In its first major test of the season, the No. 1 ranked Penn State wrestling team (8-1, 5-1 Big Ten) fell to No. 3 Iowa (16-1, 6-0 Big Ten) 22-16 on Friday night in front of a crowd of 15,077 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The dual meet opened with a bang in the 125-pound bout, a rematch of last year’s NCAA championship final. Iowa’s top-ranked Matt McDonough and Penn State’s second-ranked Nico Megaludis went into overtime tied 1-1. The two battled through the sudden-victory first overtime period and into the third where McDonough scored an escape point and held on for a 2-1 decision, putting the Hawkeyes up 3-0.
Iowa extended its lead to 13-0 after winning the next two matches when Penn State showed its first sign of hope. Eighth-ranked at 149, Andrew Alton scored a five-point move en route to a major decision victory, cutting the Hawkeye lead to 13-4.
Andrew’s brother Dylan Alton followed up with a 4-3 loss to Iowa’s top-ranked Derek St. John at 157.
The next bout at 165 momentarily got Penn State back on track as David Taylor scored a technical fall victory, cutting the Iowa lead to 16-9.
All the rankings held to form until the 174-pound bout saw the first upset of the night. Penn State’s fourth-ranked Matt Brown led 3-2 late in the third period when Iowa’s sixth-ranked Mike Evans scored a late takedown for the come from behind 4-3 win.
As expected, Penn State won the next two bouts as No. 1 Ed Ruth notched a major decision victory at 184, and Quentin Wright won 8-3 at 197 over No. 19 Nathan Burak.
It all came down to the final match of the night -- the heavyweights. It was winner-take-all as a win by Iowa would have further solidified its lead and at least a three-point decision for Penn State, would have given the Nittany Lions the dual victory 20-19 by the tiebreaker.
The bout matched Iowa’s sixth-ranked Bobby Telford and Penn State’s No.17 Jon Gingrich. Telford controlled Gingrich from the start and won by a 9-2 decision, finalizing Iowa’s 22-16 dual-meet victory.
Up until this point the two time defending national champion Nittany Lions were rolling along untested. It Penn State’s first loss of the season and its first loss in a dual-meet setting since a loss to Minnesota on Nov. 20, 2011. Penn State next takes to the mats on Sunday at No. 8 Illinois (6-3, 2-3 Big Ten) at 2 p.m.
No. 3 Iowa 22, No.1 Penn State 16
125: No. 1 Matt McDonough IOWA dec. No. 2 Nico Megaludis PSU, 2-1 3-0
133: No. 2 Tony Ramos IOWA pinned Jordan Conaway PSU, WBF (4:23) 9-0
141: No. 8 Mark Ballweg IOWA maj. dec. Bryan Pearsall PSU, 12-2 13-0
149: No. 8 Andrew Alton PSU maj. dec. Brody Grothus IOWA, 18-8 13-4
157: No. 1 Derek St. John IOWA dec. No. 5 Dylan Alton PSU, 4-3 16-4
165: No. 2 David Taylor PSU tech fall No. 13 Nick Moore IOWA, (TF; 5:43) 16-9
174: No. 6 Mike Evans IOWA dec. No. 4 Matt Brown PSU, 4-3 19-9
184: No. 1 Ed Ruth PSU maj. dec. Grant Gambrall IOWA, 21-10 19-13
197: No. 3 Quentin Wright PSU dec. No. 19 Nathan Burak IOWA, 8-3 19-16
285: No. 6 Bobby Telford IOWA dec. No. 17 Jon Gingrich PSU, 9-2 22-16