UNIVERSITY PARK - Given that Ohio State beat Iowa, and Penn State was coming off last week's rare win over the Hawkeyes, Sunday's match between the second-ranked Nittany Lions and fifth-ranked Buckeyes figured to be a close one.
Instead, the Lions treated the Buckeyes as if they were Lock Haven or Bloomsburg.
Penn State won eight of the 10 bouts - only the Stieber brothers, Logan (133) and Hunter (141), won for OSU - pulled away with back-to-back pins by second-ranked All-Americans Ed Ruth at 174 and Quentin Wright at 184 and cruised to a 34-9 win before a sellout crowd of 6,728 at Rec Hall.
It was the seventh dual meet this season that the Lions scored 34 or more points. The Lions (9-1 overall, 5-1 in the Big Ten) were asked afterward if they were surprised by the final score.
"Not at all," said 165-pounder David Taylor, an Ohio native who won by technical fall.
"No, not really," said 149-pounder Frank Molinaro, who won by major decision.
"I thought that was awesome," Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said.
The Lions are so stacked at most weights that maybe they're used to going against stiff competition in the Lorenzo Complex's wrestling room.
"[The wrestlers and coaches] is our room are about as good as you can get anywhere in the world," Sanderson said.
Ohio State coach Tom Ryan, who was without 14th-ranked 149-pounder Cam Tessari and 10th-ranked 184-pounder C.J. Magrum, wouldn't disagree, but he was a little miffed about his team wrestled.
"I thought 157, 197 and heavyweight were all matches that were winnable for us, but they just outworked us today," Ryan said. "We saw passion at home a week ago, and we saw a lack of passion today up and down the lineup. It was a very flat performance overall."
Freshman Nico Megaludis got the Lions off on the right foot with a 6-2 win over Johnni Dejulis at 125. It was 2-2 entering the third, but Megaludis escaped, took Dejulis down with 47 seconds left and earned a riding point with a 2:41 advantage.
Frank Martellotti ran into another 133-pound buzzsaw in third-ranked redshirt freshman Logan Stieber (21-0), who pinned the Lion sophomore in 1:38. Freshman Hunter Stieber built a 6-1 lead on Bryan Pearsall at 141, but Pearsall avoided bonus points and lost, 9-5.
With the Lions losing 9-3, the top-ranked Molinaro began a seven-bout win streak with a dominating 12-0 win over Alex Gordon at 149. Molinaro (21-0) amassed 5:20 in riding time over Gordon, who curiously chose down for the final period.
"I think they were just trying not to give up any more bonus points," Sanderson said. "I think it was a smart choice."
After seventh-ranked Dylan Alton earned a 4-0 win over Josh Demas at 157, the top-ranked Taylor went to work, scoring eight points in the second period on Derek Garcia and six more in the third en route to an 18-3 win in 6:20. Taylor (19-0) pumped his fist toward the PSU crowd after his hand was raised.
Ruth, a fan favorite, has a dangerous cradle, and he used it to pin Nick Hefflin in 2:05, causing the crowd to erupt in celebration. Ruth (21-0) was later voted the Ridge Riley Award winner, which goes to the PSU wrestler with the biggest win.
"I usually don't work on the cradle in the room," Ruth said. "I'm usually working on other things."
Wright built a 9-1 lead on Craig Thomas before hitting a beautiful headlock from the left side and getting the fall in 3:18.
"It's always fun to get a throw," Wright said smiling.
Suddenly the Lions led, 27-9, and the win was assured, so less pressure on 197-pound freshman Morgan McIntosh this week than against Iowa. McIntosh came through in regulation this time with a 5-4 win over Andrew Campolattano, but not before taking an injury timeout for his knee. McIntosh appeared to be all right after the timeout, but he was icing it after the match.
Cameron Wade followed at 285 by scoring all nine points in the third period of a 9-0 major decision over Peter Capone.
"I think our intensity is improving every weekend," Sanderson said.
125-Megaludis, PS, dec. Dejulis, 6-2; 133-L. Stieber, OS, pinned Martellotti, 1:38; 141-H. Stieber, OS, dec. Pearsall, 9-5; 149-Molinaro, PS, maj. dec. Gordon, 12-0; 157-D. Alton, PS, dec. Demas, 4-0.
165-Taylor, PS, tech. fall Garcia, 18-3, 6:20; 174-Ruth, PS, pinned Heflin, 2:05; 184-Wright, PS, pinned Thomas, 3:18; 197-McIntosh, PS, dec. Campolattano, 5-4; 285-Wade, PS, maj. dec. Capone, 9-0.
Records: Ohio State (9-3 overall, 3-3 in Big Ten); Penn State (9-1 overall, 5-1 in Big Ten)