IOWA CITY, Iowa - The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team dropped its first dual meet of the year, falling 22-16 at Iowa in a sold- out Carver-Hawkeye Arena Friday night.
The loss snapped a 20-dual win streak for the Nittany Lions, who fell to 8-1 overall. Iowa is now 16-1.
Iowa, ranked third in the nation, won six of 10 bouts, including three thrilling one-point decisions in the dual's key matchups.
A rematch of last year's NCAA title bout at 125 was the first bout of the night. Penn?State sophomore Nico Megaludis and Iowa senior Matt McDonough did not disappoint.
The duo battled to a 1-1 tie and through a sudden victory period before McDonough was able to ride Megaludis out and then escape in his tie-breaker period for a 2-1 win.
Tony Ramos then pinned Lion freshman Jordan Conaway, handing Conaway his first dual meet loss, to put Iowa up 9-0 early.
Iowa's Matt Ballweg, ranked No. 8 at 141, then posted a 12-2 major over Lion senior Bryan Pearsall, giving Iowa a 13-0 lead. Penn State sophomore Andrew Alton, ranked No. 8 at 149, put Penn State on the board with an 18-8 major over Iowa's Brody Grothus.
That was followed by the Lions' Dylan Alton, ranked No. 5 at 157, battling No. 1 Derek St. John. Like the 125-pound bout, the All-American duo did not disappoint. Alton took a lead midway through the second period and carried that lead into the third.
Alton looked to increase his lead late in the bout, but St. John was able to counter and get a late takedown to post a 4-3 win. The victory, Iowa's fourth in the first five, put the Hawkeyes up 16-4 at the halfway point.
The second half began with a bang for Penn State as All-American David Taylor, ranked No. 2 at 165, dominated No. 13 Nick Moore.
Taylor turned Moore three times in the first period alone and rolled to an 18-2 technical fall at the 6:42 mark.
Iowa won a third battle by a single point. This time, No. 6 Mike Evans used a late third-period counter takedown to down No. 4 Matt Brown at 174, putting the Hawkeyes up 19-9 with only three bouts left.
Penn?State began its comeback bid when all-American Ed Ruth, ranked No. 1 at 184, remained undefeated on the year with a dominating 21-10 major over Iowa's Grant Gambrall.
Fellow all-American teammate Quentin Wright, ranked No. 3 at 197, then pulled Penn State to within striking distance, picking up an 8-3 win over No. 19 Nathan Burak to cut the Iowa lead to 19-16.
In the dual's final bout, No. 6 Bobby Telford of Iowa stopped Penn State's comeback short with a 9-2 win over No. 17 Jon Gingrich at heavyweight.
Despite Iowa winning six of the 10 bouts, Penn State owned a 22-13 lead in takedowns.
Coach Cael?Sanderson's Nittany Lions will wrestle at No. 8 Illinois on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Their next home match is Sunday, Feb. 17, when Rider visits Rec Hall.
125 -- McDonough,?I, dec. Megadulis, 2-1. 133 -- Ramos, I, pinned Conaway, 4:23. 141 -- Ballweg, I, maj. dec. Pearsall, 12-2. 149 -- A. Alton, PSU, maj. dec. Grothus, 18-8. 157 -- St. John, I, dec. D. Alton, 4-3. 165 -- Taylor,?PSU, tech. fall Moore, 18-2, 6:42. 174 -- Evans, I, dec. Brown, 4-3. 184 --?Ruth, PSU, maj. dec. Gambrall, 21-10. 197 --?Wright, PSU, dec. Burak, 8-3. 285 -- Telford, I, dec. Gingrich, 9-2.
Records: Penn State 8-1, 5-1 Big Ten; Iowa 16-1, 6-0 Big Ten