Purdue wrestling put together two ranked upsets to beat Illinois 18-14 Sunday in its final meet of the season, finishing with a winning conference dual meet record.
The dual came down to the last match, where Purdue redshirt freshman No. 25 Thomas Penola competed against Luke Luffman.
Penola opened with a flurry of attacks, finishing a takedown on the edge of the mat to go up 2-1. He took the lead into the second period and was up 3-2 in the third when he earned yet another takedown against a fatigued Luffman for the 5-3 victory.
This is head coach Tony Ersland’s first winning Big Ten season leading the Boilermakers (12-5, 5-4, Big Ten). The win snapped Illinois’ (9-4, 6-3) five-match winning streak, which included three upsets over ranked teams. It was the first home loss of the season for the Fighting Illini and Purdue’s first win over the team since 2010.
One key upset, which allowed for a Boilermaker victory, came from Purdue sophomore Parker Filius against No. 13 Dylan Duncan.
Filius fired first, scoring a blast double in the first period, but lost his lead as Duncan scored at the end of the first period. In the second, he rallied with a 6-point throw, nearly getting a fall. The score was 8-5 in favor of Purdue going into the third period.
Filius chose to start the third period in the bottom position and weathered several turn attempts from Duncan. A stalling point on Filius and a riding time point secured the match 8-7.
Purdue junior Max Lyon also stepped up big with a victory over No. 14 Zac Braunagel. Lyon put together takedowns in the first and third periods for a solid 6-2 win.
In a Big Ten Network interview prior to the match, Ersland cited scoring bonus points and going up early as key to a Purdue victory. In the meet, Purdue found a different path to victory. The Boilers scored zero bonus points, but were able to win six bouts to come away with the dual.
In the 174-pound match, Purdue senior Dylan Lydy came out on top in overtime against Joey Gunther. The win was Lydy’s seventh in overtime, keeping him undefeated in extra time. It put Purdue up 12-11 with three matches to go, meaning that in order to win the meet, Purdue needed to come away with two more bouts, which came from Lyon and Penola.
An interesting match came from Purdue senior Nate Limmex. After an injury against Nebraska last week, 157-pound starter Kendall Coleman was out of the lineup. This gave Limmex, who had to bump up from 151-pounds, one last shot to wrestle for Purdue.
His opponent, senior Eric Barone, got to an early takedown, but despite several shot attempts from Limmex, there were no further takedowns in the match. It ended 4-2.
Sophomore Jared Florell also filled in for an injured senior Christian Brunner. He dropped a close match at 197 pounds.
This was the final dual meet of the regular season. Purdue will return to competition in March for the Big Ten Championship.