1/15/22 Devin Schroder Tristan Lujan

Senior 125-pound Devin Schroder fights off a takedown attempt from Michigan State freshman Tristan Lujan. Schroder would go on to win 3-0 after a late-match takedown gave him a lead he would never relinquish.

Holloway Gymnasium's crowd went through a rollercoaster of emotions as the dual drew on.

They slowly rose as Purdue wrestlers escaped, trapped and pinned their way to victory then dropped when No. 23 Michigan State hit them right back in a 19-16 Spartan win.

The fate of the dual almost came down to a 13-13 tie after Michigan State's Layne Malczewski survived just long enough to outlast a potential last-second comeback from senior 184-pound Max Lyon. Lyon reversed Malczewski after forcing an escape, coming within seconds of taking a 1-point victory after he wrapped up the sophomore's leg, to no avail.

Sophomore 197-pound Thomas Penola, fresh off a close decision loss to Iowa's Jacob Warner, seemed to be the team's only hope of keeping the Boilermakers alive and within the InterMat top 25. He strutted in with the same confidence he had as a top-recruited freshman in last year's duals, seemingly ready to snap his recent slide and take his first victory since early December.

Even then, he just couldn't quite close it.

Six straight points from No. 16 Cameron Caffey proved to be too much for Penola to overcome, even as he held Caffey in a full-weight headlock with 30 seconds left in the match. The Spartans almost ended the night with a 6-point comeback victory, their sixth of the season and first of Big Ten play.

Even as a 6-point victory from senior heavyweight Michael Woulfe kept things alive and tied things up at 16 apiece before sending it into one last match, an overtime loss from sophomore 149 pound Trey Kruse against Michigan State's Eddie Homrock ended the night for the Boilermakers.

Unlike the deafening cheers from Friday's Mackey Arena crowd, Holloway started the night completely silent as the crowd carefully eyed the circling veteran wrestlers in anticipation of their first strike. Each team's benches provided most of the noise, with coaches and wrestlers from both sides barking orders and words of encouragement as they leaned forward in their chairs and watched with held breaths for the match's first points.

Even as the Purdue coaches screamed orders and looked ready to pounce from their seats, Purdue head coach Tony Ersland sat back in his spot with a straight face and one leg crossed, looking calm and collected as he watched one of his most accomplished wrestlers, senior 125-pound Devin Schroder, take on Michigan State freshman Tristan Lujan.

Ersland's patience and resilience wore thin as Schroder wore down Lujan enough to find a small-but-sure opportunity to pin the freshman wrestler. The seven-year head coach leapt out of his chair when Schroder finally pinned his freshman counterpart, seemingly holding himself back from sprinting onto the mat and finishing the match himself as he shouted at Schroder from the sidelines.

The crowd's energy came to a boiling point during a tied match between junior 141-pound Parker Filius and Michigan State's Matt Santos. Despite being a fraction of the full-capacity crowd in Mackey, the crowd erupted with the same booming roar as Filius won by a fall in overtime following a successful challenged call from Ersland.

To Ersland, the team’s and the crowd's energy had been building since a closely-contested match with then-No. 1 Iowa in early February to the same sort of electricity seen in other popular Purdue sports throughout the season.

“People are going to get excited when your wrestlers compete hard and with emotion,” Ersland said. “It gets not only the fans that are in the arena engaged, but it gets your teammates going when your guys battle and fight for each other.”

Purdue ended up splitting their first two lightweight matches featuring Schroder and freshman 133-pound Matt Ramos, who, despite his best efforts, couldn't continue his five-match win streak. 

Just when Purdue had built a comfortable lead against the Spartans, freshman 149-pound Peyton Omania used aggressive strikes and three escape points to wipe away Purdue's advantage and send the Spartans up by one point.

Junior Alec White nearly kicked his way out of Omania's reach in the first period, sending the freshman flying to the edge of the mat as he earned his first escape of the night. Omania fought back as if he were wrestling in his last ever match, diving at White with unmatched speed and ripping his way out of White's grip for quick escapes.

The freshman would end up taking his seventh victory of the season, his first since an early-January matchup against The Citadel's Dane Heberlein.

One down match couldn't keep the highly-ranked Boilermakers down forever.

Just as he had so many times throughout his Purdue career, including an 18-15 tri-dual victory over Rutgers last year, junior 157-pound Kendall Coleman gave the Boilermakers enough momentum to almost push past a ranked Spartan squad with just one loss on the season.

Coleman flipped, bobbed and weaved against No. 12 freshman 159-pound Chase Saldate, using his signature strength and speed to slow down the freshman before finally grappling Saldate and pinning him to the mat. Saldate could do nothing but attempt to escape as Coleman brought him down for four total takedowns, ending the match by emphatically slamming Saldate down on the mat to take a 7-point victory.

Purdue will continue its inter-conference matchups against the No. 21 Illinois Fighting Illini next Friday at 7 p.m. in Holloway Gymnasium. The dual can be streamed on BTN+.

Match Results

No. 12 Purdue 16 - Michigan State 17*

125: No. 14 Devin Schroder (PUR) def. Tristan Lujan (MSU), D 3-0

133: No. 11 Rayvon Foley (MSU) def. Matt Ramos (PUR), MD 11-0

141: No. 24 Parker Filius (PUR) def. Matt Santos (MSU), SV 7-5

149: Peyton Omania (MSU) def. Alec White (PUR), D 5-2

157: No. 9 Kendall Coleman (PUR) def. No. 19 Chase Saldate (MSU), D 10-3

165: Caleb Fish (MSU) def. Hayden Lohrey (PUR), SV 5-3

174: No. 21 Gerrit Nijenhuis (PUR) def. Nathan Jimenez (MSU), MD 11-3

184: No. 29 Layne Malczewski (MSU) def. No. 23 Max Lyon (PUR), D 4-2

197: No. 18 Cam Caffey (MSU) def. No. 15 Thomas Penola (PUR), D 8-1

285: Michael Woulfe (PUR) def. Brad Wilton (MSU), D 10-4

* dual finished tied 16-16, Michigan State wins on criteria of total match points (50-49)

Extra Matches

149: Eddie Homrock (MSU) def. Trey Kruse (PUR), D 6-2

Recommended for you