UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In a battle of No. 1 vs. No. 2 in front of a sold-out crowd at Rec Hall, Ohio State and Penn State split 10 bouts. The top-ranked Nittany Lions (12-0, 8-0 B1G) garnered more bonus points, however, to win the match 19-18 and claim at least a share of the Big Ten regular season title. Luke Pletcher (22-0) and Kyle Snyder (7-0) extended their unbeaten '17-18 campaigns for Ohio State (12-1, 7-1 B1G).
Carson Kuhn, making his Penn State debut after initially competing for Boise State way back in 2009, made the most of his long time off by seizing an 8-7 upper hand after period number one versus Nathan Tomasello. That is where the comeback story would end, however, as Tomasello rattled off 13 points during the final two periods while allowing Kuhn to muster just four escapes. Tack on a riding time tally and Ohio State jumped out to a 4-0 lead on the strength of Tomasello's 21-12 major decision.
Pletcher kept the OSU takedowns coming, notching a pair in the opening frame. He then held on for the 5-4 decision to push Ohio State ahead 7-0.
Joey McKenna registered the biggest Buckeye triumph of the night, downing sixth-ranked and red hot Nick Lee at 141 pounds. McKenna, slotted No. 11 in the Intermat national rankings, squeezed out a 7-6 decision thanks to a 1:32 riding time advantage. Both grapplers posted two takedowns and two escapes, separated by just 92 seconds of McKenna grinding on top.
One could hear a pin drop in Rec Hall moments later as the crowd went silence following a pair of first-period takedowns for Ke-Shawn Hayes on two-time national champion Zain Retherford at 149 pounds. Trailing 4-1, Retherford swiftly flipped the script though, scoring 19 unanswered points to post a 20-4 tech fall and cut the Nittany Lions deficit in half at 10-5.
Micah Jordan hushed the crowd again in the subsequent bout, putting on a takedown clinic vs. Bo Pipher. Jordan racked up 11 takedowns and a reversal en route to a 24-9 tech fall which sent Ohio State into the locker room with a 15-5 advantage in-hand at intermission.
The break in action kindled a hefty response from the Nittany Lions. A string of three straight top-ranked wrestlers took the mat for Penn State following intermission, each delivering victories including major decisions from Vincenzo Joseph and Mark Hall. Then, Anthony Cassar scored the upset of the evening, knocking off one of Ohio State's No. 1-slotted competitors in Kollin Moore. Cassar's 6-3 winner gave Penn State a 19-15 edge.
Kyle Snyder put the Buckeyes back in the win column with his 15-10 decision over No. 6 Nick Nevills, but it ultimately wasn't enough to sway the team total. Snyder owned a half dozen takedowns by bout's end.
COMPLETE BOUT RESULTS
125 lbs | No. 4 Nathan Tomasello (OSU) maj. dec. Carson Kuhn (PSU), 21-12
133 lbs | No. 2 Luke Pletcher (OSU) dec. Corey Keener (PSU), 5-4
141 lbs | No. 11 Joey McKenna (OSU) dec. No. 6 Nick Lee (PSU), 7-6
149 lbs | No. 1 Zain Retherford (PSU) tech fall No. 7 Ke-Shawn Hayes (OSU), 20-4
157 lbs | No. 5 Micah Jordan (OSU) tech fall Bo Pipher (PSU), 24-9
165 lbs | No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph (PSU) maj. dec. No. 14 Te'Shan Campbell (OSU), 12-3
174 lbs | No. 2 Mark Hall (PSU) dec. No. 3 Bo Jordan (OSU), 6-4
184 lbs | No. 1 Bo Nickal (PSU) maj. dec. No. 2 Myles Martin (OSU), 10-2
197 lbs | Anthony Cassar (PSU) dec. No. 1 Kollin Moore (OSU), 6-3
HWT | No. 1 Kyle Snyder (OSU) dec. No. 6 Nick Nevills (PSU), 15-10
Rivalry week begins immediately as the Buckeyes next take the mat up in Ann Arbor at that school up north on Sunday (Feb. 11). The 6 p.m. ET dual will be broadcast live on ESPN2.