COLUMBUS, Ohio Ohio State rebounded nicely from a stunning defeat to Minnesota five days ago by winning eight of 10 matches, including three by pin, and defeating Penn State by a 33-7 score Friday in State College, Pa. The win improved Ohio State’s records to 11-2 overall and to 2-1 in the Big Ten Conference. Penn State falls to 7-9-2 overall and 0-3-2 in the Big Ten.  

Last Sunday against Minnesota, Ohio State let a 16-6 lead after the first six matches slip away by dropping the final four bouts to lose, 18-16. After the match, coach Tom Ryan challenged some of his weight classes to practice to the point where you “get yourself to a completely uncomfortable state and be able to manage that.”

Not sure if that’s the way the team practiced this week or not, but the results suggest that something certainly did click this week in practice.

Ohio State fought to two victories to lead off the match. No. 17 Jason Johnstone decisioned Tim Darling, 9-4, in the opening match of the evening at 157 pounds and then in a battle of two ranked wrestlers, No. 2 Colt Sponseller decisioned No. 20 Dan Vallimont, 8-3, at 165 pounds for an early 6-0 Ohio State lead.

Penn State’s nationally ranked Quentin Wright (No. 16 at 174 pounds), had to battle right to the very end against Dave Rella before escaping and riding to a 3-2 victory to close the gap to 6-3.

In a matter of moments, though, the Buckeyes took control of the match. First, No. 2 Mike Pucillo needed just 1:35 to pin Matt Dodds at 184 pounds and, perhaps stoked by Pucillo’s dominance, Buckeye Cody Gardner secured a 6-3 decision over Jack Decker at 197 to give the team four wins before the break.

Then coming out of the break, Corey Morrison won another close decision, 6-4 over Stefan Tighe, in the heavyweight match to give the Buckeyes considerable confidence heading into the last four matches.

Although Nikko Triggos lost in a major decision to No. 13 Brad Patsky at 125 pounds, the Buckeyes were still in good shape with three stalwarts Reese Humphrey, J Jaggers and Lance Palmer at 133, 141 and 149 pounds, respectively in line to wrestle.

That trio dominated to close out the match. Humphrey, ranked No. 2, decisioned No. 9 Jake Strayer, 8-3. No. 14 Jaggers pinned Frank Molinaro at 3:38 of the second period. And Palmer, ranked No. 4, pinned Colby Pisani, wrestling in place of the injured and unbeaten No. 2 wrestler Bubba Jenkins, at 2:56 of the first period.

The Buckeyes have now won three consecutive matches over Penn State to close a Penn State series lead to 13-10 all-time.

The Buckeyes return from State College to host the Purdue Boilermakers at 5 p.m. Sunday at St. John Arena.

Ohio State Wrestling
Friday, February 6, 2009
Rec Hall
State College, Pa.

Final Score: No. 6 Ohio State 33; Penn State 7
Records: Ohio Sate (11-2; 2-1 Big Ten); Penn State (7-9-2; 0-3-2 Big Ten)
Match Results
157 No. 17 Jason Johnstone (OSU) DEC Tim Darling (PSU), 9-4
165 No. 2 Colt Sponseller  (OSU) DEC No. 20 Dan Vallimont (PSU), 8-3
174 No. 16 Quentin Wright (PSU) DEC Dave Rella (OSU), 3-2
184 No. 2 Mike Pucillo (OSU) PIN Matt Dodds (PSU), 1:35 1st
197 Cody Gardner (OSU) DEC Jack Decker (PSU), 6-3
285 Corey Morrison (OSU) DEC Stefan Tighe (PSU), 6-4
125 No. 13 Brad Pataky (PSU) MAJ DEC Nikko Triggas (OSU), 14-3
133 No. 2 Reese Humphrey (OSU) DEC No. 9 Jake Strayer (PSU), 8-3 
141 No. 14 J Jaggers  (OSU) PIN Frank Molinaro (PSU), 3:38 2nd
149 No. 4 Lance Palmer (OSU) PIN Colby Pisani (PSU), 2:56 1st

All rankings by USA Today/NWCA