There may have been a new football sheriff in the building. But Sunday at Rec Hall, it was more of the same for thePenn State wrestling team.
The Nittany Lions won nine of 10 bouts — and all five after new head football coach James Franklin was introduced at intermission — to blast Purdue 34-3 in front of 6,369 fans.
Man of the Match: On a day where the Lions did little to inspire excitement, the pick is Franklin, who showed up 50 minutes before the match began to sign autographs and meet fans. Then he chatted with wrestling coach Cael Sanderson before things got underway at 125 pounds.
The new grid coach stayed long enough to see David Taylor's pin (in 2:23) over Purdue's Chad Welch at 165 pounds. It was then time for the family to leave, and Franklin bowed to Taylor. A few moments earlier, he had been introduced to the crowd, along with his wife Fumi and two daughters. After a brief speech, the head coach said, "We Are" followed by daughter Shola saying "Penn" and sister Addy saying "State."
"He came in the locker room for just a second, but I'm looking forward to meeting him," Sanderson said. "He's going to be great for Penn State, and I'm looking forward to getting to know him. He seems like a great man."
Fall of the Match: The nod here goes to Taylor, who ran an arm bar to pin Welch after staking out to a 6-2 lead. It was his 47th career pin, which puts him six falls behind the Lions all-time record of 53.
Back in Action: Twins Andrew (149 pounds) and Dylan (157) Alton both made their 2013-14 Rec Hall debuts Saturday after sitting out the first half of the season due to injuries, and both came away victorious.
Andrew sneaked past Boiilermaker Brandon Nelson 7-6 despite surrendering three third period penalty points to put the riding time counter in play. He finished with 1:27 in riding time to earn the win.
"It felt good," Andrew Alton said. "I just need to get more mentally prepared. I wouldn't say I was tired, because I don't get tired in practice. I just need to get more of an urgency in the third period to get off bottom and keep scoring points."
The 149-pounder briefly had the match stopped after coming off bottom favoring his left shoulder — he had surgery on his right — but said afterward he had just cracked it and brushed it off as no big deal.
Brother Dylan scored two takedowns and escaped once to win his bout 6-1 over Dustin Schultz, accumulating 2:37 of riding time in the process.
"I plan on getting better every match out there, and I was feeling pretty good to compete again in Rec Hall," Dylan Alton said. "It's hard; you want to get back there on the mat as soon as possible. We were patient, and now we're ready to get back on the mat."
Sanderson was asked to evaluate both grapplers after the dual.
"It was good to see the Altons back in there, and that's part of the process for them," Sanderson said. "They are not 100 percent yet, but they've got to get out there because we are running out of time. We have to make a decision one way or the other.
"Those Purdue kids wrestled hard, and that was the game plan to try and make that conditioning a factor, and it almost worked there. We have to figure it out."
Stepping Up and Back: At the Southern Scuffle, it appeared 133-pounder Jimmy Gulibon had taken a step forward after a first half that saw him struggles at times to get out from underneath. Sunday, though, it appeared he took a step back.
Gullibon dropped a 9-2 decision to Purdue's Cache Quiroga, surrendering a pair of takedowns and three near fall points. The loss dropped his season record to 9-8.
"He just didn't have a whole lot in him out there," Sanderson said. "We're trying to figure that out because we know how good Jimmy is, but you've got to wrestle and have to score points and have to have some life and some focus.
"You have to wrestle like you want it, and he has to figure that out. Weight has been an issue for him, and that's one of the things we are trying to figure out right now."
Quotable/Notable: Sanderson, on his team's performance:
"I thought we saw some good things. Our guys that are real consistent were real consistent, and we saw some lows in a few weight classes. That's kind of frustrating, but we don't judge our performance based on the score, we judge it based on performance.
"I don't think we are too happy with the way we competed today, and a lot of that has to do with the way we trained them this week. We were coming in a little cold maybe, but still, you've got to find a way to be at your best regardless. It's all a part of the process."