Wolverines Drop First Big Ten Dual to Top-Ranked Penn State
Eric Grajales

Feb. 2, 2014

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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Cliff Keen Arena)
Score: #1 Penn State 32, #11 Michigan 9
Records: U-M (9-3, 5-1 Big Ten), PSU (13-0, 7-0 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Friday, Feb. 7 -- at Nebraska (Lincoln, Neb.), 7 p.m. CST

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 11-ranked University of Michigan wrestling team saw its seven-match win streak halted by No. 1 Penn State, who claimed eight matches en route to a 32-9 decision and at least a share of the Big Ten Conference dual-meet title on Sunday afternoon (Feb. 2) in front of 1,504 fans at Cliff Keen Arena.

The three-time defending NCAA champion Nittany Lions won in back-to-back swing matches early in the dual and pulled away with four straight bonus wins from its murder's row at the upperweights.

Fifth-year senior Eric Grajales (Brandon, Fla./Brandon HS) provided an early spark for the Wolverines with a dramatic late pin against Andrew Alton in his final appearance at Keen Arena at 149 pounds. Grajales, ranked seventh in the latest InterMat poll, trailed early in the match after giving up takedowns out of flurries early and late in the first period and getting countered for an additional four points.

He chipped away at Alton's advantage with a second-period double leg and subsequent rideout before adding two more takedowns early in the third. He gave up another takedown out of a late flurry but added a pair of stall points to pull within one point in the waning seconds. He kept on the attack, tying up with Alton on the edge and throwing the Nittany Lion to his back to get the pin at the 6:56 mark.

The Wolverines carried the momentum into the next match, where freshman Brian Murphy (Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North HS) forced overtime against fifth-ranked Dylan Alton before ultimately losing 3-1 in the second sudden-victory tiebreaker. Murphy, ranked 14th, fought out of a deep single shot early in the third and just missed on a deep counter attack in the third, running out of time at the buzzer.

Murphy rode out the first tiebreaker and looked to have a reversal in the second before the official waved off his two-point call. He tweaked his knee in the position and called injury time, putting Alton into the bottom position. Murphy rode out the final 10 seconds, again just missing on points when he nearly put Alton in near-fall scenario late. Alton ended the bout less than a minute late, finishing on a single leg midway through the sudden-victory frame.

Michigan won the dual's final match, where second-ranked freshman heavyweight Adam Coon (Fowlerville, Mich./Fowlerville HS) took advantage of a second-period stall to edge Jon Gingrich, 2-1. The wrestlers traded escapes in the second and third periods, but Coon struggled to keep Gingrich near, drawing a warning late in the first before earning the point late in the second.

The Wolverines (9-3, 5-1 Big Ten) will hit the road next weekend for a pair of duals against ranked Big Ten opposition. On Friday (Feb. 7), U-M will head to Lincoln, Neb., to face Nebraska at 7 p.m. CST at the Devaney Center, before closing out the road trip against perennial power Iowa on Sunday (Feb. 9) with a 2 p.m. CST dual at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

#1 Penn State 32, #11 Michigan 9
Individual rankings from InterMat

Match Score
125 -- Jeff Conaway (PSU) dec. Conor Youtsey, 9-4 PSU, 3-0
133 -- #16 Jimmy Gulibon (PSU) major dec. Rossi Bruno, 9-0 PSU, 7-0
141 -- #2 Zain Retherford (PSU) dec. #13 Steve Dutton, 7-1PSU, 10-0
149 -- #7 Eric Grajales (U-M) pinned Andrew Alton, 6:56 PSU, 10-6
157 -- #5 Dylan Alton (PSU) dec. #14 Brian Murphy, 3-1 SV2 PSU, 13-6
165 -- #1 David Taylor (PSU) tech. fall #7 Dan Yates, 17-2 (5:13) PSU, 18-6
174 -- #3 Matt Brown (PSU) tech. fall Collin Zeerip, 21-6 (5:35) PSU, 23-6
184 -- #2 Ed Ruth (PSU) tech. fall #20 Domenic Abounader, 17-2 (5:39) PSU, 28-6
197 -- #7 Morgan McIntosh (PSU) major dec. Chris Heald, 17-7 PSU, 32-6
Hwt -- #2 Adam Coon (U-M) dec. Jon Gingrich, 2-1 PSU, 32-9


• With today's loss, Michigan fell to 24-28 in the all-time series against Penn State. The Nittany Lions have claimed four straight in the series.

• Fifth-year senior Eric Grajales extended his winning streak to seven straight matches. He's won every dual appearance this semester.

• Grajales also went undefeated at home for the second straight year with a perfect 8-0 mark at this season Cliff Keen Arena. He won 19 straight home matches, stretching back into the 2011-12 season. His last home loss was a 6-3 decision to Illinois' Eric Terrazas on Jan. 8, 2012.


Michigan Head Coach Joe McFarland
On the dual ... "Penn State has a great program. Their guys compete really hard. That's where we need to get ourselves. In some matches, they got us defending, and when you're so focused on defending, you just don't have that offensive mindset. We got outhustled in a few matches. We needed to start better than we did today. We just didn't get much momentum from our lightweights. So, this just needs to be a lesson for our program and for these guys. We've been doing a lot of good things -- and we knew Penn State was going to be a big challenge for us -- but we've got to get to that next level as a program. But we'll learn from this and get ready for next weekend."

U-M Fifth-Year Senior Eric Grajales
On his match ... "What really worked is staying persistent. I was tired, but I knew that if I kept going, I could break him and I could continue to score points. I didn't want to rely on a big move too early on. I was trying my best to stick to simple takedowns and putting more and more points on the board. It worked. I wore him down and was able to put him on his back for the pin."

On the team result ... "Penn State is a tough team. They're No. 1 for a reason. Obviously, it wasn't the greatest result, but we had some guys fight hard and we saw areas that we can continue to improve on. We're still a month out from NCAAs, so it's good to see where we can still get better. We'd rather see it now than later."

On looking ahead to the rest of the season ... "You take every day for what it is -- another day to train and get better. I've got six weeks until my last hurrah and NCAAs. I'm just trying to work as hard as I can every day, get a little bit better and stay healthy."

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

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