The Nittany Lions locked up the 2014 NCAA wrestling title Saturday night in Oklahoma City, securing a pair of national champions — David Taylor at 165 pounds and Ed Ruth at 184 — in the process.
Cael Sanderson's group entered the final session trailing conference foe Minnesota 104-101.5. Of the scenarios that Penn State needed to land a crown, the easiest road was to have both Golden Gopher finalists lose and both of its grapplers win.
That's exactly what happened. Penn State finished with 109.5 points to Minnesota's 104.5. Oklahoma State finished third with a distant 96.5 points.
Ruth kicked things off in a final session by winning his third national title (a program first) with a 7-2 decision over Maryland's Jimmy Sheptock. He didn't secure bonus points, which was initially a cause for concern for the Lions.
The fact was erased, though, when North Carolina State's Nick Gwiazdowski upset Minnesota's Anthony Nelson 4-2 in the heavyweight final. From there, the Lions simply needed a win from Taylor in his title bout to secure the crown. Even that need was eliminated, though, as the Gophers' Dylan Ness fell by major decision, 13-4, to Oklahoma State's Alex Dieringer in the 157-pound title match.
When the dust settled, one bout remained: Taylor opposite Oklahoma State's Tyler Caldwell. The Lion dispatched the Cowboy, 6-0, to finish a perfect 35-0 and claim his second national title.
"Every point," Sanderson told ESPN when asked about the key to the victory. "It's the first day all the way to the last point scored tonight.
"That's what makes this so much fun."
The end of the 2013-14 wrestling season closes the storybook careers of both Taylor and Ruth. Each was a member of the four-for-four title run, providing valuable bonus points year in and year out along the way.
Penn State finished with seven medalists, as Nico Megaludis finished third at 125 pounds, Zain Retherford fifth at 141, James English seventh at 149 pounds, Matt Brown fifth at 174 pounds and Morgan McIntosh seventh at 197 pounds.