Penn State struggle ends Iowa’s winning streak; Lions add a football rookie
Penn State’s defending wrestling champions all passed Friday night. And the Nittany Lions got the better of the defending national champions on their home turf.
Roman Bravo-Young, Nick Lee, Carter Starocci and Aaron Brooks – all of whom won NCAA gold last year as Iowa won the tag team title – all prevailed to give the Nittany Lions a victory 19-13 over Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Lee and Starocci won their overtime games against Jaydin Eyerman and Michael Kemmerer, respectively, to make the difference in the most anticipated matchup of the season in the country.
No. 1 Penn State won the battle of the undefeated to move to 14-0 while No. 2 Iowa fell to 11-1. The Lions’ win ended the Hawkeyes’ Big Ten streak of 28 games.
Iowa had won the last duel between the legendary programs in 2020. It remains Penn State’s only duel loss since 2015, lasting 57 games.
The pandemic wiped out the NCAA Tournament in 2020 and Iowa ended Penn State’s tag team title streak by winning the national crown in 2021.
But the Hawkeyes are now without three-time national champion Spencer Lee, out for the season due to injury. One of his backups at 125 pounds, Drake Ayala, was also unavailable on Friday, and Penn State took advantage with a major decision by Drew Hildebrandt to open the game.
Bravo-Young won a 3-2 decision at 133 before Nick Lee came in with one out in a sudden victory to win at 141.
Trailing 10-0, the Hawkeyes began their rally with a Max Murin win over former Wyoming Seminary Beau Bartlett at 149. Kaleb Young and Alex Marinelli had three straight wins for Iowa over Terrell Barraclough and Brady Berge at 157 and 165, respectively.
But Penn State regrouped at 174 as Starocci retained Kemmerer, who was denied a win in an outright win when a review ruled his takedown came too late. Starocci then took the tiebreaker victory to give Penn State a 13-10 lead in the duel.
Brooks then posted a win at 184 before Max Dean clinched the victory at 197 with a big third period to win the decision.
Iowa’s only upset of the night came at heavyweight when Tony Cassioppi knocked down Greg Kerkvliet.
Lions add a football rookie
Penn State started the day with a football recruiting win, continuing the program’s success in Virginia.
Junior offensive lineman Anthony Donkoh publicly committed to the Lions on Friday afternoon, already becoming the third Virginia offensive lineman to join Penn State’s 2023 recruiting class.
Donkoh joins five-star prospect Alex Birchmeier — the state’s highest-ranked player for the cycle — and Joshua Miller, who previously committed to the Lions.
All three linemen check in at 6ft 5in. Donkoh weighs 310 pounds and is a three-star prospect on Lightridge High School’s 247Sports Composite rankings.
Donkoh chose the Lions over Virginia Tech — where former Lions defensive coordinator Brent Pry is now the head coach — West Virginia and Duke, among others.
Projected as a tackle in college, Donkoh was recently on campus for Penn State’s big junior day earlier this month.
The Lions now have seven total commitments for 2023, good for No. 4 in the national team rankings in composite at this very early stage.
Four of those rookies are from Virginia, joined by Mathias “Mega” Barnwell, who played short end but has the size to be a next-level offensive lineman himself.
Maryland point carrier Neeo Avery, Pittsburgh-area defensive back Lamont Payne and Exeter Township (Berks County) tight end Joey Schlaffer are also early commitments.