STATE COLLEGE, PA. — Major decisions by Nick Dardanes and Dylan Ness helped the No. 1-ranked Gophers wrestling team hold off a furious rally by Penn State and edge the sixth-ranked Nittany Lions 17-16 on Sunday.
Dardanes, at 141 pounds, and Ness, at 157, earned the bonus points needed for the Gophers to post their 17th consecutive dual meet victory and run their unbeaten streak against Penn State to 13 matches. Each team won five matches, but four of Penn State’s victories were by decision (worth three team points) and one by major decision (worth four). The Gophers had three wins by decision and the two majors.
The victory also set up a No. 1- vs.-No. 2 matchup between Minnesota (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) and Iowa (10-0, 5-0) at 6 p.m. Friday at Williams Arena.
Sunday’s dual started at 133, where the Gophers’ top-ranked Chris Dardanes scored a takedown against No. 9 Jimmy Gulibon in the final 30 seconds for a 3-1 victory.
Nick Dardanes, ranked No. 4, followed with his 14-6 major over Kade Moss on the strength of six takedowns. Dardanes’ point for riding time gave him the eight-point separation, good for the major decision.
Penn State (8-2, 4-2) cut Minnesota’s lead to 7-3 when 149-pounder Zach Beitz used a late takedown and three-point nearfall to beat Jake Short 9-4. But Ness, ranked No. 1 at 157, made it 11-3 with a 9-1 major over Cody Law. Ness, who improved to 22-0, also secured the bonus point on riding time.
Nick Wanzek boosted the Gophers’ lead to 14-3 with an 8-4 decision over Garett Hammond.
After intermission, Penn State, the four-time defending NCAA champion, began its comeback, helped by a pair of upsets.
At 174, the Nittany Lions’ fourth-ranked Matt Brown beat No. 3 Logan Storley 4-1 on the strength of a takedown and 2:15 of riding time. That trimmed Minnesota’s lead to 14-6.
Brett Pfarr made it 17-6 for the Gophers with an 11-5 victory over Matt McCutcheon.
But Penn State responded with its second upset win to cut it to 17-9, this one by No. 6 Morgan McIntosh over No. 1 Scott Schiller at 197. McIntosh took Schiller down three times on his way to a 7-4 decision, his second consecutive dual upset of Schiller, who also was ranked No. 1 at the time of last year’s meeting.
The Nittany Lions closed the match with heavyweight Jimmy Lawson’s 3-1 decision over Michael Kroells and 125-pounder Jordan Conaway’s 13-3 major decision over Ethan Lizak. Conaway turned Lizak for two nearfall points late in the match, but Lizak staved off the pin attempt and denied Penn State dual upset.