Gophers fall at Penn State

Minnesota lost to the No. 1 team in the nation Friday.

Owen Mageau

  

The No. 20 Minnesota Golden Gophers (5-4, 2-3 Big Ten) were defeated 35-8 by No. 1 Penn State (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) Friday evening in University Park, Pa. Penn State used energy from their home crowd to overpower the Gophers in just about every match. 

“You know, it’s a tough environment to wrestle in, but I thought some of our guys wrestled well,” head coach Brandon Eggum said following Friday’s dual. 

The only matches that Minnesota earned points in were at 125 and 133. At 125 No. 6 Ethan Lizak recorded a 16-0 tech fall. At 133 Mitch McKee won a 15-8 decision.  Lizak’s performance was big for him after he was upset in Minnesota’s previous dual. In a night where smiles were few and far between for Minnesota, Lizak’s effort at 125 gave his coach a reason to be happy.  

“In particular, it was really nice to see Ethan bounce back and just come out and really attack all the positions,” Eggum said. “You know, when he does those things, good things happen.”

At HWT, Rylee Streifel had a decent performance, despite not coming away with a victory. He lost a 2-0 decision to Penn State’s No. 6 Nick Nevills. One of Nevills’ points came from riding time as well. 

“I think Streifel showed another great effort,” Eggum said. “He continues to wrestle well against these top All American heavy weights and that’s great to see him going out there and fighting.”

With a lopsided score, comes reasons to be disappointed. Minnesota had their fair share of those tonight as well.  

 At 184 and 197, Minnesota lost via the pin. Dylan Anderson was pinned at 184 and Brandon Krone was pinned at 197. Tommy Thorn gave up a 13-3 major decision at 141. 

 In McKee’s victory, he gave up a late takedown to prevent a major decision. Something that had Eggum dissatisfied.

“A few guys I still think lost their focus in matches,” Eggum said. “Like Tommy Thorn at 141 and a couple other matches. Even McKee, having a major decision then trying to do a throw and giving up a takedown near the end. You can’t do those things and so some of those things we have to continue to learn from.”

The biggest take away from this dual and the last couple preceding it for Minnesota is they have to be better in close matches. They just haven’t been winning that many of them. In order to be considered one of the better teams in the country, they need to improve in this area. There’s hope because Eggum knows this and will address it. 

“Over the last couple weekends, some of these top programs in the country, we’ve had some close matches, but we haven’t won a ton of those close ones,” Eggum said. “To be competitive with them, we need to win some of those matches.”

Minnesota will look to go home and right the ship on Sunday when they take on Northwestern at Maturi Pavilion.