PISCATAWAY -- It wasn’t quite the dominating performance that they put on display on Friday night, but the Rutgers wrestling team got the job done as the Scarlet Knights topped Purdue, 27-9, in Big Ten action Sunday afternoon at the Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway.
“Good match. That’s a good Big Ten team. They’re going to win a lot down the road,” said head coach Scott Goodale after the match. “That one had me worried for a long time, they wrestle really hard so overall it was a good team win.”
With the match tied at 3-3 after Rutgers’ (9-2, 3-1) 125-pounder Brandon Paetzell earned an 8-2 decision over Ben Thornton and South Plainfield’s Scott DelVecchio dropped a 5-4 bout in the first tiebreaker period to Purdue’s (8-3, 3-2) Luke Welch, the 11th-ranked Scarlet Knights reeled off three straight bonus point victories to take an 18-3 into intermission.
DelVecchio thought he won when a takedown was called in his favor in the sudden victory, but Purdue challenged and the officials reviewed it and took away the two points and it remained tied. After an escape gave DelVecchio a 4-3 lead, Welch notched a reversal at the buzzer for a 5-4.
“It ruins the flow of the match," Goodale said of review. “But the bottom line is that the ref made the right call. I looked at it later, there was no two. But when you signal two, our guy lets up and tries to spin around. ...It's such a gray area. He should've sat in that cradle. I don't blame Scotty. I don't blame the officials. It’s the right call and that's the way wrestling is going right now with these reviews."
But luckily for Rutgers, fellow former South Plainfield High School star and No. 6 in the country Anthony Ashnault was up next at 141 pounds. Ashnault stymied any momentum the Boilermakers had but winning by major decision (10-0) over Kyle Ayersman. The former Tiger led 7-0 in large part due to a four-point near fall and a takedown, and finished the job in the third period by picking up two stall points and an extra point for over three minutes of riding time. The two-time All-American and 2016 Big Ten champion prevented Ayersman from getting an escape the entire final period.
Then Ken Theobold at 149 pounds recorded his second straight technical fall victory, this time a 15-0 beat down in the first period over Nate Limmex.
“We're fortunate that we have a really good 141-pounder (Ashnault) and he kind of stops the bleeding pretty quick and gets going," said Goodale, who earned his 150th career duel match win at Rutgers. "That's kind of what we needed right there.
“And then Theobold is just a hammer on top right there. ...I like that he made quick work of him Get on top and do your thing. Be dangerous. It was a good match by him.”
Theobold wanted to keep the momentum going in favor of the Scarlet Knights, and he did that in a big way with multiple near falls dominating on top making quick work out on the mat.
“Watching Ashnault go out there and dominate kind of inspired me a little bit to push pace in that first period and seek bonus points," Theobold said. "That’s what I wanted to do. I want to get back to my original self of scoring points and being dominant on top. This match was pretty big for me personally."
John Van Brill picked up six more points for the Scarlet Knights at 157 pounds after Alex Griffin was forced to exit the bout due to injury. Griffin beat Van Brill 5-1 at this season’s Midlands Championships.
After the break, the Boilermakers were able to pick up decisions at 165 and 174 pounds to cut it to 18-9 and make it a match, but No. 14 Nicholas Gravina (184) , Matt Correnti (197), and Razohnn Gross (heavyweight), all managed decision over their Purdue counterparts.
“(The win) sets us up for the national duals,” Goodale said. “If we can do what we’re supposed to do we’ll be in a good spot and obviously we’re going to probably make the national duals at this point so where we’re going to go is how we finish in this conference and we have some big matches coming up.”
With the victory, the Scarlet Knights improve to 3-0 at the RAC this season.
“We wrestle well here, our guys love it here,” Goodale said on the home crowd. “It’s a great wrestling atmosphere. I want it to be louder but we have to give these people something to be loud about. We need more excitement. When our guys are scoring this place gets loud and it's fun. We’ve always been traditionally good at home.”
Rutgers hits the road coming up at Michigan (Jan. 27) and Michigan State (Jan. 29) before returning home on Feb. 5 against Indiana.
No. 11 Rutgers (9-2, 3-1) 27, Purdue (8-3, 3-2) 9
Dual started at 125 pounds
Location: Rutgers Athletic Center (Piscataway, N.J.)
Officials: Nate Chatman and Mike Millward
125: Brandon Paetzell (RU) dec. over Ben Thornton (PU), 8-2; RU leads, 3-0
133: Luke Welch (PU) dec. over Scott DelVecchio (RU), 5-4 (TB-1); Dual tied, 3-3
141: No. 6/6/6 Anthony Ashnault (RU) major dec. over Kyle Ayersman (PU), 10-0; RU leads, 7-3
149: No. 14/16/14 Ken Theobold (RU) tech fall over Nate Limmex (PU), 15-0; RU leads, 12-3
157: No. 18/13/14 John Van Brill (RU) wins by injury default over Alex Griffin (PU); RU leads, 18-3
165: Dylan Lydy (PU) dec. over Willie Scott (RU), 6-4; RU leads, 18-6
174: Jacob Morrisey (PU) dec. over Phillip Bakuckas (RU), 7-4; RU leads, 18-9
184: No. 14/13/14 Nicholas Gravina (RU) dec. over Tanner Lynde (PU), 4-2; RU leads, 21-9
197: Matthew Correnti (RU) dec. over Christian Brunner (PU), 5-2; RU leads, 24-9
HWT: Razohnn Gross (RU) dec. over Tyler Kral (PU), 4-3 (TB-2); RU wins, 27-9
Rankings (-/-/-): InterMat / FloWrestling/The Open Mat
NR denotes not ranked