No. 1 Minnesota won five of its first seven matches on Sunday against No. 6 Penn State, including major decisions by No. 4 Nick Dardanes (141) and No. 1 Dylan Ness (157), to build up just enough points to hold off the hard-charging Nittany Lions 17-16.
The Gophers improved to 10-0 this season, including 6-0 mark in Big Ten competition. The loss was Penn State’s first at home since January 2011 and drops the Nittany Lions to 8-2 (4-2) this season. Minnesota’s victory sets up a battle of unbeatens this Friday at Williams Arena, when the Gophers host No. 2 Iowa, which also is 10-0 on the year.
Minnesota extended its unbeaten streak against Penn State to 13 matches, a run that stretches back to February 1998 and is tied for the second-longest unbeaten streak the Gophers actively hold against any Big Ten foe. The nation’s top-ranked team has won 29 of its past 30 duals.
In his first match since a third-period comeback against Illinois, No. 1 Chris Dardanes opened Sunday’s dual at 133 against No. 9 Jimmy Gulibon. Dardanes scored a late takedown in the match's final 30 seconds to defeat Gulibon 3-1. He improved his season record to 17-0 and earned a team-best seventh victory against a ranked opponent.
Nick Dardanes followed at 141 with a 14-6 major decision against Kade Moss. Nick secured two takedowns in each period of the match, ultimately sealing the major decision by adding a point for riding time, a result which provided the Gophers with a needed bonus point in the dual.
Penn State earned their first win of the day after a late takedown-near fall combination broke open a 4-4 tie between No. 18 Zack Beitz and Jake Short at 149 and gave Beitz a 9-4 victory.
In the next match, Minnesota's Ness notched a bonus point by earning a 9-1 major decision against Cody Law. The win improved Ness’ record this season to 22-0.
No. 17 Nick Wanzek looked strong against Garett Hammond, controlling the pace and winning an 8-4 decision. The win snapped a three-match losing streak in dual completion for Wanzek and stretched the Gopher lead to 14-3 at the dual’s midway point.
In the eighth installment of their rivalry, No. 3 Logan Storley and No. 4 Matt Brown started the action following the break, with Brown edging Storley 4-1 to improve to 5-3 all-time in the series.
At 184, No. 11 Brett Pfarr took control of his match in the second and third periods, and began looking for a major decision late against No. 16 Matt McCutcheon, cutting him loose after finishing several takedowns but ultimately settling for an 11-5 decision.
Pfarr’s victory would be the last for a Minnesota grappler on the day as the Nittany Lions mounted a comeback. Trailing 17-6, Penn State won the dual’s final three matches, first with an upset at 197 where No. 6 Morgan McIntosh defeated No. 1 Scott Schiller 7-4, and with a narrow victory at 285 where No. 6 Jimmy Lawson held off No. 13 Michael Kroells, 3-1.
With his team leading by five, true freshman Ethan Lizak removed his redshirt and made his collegiate dual debut for the Gophers in his home state against No. 8 Jordan Conaway. Though Lizak dropped a major decision (13-3) by avoiding a tech fall or a pin, he successfully clinched the victory for Minnesota.
|No. 1 Minnesota vs. No. 6 Penn State Match Results|
|133||No. 1 Chris Dardanes (Minn) dec. against No. 9 Jimmy Gulibon (PSU), 3-1
Minnesota 3 – Penn State 0
|141||No. 4 Nick Dardanes (Minn) maj. dec. against Kade Moss (PSU), 14-6
Minnesota 7 – Penn State 0
|149||No. 18 Zack Beitz (PSU) dec. against Jake Short (Minn), 9-4
Minnesota 7 – Penn State 3
|157||No. 1 Dylan Ness (Minn) maj. dec. against Cody Law (PSU), 9-1
Minnesota 11 – Penn State 3
|165||No. 17 Nick Wanzek (Minn) dec. against Garett Hammond (PSU), 8-4
Minnesota 14 – Penn State 3
|174||No. 4 Matt Brown (PSU) dec. against No. 3 Logan Storley (Minn), 4-1
Minnesota 14 – Penn State 6
|184||No. 11 Brett Pfarr (Minn.) dec.against No. 16 Matt McCutcheon (PSU), 11-5
Minnesota 17 – Penn State 6
|197||No. 6 Morgan McIntosh (PSU) dec. against No. 1 Scott Schiller (Minn), 7-4
Minnesota 17 – Penn State 9
|285||No. 6 Jimmy Lawson (PSU) dec. against No. 13 Michael Kroells (Minn), 3-1
Minnesota 17 – Penn State 12
|125||No. 8 Jordan Conaway (PSU) maj. dec.against Ethan Lizak (Minn), 13-3
Minnesota 17 – Penn State 16