It was a special bout for the Lions away from their usual confines, and they won it going away.
This year, Pittsburgh decided it would face Penn State in its own basketball arena, the Petersen Events Center, instead of wrestling at Fitzgerald Fieldhouse.
Unlike Penn State, though, Pittsburgh did not take advantage of the bigger atmosphere.
Morgan McIntosh scored a fall in 4:05 at 197 pounds to all but put the host Panthers away, before heavyweight Jon Gingrich scored a 9-1 major decision to help Penn State to a 24-14 victory over Pittsburgh. here Friday night
"I thought our effort was good," Penn State head coach Cael Sanderson said. "I thought they wrestled hard, made some mistakes, but that's why we compete to see what we need to work on."
A timely fall
This one between the No. 12 Panthers and No. 5 Lions figured to be close. Up until the 197-pound bout between No. 4 McIntosh and PITT's No. 7 Nick Bonaccorsi, it was.
That quickly changed.
Penn State (2-0) saw its lead shrink to 14-12 after Pittsburgh's No. 4 Max Thomusseit finished off an aggressive but overpowered Matt McCutcheon by decision, 5-3, at 184 pounds.
Just two matches remained, and McIntosh knew he had to be the leader he has talked about being all offseason. Friday night, he fit the bill.
The junior took a 5-0 first-period lead with a takedown and a tilt for three back points. Bonaccorsi was down to start the second, and after fidgeting to find position for the first minute of the second period, McIntosh locked Bonaccorsi up with a bow and arrow before flipping his shoulders to the mat to secure the fall.
"I switched little things up, work your leg in there and get the turk; you have to adjust and get the turk, and just put your weight over," McIntosh said of his pinning combination. "It's a little difficult to do, but if you get it just right, it will work."
McIntosh indeed got it just right -- he learned it after repeatedly having it done to him by 2012 Summer Olympics gold medalist Jake Varner in practice -- to swell Penn State's lead to 20-12 and clinch the dual.
"He had to put a couple thing together to score on a good guy like that, and he's been killing it on the room on the mat," Sanderson said. "It's good to see, and obviously we needed some points at that point."
Gingrich's major was well deserved, but ultimately had little bearing on the team score thanks to the fall.
Penn State jumped out to a 7-0 lead on the backs of an 8-4 decision from Jordan Conaway at 125 pounds followed by an 11-2 major decision by Jimmy Gulibon at 133. The Lions earned a victory at 149, where No. 14 Zach Beitz dominated No. 13 Mikey Racciato 11-5, but lost before intermission at 141 and 157.
"I just know if I'm going to hit my shots, it's got to be on and I got to be cutting the corner," Beitz said. "I knew if I was in on the legs, I had to be tight and in position."
More often than not, he was.
Penn State picked up a win at 174 pounds thanks to a Matt Brown major decision, 17-6, over Troy Reaghard, but Garett Hammond lost 11-8 at 165 and Matt McCutcheon fell 6-3 at 184.
It goes without saying that Penn State is wrestling a young lineup. While the Lions have two wins, it's safe to say their freshmen are still finding their way.
Kade Moss lost again, 3-2, in a spirited affair at 141 pounds with Edgar Bright, who nearly beat redshirting All-American Zain Retherford a year ago. Cody Law lost his second varsity match, 5-4, to Ronnie Garbinsky at 157, and losses from Hammond and McCutcheon equaled an 0-4 night for Penn State's freshmen.
Despite the outcome, Sanderson said he saw improvement from the quartet after Hammond scored the only win for a Nittany Lion freshmen in the season-opening meet with Lehigh.
"I think our freshmen matched up with some pretty good guys and some tricky guys," Sanderson said. McCutcheon faced the only ranked wrestler in No. 4 184-pounder Thomusseit, but three of the four freshmen (Law excluded) faced wrestlers with perfect seasons to date.
"I think we're seeing some progress," Sanderson continued. "It's baby steps every week and just moving forward and focusing on what they're doing right. The fighting spirit was there. They [Pittsburgh] were the aggressors most of the matches, and that's something we got to work on. But they finished strong."
Off to Clarion
One of the quickest turnarounds of the season awaits Penn State Saturday, as it heads to Clarion for a 7 p.m. dual less than 24 hours after it finished off the Panthers.
Sanderson said he does not expect any lineup changes for the meet, and downplayed any concerns about such a quick turnaround. Penn State will stay in Pittsburgh Friday night before busing to Clairon Saturday.
"I think these guys are ready," Sanderson said. "In wrestling you're obviously making weight, and these guys are in there joking they get an extra pound [Saturday] and I'm telling them 'no, you don't get an extra pound tomorrow," he added with a grin.
"We like these trips. Usually when you wrestle one day, you're ready to go. You're weights good, and the next day is good. We generally wrestle better every match."
#7 Penn State 24, #16 Pittsburgh 12
November 21, 2014 - Petersen Events Center - Pittsburgh, Pa.
125: #12 Jordan Conaway PSU dec. Dom Forys PITT, 8-4 -- 3-0
133: #5 Jimmy Gulibon PSU maj. dec. Nick Zanetta, 11-2 -- 7-0
141: Edgar Bright PITT dec. Kade Moss PSU, 3-2 -- 7-3
149: #15 Zack Beitz PSU dec. #13 Mike Racciato PITT, 11-5 -- 10-3
157: Ronnie Garbinsky PITT dec. Cody Law PSU, 6-4 -- 10-6
165: Cody Wiercioch PITT dec. Garett Hammond PSU, 11-8 -- 10-9
174: #3 Matt Brown PSU maj. dec. Troy Raeghard PITT, 17-6 -- 14-9
184: #4 Max Thomusseit PITT dec. #19 Matt McCutcheon PSU -- 14-12
197: #4 Morgan McIntosh PSU pinned #10 Nick Bonaccorsi PITT, WBF (4:05) -- 20-12
285: #7 Jon Gingrich PSU maj. dec. John Rizzo PITT, 9-1 -- 24-12
Records: Penn State 2-0, 0-0 B1G; Pittsburgh 3-2
Up Next for Penn State: at Clarion, Saturday, Nov. 22, 7 p.m.