Nolf ends Martinez's undefeated run, Penn State tops Illinois 30-15

By Pat Donghia, Penn State Athletics | Jan. 23, 2016, 6:45 p.m. (ET)
 Jason Nolf (Penn State) scored a fall over previously
unbeaten NCAA champion Isaiah Martinez (Illinois).
Photo: Tony Rotundo,
EVANSTON, 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 Loins.

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. 5 Zac Brunson 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. Brunson 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.

#1 Penn State 30, #8 Illinois 15
Jan. 23 at 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