Senior Jordan Blanton was one of five Illini to drop a tight match against No. 1 Penn State on Sunday.
Feb. 3, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The Fighting Illini wrestling team was defeated by No. 1 Penn State, 37-0 in front of a season best crowd of 1,247. Illinois found itself on the wrong side of the mat, dropping many tight matches including Jesse Delgado (125), Daryl Thomas (133), Steven Rodrigues (141), Jordan Blanton (174) and Mario Gonzalez (197).
"Penn State is very talented but we gave away a lot of matches," head coach Jim Heffernan said. "There were also weights we just didn't do enough with and that's the difference. Our schedule is one of the hardest, but that doesn't mean we can't wrestle at our best and that's an issue."
Competition began at Huff Hall at 125 with one of the two premier wrestlers at the weight. Delgado wrestled No. 2 Nico Megaludis and scored the early takedown in the first period and escaped to make the score 3-1 after the second but was pinned at the 6:45 mark to put Nittany Lions up an early 6-0.
The Nittany Lions got three more points at 133, after No. 7 Daryl Thomas and Jordan Conaway had one of the most exciting matches of the dual. Thomas trailed 5-1 after the second period, but recorded two takedowns and an escape in the third to inch his way closer. Conaway however was too much, winning the bout 8-6. At 141, Rodrigues dropped the bout 2-0 to Bryan Pearsall to push the lead to 12-0.
The Illini then dropped the match at 149 and 157 as Caleb Ervin was beaten by No. 7 Andrew Alton by a 6-3 decision while No. 5 Dylan Alton defeated Nora, 14-6. At 165, Conrad Polz wrestled defending NCAA champion No. 2 David Taylor. After the third period, Polz trailed Taylor 12-2 and worked a crazy scramble to get Taylor onto his back, but time ran out as Taylor defeated the Illini senior 13-7.
At 174, No. 8 Jordan Blanton wrestled No. 4 Matt Brown and scored a takedown with 28 seconds left in the match to pull within two. However, Brown notched the 6-4 victory to give the Nittany Lions three more points, 25-0. Next, No. 16 Tony Dallago wrestled No. 1 Ed Ruth but was quickly pinned in 47 seconds.
At 197, No. 10 Mario Gonzalez took on three-time All-American Quentin Wright. Gonzalez trailed the Nittany Lion 2-1 after the first period, but evened up the score 2-2 after the second. Wright scored an escape and the riding time point to notch the 4-2 victory over Gonzalez. At heavyweight, the Nittany Lions won by a 9-4 decision over Christopher Lopez to win the dual 37-0.
The Orange and Blue will return to Huff Hall when they welcome the No. 3 Iowa Hawkeye's on Friday, Feb. 8. The dual will be aired live on Big Ten Network beginning at 7 p.m. CT.
#1 Penn State 37, #6 Illinois 0
125: #2 Nico Megaludis (PSU) pinned #4 Jesse Delgado (ILL), 6:45 (0-6)
133: Jordan Conway (PSU) dec. #7 Daryl Thomas (ILL), 8-6 (0-9)
141: Bryan Pearsall (PSU) dec. Steven Rodrigues (ILL), 2-0 (0-12)
149: #7 Andrew Alton (PSU) dec. Caleb Ervin (ILL), 6-3 (0-15)
157: #5 Dylan Alton (PSU) maj. dec. Matt Nora (ILL), 14-6 (0-19)
165: #2 David Taylor (PSU) dec. #7 Conrad Polz (ILL), 13-7 (0-22)
174: #4 Matt Brown (PSU) dec. #8 Jordan Blanton (ILL), 6-4 (0-25)
184: #1 Ed Ruth (PSU) pinned #16 Tony Dallago (ILL), 0:47 (0-31)
197: #4 Quentin Wright (PSU) dec. #10 Mario Gonzalez (ILL), 4-2 (0-34)
HWT: Jimmy Lawson (PSU) dec. Chris Lopez (ILL), 9-4 (0-37)