Penn State’s Zain Retherford battles Iowa’s Josh Dziewa at 141 pounds on Saturday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Darren Miller photo.
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Penn State sent a strong message to the rest of the college wrestling world heading into the holiday break.
The top-ranked Nittany Lions are loading up for a run at winning their fourth straight NCAA team title.
Visiting Penn State was missing two starters, but still flexed plenty of muscle in a 24-12 win over No. 2 Iowa before 13,747 fans Saturday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena
The Nittany Lions won 7 of 10 bouts before a huge Hawkeye crowd that gathered despite a batch of bad winter weather in Iowa.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said. “It’s still early in the season and we can still make a lot of progress. That’s kind of our plan, to get better each match. This gives us a good idea of what we need to work on when you wrestle against a good team like Iowa.”
The teams agreed to meet in what became a much-anticipated non-conference dual since they are not scheduled to meet in a Big Ten Conference dual this year.
“You have to go forward and put it behind you,” Iowa coach Tom Brands said. “We got blown off our home mat. I think they had first-period takedowns in eight matches. Those are things that cannot happen if you’re going to win matches. The only thing good that happened was for them.”
Penn State held an 18-10 edge in total takedowns. The Nittany Lions earned 15 takedowns while the Hawkeyes recorded none in the final five bouts after intermission.
NCAA champion and top-ranked David Taylor of Penn State looked dominant in notching a 12-3 major decision over Iowa’s Nick Moore at 165. Taylor is a three-time NCAA finalist and 2013 World University bronze medalist in freestyle.
“We are an offensive team and we are going out there to score points,” Taylor said. “You got to go out against a team like Iowa and put it on the line. We need to build leads and keep wrestling hard. We knew what to expect coming in here. I’m really proud of our guys. We wrestled hard. This was a good win and a good challenge for us. We need to keep working to improve.”
NCAA runner-up Matt Brown of Penn State shot in on a first-period takedown en route to a 4-1 win over Iowa All-American Mike Evans at 174. Evans beat Brown in a dual meet here last season.
Two-time NCAA champion and top-ranked Ed Ruth of Penn State earned a 12-4 major decision over No. 2 Ethen Lofthouse of Iowa at 184. Ruth controlled the match by scoring five takedowns on an array of leg shots.
Ruth, a senior, has won 80 straight matches in college. He hasn’t lost since his freshman year.
“Ed Ruth did a great job,” Sanderson said. “Lofthouse is strong and he’s tough to finish on. Ed kept shooting and found a way to get a major decision. Ed’s a machine.”
Penn State clinched the team win when sophomore Morgan McIntosh downed Iowa’s Sammy Brooks 16-4 at 197.
All-American Bobby Telford of Iowa used a late reversal to rally past PSU’s Jimmy Lawson 3-2 at heavyweight.
NCAA runner-up Tony Ramos of Iowa took charge with three first-period takedowns and then finished off PSU freshman Jimmy Gulibon for a fall early in the third period at 133 as the huge crowd erupted.
“I knew I had to come out strong after we lost the first match at 125,” Ramos said. “I could feel him getting tired in the third period. When you’re tired and you’re worn out and getting beat on, you’re going to make a mistake and slip up somewhere. I was ready to take advantage when that happened.”
2012 Cadet World champion Zain Retherford of Penn State fired in on a leg attack and finished for a third-period takedown in downing Iowa’s Josh Dziewa 4-2 at 141.
“Zain Retherford wrestles with a maturity that you don’t see very many guys have at the college level and he’s a true freshman,” Taylor said. “He’s a very special kid. He loves the limelight and he was excited to wrestle here.”
PSU’s Zack Beitz hit a five-point move with a takedown and three-point near fall to break a 1-1 tie late in downing Iowa’s Michael Kelly 6-1 at 149.
NCAA champion Derek St. John of Iowa downed Penn State backup James Vollrath 10-4 at 157. St. John has placed fourth, second and first in the NCAAs.
Two-time NCAA runner-up Nico Megaludis of Penn State shot in on a leg attack and finished for a takedown late in the second period en route to a 4-1 win over Iowa freshman Thomas Gilman to start the dual at 125.
Gilman, a past U.S. Junior and Cadet World Team member, escaped to draw within 3-1 in the third period but was unable to finish a late shot attempt as time expired. Megaludis added a riding-time point for the final margin.
Gilman was wrestling his first match at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Freshman Cory Clark, ranked fourth, had been competing for Iowa at 125.
“We have two competitive guys there and guys that are capable,” Brands said. “Cory Clark is adjusting to the weight and the one-hour weigh-in. We will have Gilman and Clark both wrestle at the Midlands.”
IOWA VS. PENN STATE
Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, Iowa, Dec. 21, 2013
Penn State 24, Iowa 12
125 – Nico Megaludis (Penn State) dec. Thomas Gilman (Iowa), 4-1
133 – Tony Ramos (Iowa) pinned Jimmy Gulibon (Penn State), 5:22
141 – Zain Retherford (Penn State) dec. Josh Dziewa (Iowa), 4-2
149 – Zack Beitz (Penn State) dec. Michael Kelly (Iowa), 6-1
157 – Derek St. John (Iowa) dec. James Vollrath (Penn State), 10-4
165 – David Taylor (Penn State) dec. Nick Moore (Iowa), 12-3
174 – Matt Brown (Penn State) dec. Mike Evans (Iowa), 4-1
184 – Ed Ruth (Penn State) dec. Ethen Lofthouse (Iowa), 12-4
197 – Morgan McIntosh (Penn State) dec. Sammy Brooks (Iowa), 16-4
285 – Bobby Telford (Iowa) dec. Jimmy Lawson (Penn State), 3-2