cut him loose to a 2-1 lead. He was not able to notch another takedown and led 2-1 with 1:55 in time after two. Gulibon chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 3-1 lead. He countered a Jodeh takedown for another of his own at the 1:10 mark to up his lead to 5-1 with a clinched riding time point. Gulibon spent the rest of the period on top, trying to turn the Illini. The ride-out gave the Lion a 6-1 win with 2:53 in riding time.

149: Sophomore All-American Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 149, took on Kyle Langenderfer. Retherford set the tempo early, staying in Langenderfer's face and forcing the Illini to the outside circle. The Illini spent the first minute-plus backing away from Retherford until the Lion sophomore blew through a high double off a reset to take a 2-0 lead. Retherford then wrapped Langenderfer's arm behind him and turned him to his back. He reset himself for a few seconds and then got the pin at the 2:10 mark of the first period.

157: Red-shirt freshman Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.), ranked No. 3 at 157, met No. 1 Isaiah Martinez, the defending NCAA Champion, who entered the dual meet undefeated as a collegian. Nolf looked to set the tempo early, keeping a fast tempo in the center of the mat. Martinez responded with quick shots on the edge of the mat with neither man breaking through for any offense early, despite the up temp pace. Nolf countered a Martinez shot and worked his way around for takedown and a 2-0 lead at the 1:39 mark. Martinez escaped to a 2-1 score with under a minute to go. Martinez got in on a high single and took Nolf down to take a 3-2 lead with :35 on the clock. After a reset with :20 on the clock, Nolf steadily worked his way to an escape and a 3-3 tie with :02 on the clock. Illinois challenged the escape call but it stood and the bout moved to the second period tied 3-3. Nolf chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 4-3 lead, with Martinez getting a first stall warning. Nolf took a 4-3 lead on a second Martinez stall with 1:10 on the clock. Nolf gained control of Martinez's shoulders at the :30 mark and nearly worked his way around for a takedown but the Illini was able to force a stalemate. Nolf, continuing his furious offensive pace, took a low shot that Martinez tried to counter, forcing a scramble in the middle of the mat. With the momentum in Nolf's favor over the full second period, Nolf turned the scramble into a takedown and then a chance to pick up the pin. The Lion freshman deftly forced Martinez's shoulders flat and got the fall, a second period pin at the 4:56 mark.

165: Red-shirt freshman Shakur Rasheed (Coram, N.Y.), ranked No. 16 at 165, battled No. 6 Steven Rodrigues. Rasheed, like Nolf, set a furious pace and took Rodrigues down on the edge of the mat. The Lion freshman then locked up a cradle and had the Lion flat for the fall, but Rodrigues worked rocked his shoulders before the official could get in position to make the call before he got out of trouble. Rasheed got the four point near fall and led 6-0 lead. Rodrigues escaped and then took the Lion down to cut the lead to 7-3 after a furious opening period. Rodrigues chose down to start the second period and Rasheed maintained control long enough to work up :46 in time before Rodrigues escaped to a 7-4 score. The Illini added a late takedown and Rasheed led 7-6 after two periods. Rasheed chose down to start the third period, escaped and then got takedown down. He escaped to a 9-8 lead but Rodrigues escaped for to take a 10-9 lead with :45 on the clock. Rodrigues rode Rasheed out and posted the 10-9 win.

174: Red-shirt freshman Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas), ranked No. 1 at 174, met No. 5 Zac Brunson. The duo came out and traded fast shots as the high pace of the dual meet continued. Nickal continued to work his way in on high singles, forcing Brunson into counter wrestling. On a reset, Brunson shot before the whistle and worked his way into a double leg as Nickal waited. The takedown call stood and Nickal trailed 2-1 after a quick escape. Trailing 2-1, Nickal chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 2-2 tie. Nickal worked for offense while Brunson played defense. Nickal forced a scramble that ended with Nickal getting a takedown on the edge of the mat with :45 on the clock. Brunson escaped with :15 left in the period and Nickal led 4-3 after two. Brunson chose down to start the third period and Nickal maintained control long enough to build up a 1:01 riding time edge. Brunson's escape tied the bout at 4-4 as the clock ticked below 1:00. Nickal worked a high double into a scramble on the edge of the mat. Brunson tried to counter the move for a go-ahead takedown but the Lion freshman was steady. Nickal moved behind the Illini junior and first got the takedown. Seeing an opening, Nickal turned control of Brunson's arm into a turn and got the fall at the 6:49 mark.

184: Sophomore Matt McCutcheon (Apollo, Pa.), ranked No. 10 at 184, took on Jeff Koepke. McCutcheon forced Koepke backwards, continuing Penn State's fast tempo. With the Illini on defense, the Lion sophomore was able to take an early lead by forcing Koepke's shoulders to the mat and working behind him for two points. McCutcheon put together a strong ride, controlling the Illini until the :49 mark before Koepke escaped. The wrestlers quickly engaged in a scramble in the middle of the mat that killed the final :40 of the opening period. Koepke chose down to start the second period and escaped to a 2-2 tie but McCutcheon had 1:02 in riding time. Koepke worked his way around for a takedown, the duo tangled as action moved to the mat, and McCutcheon was injured. The Lion sophomore could not continue and lost the injury default.

197: Senior All-American Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.), ranked No. 1 at 197, met Andre Lee. McIntosh was steady during the opening period, waiting for an opening and then turning a low single into a takedown and a 2-0 lead. He then put together a strong ride, controlling the action from the top position for over a minute as he rode the Lee out. Leading 2-0 with 1:29 in time, McIntosh chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 3-0 lead. He added another quick takedown and cut Lee loose to a 5-1 score. McIntosh picked up two more takedowns to carry a 9-2 lead with 1:38 in time into the final period. Lee chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 9-3 score. McIntosh blew through a fast shot with 1:15 on the clock to up his lead to 11-3 with a clinched riding time point. He turned Lee for two near fall points and posted the 14-3 major with 3:01 in time.

285: True freshman Jan Johnson (Mohnton, Pa.) faced off against No. 20 Brooks Black. Black worked a low single into a takedown at the 2:03 mark, taking a 2-0 lead early. The ranked Illini was able to control Johnson for 1:12 before the Lion freshman escaped to a 2-1 score. With action resuming in the middle of the mat, Johnson and Black battled evenly for the rest of the period. Black chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 3-1 score. Johnson got hit for a first stall warning with 1:10 left in the period, forcing a reset in the middle of the mat as action moved out of bounds. Trailing 3-1, Johnson chose down to start the third period. Black was able to control Johnson long enough to clinch the riding time. Johnson could not break free of Black's control until the :15 mark. Johnson scrambled for a late takedown as the bout ended but Black countered his shot for another score and posted the 6-2 win with 2:46 in riding time.

125: Senior All-American Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), ranked No. 4 at 125, took on Illinois freshman Francis Edelin. Megaludis set a fast early tempo, working Edelin's head while looking to connect on a low single off of it. Megaludis broke through for the takedown and a 2-0 lead with 1:15 on the clock and then gained control of the Illini's arm, working for a chance to turn him for back points. Edelin scrambled to an escape with :11 on the clock and the Lion senior led 2-1 after one with 1:01 in riding time. Megaludis chose down to start the second period and scrambled his way to a reversal. He then cut Edelin loose and took him down again to lead 6-2. Megaludis went on to add two more takedowns and two back points to lead 12-4 with 1:24 in time after two. Edelin chose down to start the third period and Megaludis cut him loose. He then took him down to up his lead to 14-5. Edelin was injured during a turn attempt and Megaludis chose neutral on the restart. He took him down to a 16-5 lead and cut him to a 16-6 score with 1:00 on the clock. He would roll up three more quick takedowns and posted the 24-9 technical fall at the 6:50 mark.

133: Senior All-American Jordan Conaway (Abbottstown, Pa.), ranked No. 5 at 133, met No. 2 Zane Richards, who entered the dual with a perfect 18-0 mark. Richards came out quick, turning a low single into a takedown and a 2-0 lead out of the gates. Conaway quickly escaped to a 2-1 score and action resumed in the center of the mat. Richards connected on another solid single leg, but Conaway was able to extricate himself and keep the score at 2-1 with 1:00 left in the opening period. Richards notched a last second takedown and led 4-1 after one period. Richards chose down to start the second period and escaped to a 5-1 lead. Conaway looked to score with a solid low single, but Richards was able to counter the effort, force a scramble, and get another takedown to up his lead to 7-1 with :40 on the clock. A Richards ride out gave the Illini a 7-1 lead with :58 in riding time after two periods. Conaway chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 7-2 score. Conaway forced Richards into a stall warning as he looked for his own offense. The Lion continued to shoot, but Richards was able to fight off the Lion's final efforts and, with riding time, posted the 8-2 win.

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