The No. 19 Purdue Boilermakers split their matches in New Jersey this weekend after a loss to No. 15 Minnesota and a narrow Boiler victory against No. 20 Rutgers.
Sunday morning's dual started with two powerhouse 125-pound wrestlers in No. 6 Purdue (2-3) sophomore Devin Schroder and No. 9 Patrick McKee. McKee was the second ranked wrestler Schroder has faced this year, after a loss to Wisconsin's No. 20 Eric Barnett last week.
Schroder continued his pattern of highly contested defensive matches, pushing and pinning McKee while racking up over 1:30 of riding time in the second period in order to prevent McKee from making any moves offensively. He was able to score two points after taking down McKee after his defensive riding time to bring him up 2-1 by the start of the third period.
Schroder kept the pins coming while escaping several McKee counters in the third period. McKee's aggressiveness started to wear down Schroder at the end of the third period, allowing two takedowns and an escape in order to claim a 3-2 victory over Schroder.
All eyes turned to 149-pound sophomore Alec White after the Boilers dropped another match to shift the dual's momentum in the Boilermakers’ favor and give them a fighting chance against the Gophers (4-2).
White was faced with the difficult hurdle of beating No. 11 Michael Blockhus, a wrestler who is 2-2 on the season with a pair of losses to top-10 149-pound wrestlers. White was able to fend off Blockhus's attacks and earn himself two escapes after two takedowns, keeping the match within striking distance of the ranked opponent.
White was unable to finish the match after a brutal leg injury in the first period when he tried to escape a Blockhus leg pin, ending the match after being helped into the locker room. His injury status remains undisclosed.
The Boilermakers were able to score their first points and avoid a shutout after No. 18 197-pound sophomore Thomas Penola sealed a dominating victory over Garrett Joles, winning 11-4 and giving Purdue its first 4 points in the match and cutting Minnesota's lead down to 23.
Penola is now 4-0 on the year. His highest score came against Northwestern's Jon Halvorsen with 21 points.
The Gophers ended in a dominating 32-4 victory over the Boilermakers, who had to regroup and face down Rutgers (0-2) directly after.
133-pound freshman Jacob Rundell was able to hold off No. 6 Sammy Alvarez's attacks with clean swipes and dodges following a dominant victory from Schroder against No. 15 Nic Aguilar.
Alvarez was still able to pull off a takedown after finding an opening and taking down Rundell's ankles, putting him up 2-0 at the end of the first period.
Alvarez's ability to control the atmosphere and the tempo of the strikes on offense gave him the advantage for the rest of the match, taking down Rundell and escaping one more time while denying Rundell any points in a 5-0 victory.
Rutgers officially took the lead after 149-pound senior Michael VanBrill pulled off an upset and defeated No. 12 Griffin Parriott by just 1 point.
The back-and-forth bout filled with several pins ended with Parriott making a reversal takedown on VanBrill, putting him up by one point while scoring his only points of the match.
While VanBrill came within seconds of a match-winning takedown, a leg pin from Parriott ultimately ended VanBrill's chances at a victory, allowing Purdue to retake the lead with three points.
After gaining 6 points and losing 3, the Boilers found themselves in a comfortable position to keep their lead when No. 10 184-pound senior Max Lyon hit the mat against No. 15 John Poznanski.
Poznanski was able to take an early lead after taking down Lyon with a critical leg grab, keeping the lead despite an escape from Lyon in the first period. Poznanski was able to tack on another takedown in the second period to give him a comfortable 2-point lead by the start of the third.
Poznanski was able to retain his lead after wrestling defensively for the rest of the match, allowing just one Lyon takedown on the way to a 7-4 victory. The win put Rutgers within 3 points of Purdue with two matches left in the dual.
A win by Penola over Billy Janzer all but sealed the victory for the Boilers after Penola put the team up 18-12 with just one match to go.
A Rutgers win in the heavyweight match wasn't enough to overcome a 6-point deficit, giving Purdue a 18-15 win while putting them at 1-1 on the day.
Purdue looks to find its way to a .500 record with two matches against Ohio State and Iowa in West Lafayette on Sunday.