No. 1 Penn State Upset by No. 10 Nebraska in Quarterfinals of 2008 National Duals
Jan. 12, 2008
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa; - The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team, ranked No. 1 in the nation and the top seed at the 2008 National Duals, were upset 19-3 by No. 10 Nebraska in the quarterfinals of the tournament. Penn State became the latest in a list of No. 1 ranked teams to suffer losses, joining Minnesota, Iowa State and Iowa as top-ranked teams to tumble from their perch.
With Nebraska featuring a line-up that consisted of nine ranked grapplers, the tournament seeds were thrown out the window as two national heavyweights took to the mat. The Huskers won six of ten bouts, including a critical upset win at 141 pounds, to out-distance the Nittany Lions of head coach Troy Sunderland.
Despite the loss, however, Penn State got four quality wins in the dual. Sophomore Bubba Jenkins (Virginia Beach, Va.), ranked No. 4, took down No. 6 Jordan Burroughs 3-2 at 149; sophomore Dan Vallimont (Lake Hopatcong, N.J.), ranked No. 10, posted a solid 11-6 win over No. 18 Chris Oliver at 157; No. 2 Phil Davis (Harrisburg, Pa.) continued his torrid start at 197, posting an 8-0 major over No. 4 Craig Brester; and heavyweight John Laboranti (Pittston, Pa.) posted his second win of the day, defeating No. 19 Jon May 3-1 (sv) at HWT. Jenkins, Vallimont and Davis remain undefeated with their wins.
Nebraska got out to a fast start, getting a major at 125 and then two decisions, including unranked Robert Sanders' 6-4 win over Nittany Lion Jake Strayer (South Fork, Pa.), ranked No. 2 at 141. Nebraska also got close decisions at 165, 174 and 184 to pull out the victory. The teams split bonus points with each team tallying one.
Penn State, now 6-1 on the year, awaits the winner of No. 15 Indiana and No. 19 Cornell in the consolations. That dual will take place at 6 p.m. (Eastern).
#1 Penn State 13, #10 Nebraska 19
125: #1 Paul Donahoe NEB maj. dec. #7 Mark McKnight PSU, 13-4 0-4
Final Score: #1 Penn State 13, #10 Nebraska 19
PSU Record: 6-1, Nebraska 8-1
Up next: #1 Penn State vs. #15 Indiana/#19 Cornell winner, tonight 6 p.m. (Eastern)
BOUT BY BOUT:
125: In a critical match-up of ranked wrestlers to start the match, Penn State's Mark McKnight (McDonald, Pa.) put his No. 7 nod on the line against Nebraska's No. 1 Paul Donahoe at 125. Each wrestler traded early shots with neither giving an inch. Midway through the period, McKnight got hold of Donahoe's right ankle and a mad scramble ensued as each wrestler looked to take advantage of the opportunity. But the action ended in a stalemate. Both grapplers looked to assert their styles throughout the first period and a frenetic three minutes ended in a scoreless tie. McKnight chose down to begin the middle period and escaped just :14 into the stanza to take a 1-0 lead. Another tie-up in the middle of the mat led to another stalemate with neither grappler willing to give up the first takedown. But after the reset, Donahoe got that early offensive punch with a swift takedown on the edge of the mat to take a 2-1 lead. McKnight quickly escaped, however, to tie the bout at 2-2 with one minute too wrestle. The Lion senior continued working Donahoe's ankles, but each time the top ranked Husker would fight through the move and force a reset in the center circle. Another scramble at the end of the period, however, did result in a second Donahoe takedown as the buzzer sounded and the NU wrestler took a 4-2 lead into the final period. Donahoe chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 5-2 lead. Sensing victory, he added a third takedown to up his margin to 7-3 and began looking for bonus points. Donahoe quickly added two more takedowns to move out to an 11-4 lead with :50 left. McKnight gave up a stall point while being ridden out and the Husker All-American posted a convincing 13-4 major decision. The loss was McKnight's first of the year and the four-point victory gave NU and early 4-0 lead.
133: Senior Tim Haas (Camp Hill, Pa.) faced a stern test at 133 in No. 6 Kenny Jordan of Nebraska. Haas and Jordan engaged in a lengthy scramble mid-mat throughout the first period's early seconds, with no one coming out with a takedown. Haas continued to battle Jordan tough throughout the remainder of the first period, not giving the ranked Husker wrestler any openings and sending the bout to the second period tied 0-0. Jordan chose down to start the middle stanza and escaped to a 1-0 lead. Haas took a couple shots early in the second, but Jordan managed to step back out of any danger to maintain his slim lead. A fast double-leg from Jordan at the :55 mark led to another scramble, with Haas working to maintain control of Jordan's ankle to force a stalemate, which he did at the :27 mark. Down 1-0, Haas chose down to begin the final period. Jordan managed a solid ride, keeping control of Haas for the entirety of the third stanza and avoiding a major upset with a 2-0 decision. Still, NU's two quick wins out of the gates put the Huskers up 7-0.
141: Junior All-American Jake Strayer (South Fork, Pa.), ranked No. 2 nationally at 141, met Nebraska's Mike Rowe. The only unranked Husker in Nebraska's line-up, Rowe still got the bout's first takedown at the 1:40 mark to take an early 2-0 lead. After a long break to take care of some blood on the mat, Strayer turned the reset into a critical two-point reversal as the first period ended, following through on a long scramble in the waning seconds to knot the bout. Tied 2-2, Rowe chose down to begin the second period. The decision gave Strayer the opportunity to put together a very strong ride on top before Rowe escaped to a 3-2 lead. Down 3-2, Strayer chose down to begin the final period, but he had only :16 to escape before Rowe would hold a 1-0 edge in riding time. Strayer managed to turn the decision into a two point reversal and take a 4-3 lead with 1:23 left to wrestle in the match. With riding time not a factor as of yet, Strayer then got reversed himself to fall back behind 5-4 with under a minute to wrestle. Forcing another scramble, the Nittany Lion junior worked his way underneath Rowe as time wound down but could not complete his own reversal. The stunning 6-4 upset win by Rowe put the Huskers up 10-0 just three bouts into the dual.
149: In one of many match-ups featuring top ranked individuals, Penn State sophomore Bubba Jenkins (Virginia Beach, Va.) met Nebraska's Jordan Burroughs at 149. Jenkins entered the bout ranked No. 4 while Burroughs was No. 6. Each wrestler kept the other at a distance throughout the bulk of the first period and action entered the second stanza tied at 0-0. Jenkins chose down to start the second period and quickly reversed Burroughs to take a 2-1 lead after Burroughs escaped with 1:30 to wrestle in the period. Burroughs had a small opening, going high on Jenkins' left leg, but the Nittany Lion sophomore managed to hold the attack off and keep his slim lead heading to the final period. Down by one, Burroughs chose down to begin the third period but could not break free of Jenkins ride. With just over :30 gone in the period, action moved out of the circle and off the mat where Jenkins knee hit hard on the flooring of the UNI-Dome. After a reset, the powerful Penn State sophomore maintained control long enough to build up a solid riding time edge before Burroughs escaped to a 2-2 tie. Technically down a point, Burroughs began to pressure Jenkins even more. But Jenkins took a second injury timeout and that allowed Burroughs the choice of positions on the reset. With just :15 left and facing a loss due to Jenkins' time advantage, Burroughs chose down. But the Penn State sophomore was up to the task and maintained control long enough for time to expire and post a stirring 3-2 win over the sixth-ranked Husker. The win got Penn State on the board, cutting NU's lead to 10-3.
157: Penn State sophomore Dan Vallimont (Lake Hopatcong, N.J.), No. 10 at 157, met No. 18 Chris Oliver. Vallimont quickly jumped out to a 2-1 lead with a textbook takedown in the first seconds of the match. After a reset, the Nittany Lion sophomore quickly added another takedown to up his lead to 4-2. Working hard on the edge of the mat, Vallimont turned a small opening left by Oliver into yet another takedown and a 6-2 at the :35 mark. Oliver escaped to cut the lead to 6-3 just before the period ended. Oliver chose down to begin the second period and escaped to a 6-4 deficit after :30 worth of work. Vallimont fought off two quick Oliver shots and got his fourth takedown at the :55 mark to push out to an 8-4 edge. Oliver managed an escape with just :01 left on the clock to cut the lead to 8-5 heading to the third and Vallimont chose down to begin the final period. Oliver put together a very strong ride, maintaining control for well over a minute. But Vallimont steadfastly worked from underneath and with just :40 left, notched a decisive reversal to go up 10-5. Oliver escaped with :07 left, but Vallimont's early offense and patience led to an 11-6 victory. The win put Penn State back into business, cutting NU's lead to 10-6.
165: Sophomore Dave Rella (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio) stepped onto the mat at 165 to meet No. 9 Stephen Dwyer of Nebraska. Rella, energized by his success earlier in the day against Chattanooga, battled the talented Husker evenly through the bulk of the first period. Then with :40 left, Rella had the bout's first solid scoring chance, nearly completing a double-leg for two points. But Dwyer fended off the Lion sophomore to keep the bout scoreless. Tied 0-0, Rella chose down to begin the second period. Dwyer, however, maintained his control for just over :50 before Rella escaped to a 1-0 lead. Rella once again looked to score off a double-leg, but this time Dwyer stepped to the side and behind Rella to notch a takedown of his own. The move allowed the Husker to carry a 2-1 lead with 1:27 in riding time into the third period. Up by one, Dwyer chose down to start the third period and escaped to a 3-1 lead. Rella tied the bout up quickly, though, using a forceful double leg to knot the score at 3-3. But needing more than just one takedown to secure a stunning upset, Rella let Dwyer up to a 4-3 lead with 1:30 left to wrestle. Dwyer did not play defense, however, gaining control of Rella's right ankle and working on the edge of the mat to pull him in for another takedown. While not getting the points, precious seconds ticked off the clock before the reset was called with :35 left to wrestle. Dwyer managed to hold off Rella's final shots and post the 5-3 win (with riding time). The victory gave the Huskers a sizeable 13-6 lead with only four bouts left to wrestle.
174: Coming off a hard-fought loss earlier in the day to the 12th-ranked wrestler, No. 17 David Erwin (Urbana, Ohio) met No. 5 Brandon Browne of Nebraska at 174. The Nittany Lion sophomore took the first shot of the bout, and while not scoring, the move helped set the tone for the period. Browne had an early chance of his own to score, but the scrambling Erwin turned it into a two-point takedown of his own just under a minute into the period. Erwin continued to scramble on top, maintaining control as Browne tried to notch not just an escape but a reversal. But a stalemate was called at the :58 mark, forcing a reset with Erwin still in control and building up riding time. The duo continued to scramble in the middle of the mat, with Browne trying to break free but Erwin not allowing the Husker out to carry the 2-0 lead into the second period. Browne chose down to begin the second period and had no better luck early on. Erwin's control allowed him to build up nearly 3:00 in overall raiding time before Browne escaped to cut the lead to 2-1. Browne shot once again at Erwin's left leg, but once again, the Nittany Lion sophomore countered the move, nearly scoring again. Browne, however, continued through with his move and managed to work his way on top of Erwin to take a 3-2 lead at the :17 mark. The Husker then rode Erwin out to keep the 3-2 lead heading into the final period. Down 3-2 with 2:11 in riding time, Erwin chose down to begin the final period and was allowed up to a 3-3 tie. Brown, facing a riding time point, began looking for a decisive takedown in order to avoid the upset loss and got the points at the 1:28 mark. Down by two, an escape quickly to tie the score. But Browne maintained control long enough to work away Erwin's riding time edge and sneak away with a 5-4 win. The victory put Nebraska up by ten, 16-6, with only three bouts left.
184: Penn State junior Phil Bomberger (Port Royale, Pa.), ranked No. 14 at 184, battled No. 10 Vince Jones of Nebraska in the next bout. Bomberger looked to score quickly on the 10th-ranked Husker with a shot out of the blocks. But Jones stepped back to avoid giving up any early points and the first period ended the way it started, tied 0-0. Bomberger chose down to begin the second period and quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead. He followed that off with a textbook takedown at the 1:25 mark to up his lead to 3-1 after a Jones escape. Jones then answered with his own takedown to tie the score at 3-3 with under a minute left, but Bomberger easily escaped to retake a 4-3 lead before the period ended. Down by one, Jones chose down to begin the third period and escaped to a 4-4 tie right away. Bomberger once again looked to score of a double-leg, but Jones fought the move off and then caught Bomberger on the edge of the mat for a four-point move (a takedown and two back-points). The flurry put Jones up 8-5 after an Bomberger escape with just over 1:00 to wrestle. The Husker added one more takedown to ice the bout and post a 10-5 victory. The win also clinched the bout for NU, putting the Huskers up 19-6 with only two bouts remaining to wrestle.
197: In the bout's marquee match-up, Penn State All-American Phil Davis (Harrisburg, Pa.) put his No. 2 ranking at 197 on the line against No. 4 Craig Brester of Nebraska. In a clash of top four wrestlers, the first period was scoreless until Davis took Brester down in the center of the mat to take a 2-0 lead at the :45 mark. Davis would ride Brester out for the remainder of the period to take that lead into the second stanza. The Nittany Lion senior chose down to begin the middle period and escaped to a 3-0 lead with 1:10 left to wrestle in the second period. The three-time All-American added another takedown shortly after escaping and then once again rode Brester out to lead 5-0 after two periods. Brester chose neutral to start the final period. Davis countered a Brester single leg attempt by working around the Husker to get two more points, pushing out to a 7-0 lead with just :20 left. Davis then rode his foe out to notch a convincing 8-0 major decision over the fourth-ranked wrestler in the country. The victory cut NU's lead to 19-10.
HWT: Junior John Laboranti (Pittston, Pa.) met No. 19 Jon May in the dual's final bout. Looking to build off his momentum from his victory in the first round, Laboranti battled the ranked Husker to a scoreless tie after one period. Looking to break that deadlock, May chose down to begin the second period but nearly found himself giving up back points before managing to escape to a 1-0 lead. Neither wrestler had a solid chance to score from their feet during the second period as well. May led by just one after two periods and Laboranti chose down to start the third stanza, looking for an escape to tie the score. After a minute, Laboranti knotted the score at 1-1 with his escape and began looking for a winning takedown. But none was to be had in regulation and action went to a one minute sudden victory period. Laboranti shot early at May's right ankle, gaining control of the Husker and working his way into May's midsection. The Lion junior used his strength to push through and get the takedown, posting a 3-1 (sv) win over the ranked Husker heavyweight. The decision made the final score Nebraska 19, Penn State 13.