Despite no Nick Lee in the lineup at 141, Penn State delivered a lopsided win thanks to a dominating second half.
No. 9 Drew Hildebrandt started things off with a close win over No. 31 Dylan Shawver. Tied up in the third, the match looked like it was headed to overtime, but Hildebrandt came out on top of a late scramble and notched the winning takedown with just :01 on the clock. No. 1 RBY took care of business at 133 and gave PSU a comfortable 6-0 lead.
Stepping in for Nick Lee, Brandon Meredith faced the tall task of matching up with No. 3 Sebastian Rivera. Rivera came out quick and never looked back. He took down Meredith early in the first then cut him loose to go to work. Rivera then scored 15 unanswered points for a 17-1 tech fall. This put Rutgers right back in it with a team score of 6-5.
Next, one of the most anticipated matchups of the night, was No. 19 Beau Bartlett and No. 18 Michael VanBrill. Regulation was filled with scrambles, tough calls and near takedowns. PSU fans thought Beau won the match in final seconds as he countered a shot from VanBrill and appeared to secure the winning takedown. The refs disagreed, ending regulation in a 3-3 tie and sending the bout to sudden victory. Bartlett came close again with a late scramble that nearly turned into a takedown, but no points. No escapes after two tiebreaker rounds sent the match to tiebreaker two and both wrestlers looked gassed. VanBrill rode out the first round and Bartlett cut VanBrill lose hoping to win it with a takedown. Turns out the third time wasn’t a charm, because Bartlett again got close to that late takedown but didn’t finish. That loss was tough to swallow.
The 157 match also went into sudden victory, junior Tony Negron came close but couldn’t hold on for the win. The Nittany Lions went into the half down 6-11. Rutgers thought just maybe they had a shot.
Senior Brady Berge set the stage for a second half comeback with his return to the lineup at 165 and a much needed win to get the team back on track. No. 1 Carter Starocci followed up with the first bonus point win of the night, a tech fall to take back the lead in the team score. Another anticipated matchup between No. 1 Aaron Brooks and No. 5 John Poznanski wasn’t the nail biter most were hoping for as Brooks rolled to a 10-2 major decision win. Then No. 2 Max Dean topped No. 7 Greg Bulsak in an exciting match that came down to the final minute.
Heavyweight No. 4 Greg Kerkvliet put an exclamation point on the win with a pin in 1 minute and 45 seconds. Penn State moves to 11-0 on the season with a loaded road schedule up ahead.
Penn State hits the road this weekend for a double-header in Michigan. First, they faceoff with No. 3 Wolverines on Friday at 6 p.m. Watch the match live on the Big Ten Network. Then, they hop over to East Lansing on Sunday for another Big Ten matchup with Michigan State. That match starts at 1 p.m. and is available with a subscription to BTN+.
BOUT BY BOUT
PSU - 27, RU - 11
125: PSU No. 9 Drew Hildebrandt dec. RU No. 31 Dylan Shawver RU, 4-2
133: PSU No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young dec. RU No. 20 Joseph Olivieri RU, 11-5
141: RU No. 3 Sebastian Rivera tech fall PSU Brandon Meredith, 17-1 (3:36)
149: RU No. 18 Michael VanBrill dec. PSU No. 19 Beau Bartlett, 4-3 (TB2)
157: RU Robert Kanniard dec. PSU Tony Negron, 6-4 (SV)
165: PSU Brady Berge dec. RU Andrew Clark, 5-1
174: PSU No. 1 Carter Starocci tech fall RU Connor O’Neill, 19-2 (TF; 4:25)
184: PSU No. 1 Aaron Brooks maj. dec. RU No. 5 John Poznanski, 10-2
197: PSU No. 2 Max Dean dec. RU No. 7 Greg Bulsak, 9-6
285: PSU No. 4 Greg Kerkvliet pinned RU Alex Esposito, WBF (1:45)