The Boilermakers led 11-6 coming out of intermission.
Sophomore 165-pound Hayden Lohrey took on Illinois’s Danny Braunagel. Purdue was trying to shake off a two-dual losing streak in a crucial point of the game.
Lohrey demonstrated his strength with a powerful body slam to end the match only a few seconds after his final takedown. That play got the bench excited and brought the atmosphere into a frenzy.
Purdue (8-3, 2-2 Big Ten) took home a much needed win, taking a score of 25-13 against a veteran Illini roster after dropping two duals against top-ranked opponents.
The dominant performance over Illinois (2-3, 0-3 Big Ten) came off the backs of multiple excellent performances from senior 141 pound Parker Filius, sophomore 174 pound Gerrit Nijenhuis and junior 197 pound Thomas Penola.
Fifth year 125-pound Devin Schroder, one of Purdue’s most accomplished wrestlers, put enough pressure on Illini Justin Cardani to stop him from gaining several takedowns and finish with a 1-0 decision win.
The NCAA released the first coaches’ ranking for 2022 Division 1 wrestlers today, ranking Schroder as No. 9 in his weight class. With the win, he increased his win total to 14 on the season and 109 in his Purdue career.
Freshman Matt Ramos did not find the same success in the next match, losing 3-0 to No. 6 Lucas Byrd.
Senior 141 pound Parker Filius scored the first Boilermaker takedown in his first round against We Rachal. Filius continued to build upon one of the most successful seasons in his college career in the second period when he earned another takedown and eventually scored 12 more points from three called falls. He almost turned his opponent upside down on multiple occasions in an attempt to take an easy win.
He ended the match with a 16-point win, resulting in a tech fall and five more crucial team points for the Boilers.
Filius said he and Rachal wrestled a month earlier. Their prior match was much closer than today due to Rachal controlling the pace and keeping it slow.
“This one i just wanted to go out, wrestle hard, wrestle through a bunch of different positions,” Filius said. “It was a lot different result this time.”
While junior 157-pound Kendall Coleman started his day off by quickly earning two takedowns, Illini wrestler Joe Roberts fought right back with two takedowns of his own.
After a 5-4 first round, the second period slowed down as Coleman started to figure out Roberts’ plan of attack. He mixed up his strikes, dropping down and then popping back up to keep Roberts guessing. Coleman eventually took down Roberts and increased his lead to 8-5.
Purdue’s sideline shouted for 2 points as Coleman landed another takedown in the third.
Coleman’s 10-7 win boosted his record to 11-4 this year along with another 3 point decision for the Boilermakers.
Nijenhuis quickly went to work on 174 pound DJ Shannon by scoring a four-point near fall. Only a few seconds later, he ended the match with a commanding pin. A challenge by Illinois coach Mike Poeta gave the referee a second chance to look at it, but the pin stood and Nijuenhuis won his 14th match of the season.
The 6 points for the pin pushed Purdue’s lead to 20-6.
An aggressive single leg takedown by Penola started off the ninth match of the night. He followed it up with two two-point takedowns. One was due to a strong collar tie causing Nikita Nepomnyashchiy to lose his balance.
Penola turned up the heat on Nepomnyashchiy for the rest of the match. Just like Filius, he ran up the score for a 21-8 win and a major decision.
Despite an overpowering win, Penola said he still needs to improve on his discipline.
“It starts with my hands,” he said. “I wasn’t getting foul calls I thought I would get.”
With a win for the Boilers sealed, senior Michael Woulfe wrapped up the dual. Unfortunately for him, a strong fight was unable to overcome Luke Luffman. Midway through the second, he almost got a near fall, but Luffman was able to escape.
Purdue now looks ahead to No. 8 Wisconsin. They play in Holloway Gymnasium Sunday at 4 p.m. The match will be aired on BTN+.
No. 17 Purdue 25 - Illinois 13
125: No. 15(PUR) def. No. 28 Justin Cardani (ILL), D 1-0
133: No. 6 Lucas Byrd (ILL) def. No. 33(PUR), D 5-0
141: No. 24(PUR) def. We Rachal (ILL), TF 16-0 4:52
149: Christian Kanzler (ILL) def.(PUR), D 3-1
157: No. 9(PUR) def. Joe Roberts (ILL), D 10-7
165:(PUR) def. No. 26 Danny Braunagel (ILL), D 7-5
174: No. 19(PUR) def. DJ Shannon (ILL), Fall 2:00
184: No. 19 Zac Braunagel (ILL) def. No. 28(PUR), D 5-2
197: No. 16(PUR) def. Nikita Nepomnyashchiy (ILL). TF 23-8 6:35
285: No. 17 Luke Luffman (ILL) def.(PUR), 10-2
141:(PUR) def. Josh Contreras (ILL), D 4-2
157:(PUR) def. Jake Reicin (ILL), MD 14-4