No. 11 Wrestling Downs No. 12 Illinois, 19-17

Jan. 6, 2017

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - The second period was winding down in the 157-pound bout between John Van Brill and Illinois' Kyle Langenderfer, and the Rutgers wrestler faced a 7-0 deficit in the defensive position. But on the restart the bout - and the match - swung in the Scarlet Knights' favor.

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No. 19-ranked Van Brill hit a reversal and stuck Langenderfer at the 4:46 mark, igniting the 2,552 fans at the Rutgers Athletic Center and giving No. 11 Rutgers a 13-6 lead at intermission.

The momentum carried RU through the second half of the dual and into a pair of wins to close the match, as heavyweight Razohnn Gross scored a takedown with 18 seconds left to give RU a 19-17 win over No. 12 Illinois (1-1, 0-1).

The bout victory - the first of Gross' career in his RAC debut - helped Rutgers to 2-0 in Big Ten Conference competition and 7-1 overall on the year as the Scarlet Knights approach a showdown at No. 4 Ohio State (6-0, 2-0) Sunday at noon on Big Ten Network.

"He's dangerous. He's never out of a match, we knew that," said head coach Scott Goodale of John Van Brill. "He fell down 7-0 and it was deflating on the bench. That's a match we think we should win. He's one of the better kids in the country, and their kid's third in the Big Ten two years ago. On paper, we're hoping to get that one. He's down 7-0, but he's dangerous. We preach it every day: keep wrestling and good things will happen. You never know. And he's capable of hitting those kind of moves."

While Van Brill's (15-6, 6-1 duals) pin favorably shifted momentum and Gross (6-6, 1-4 duals) sealed the deal, it was the true freshman duo of Brandon Paetzell (125 Pounds) and Matthew Correnti (197 Pounds) that came up big in high pressure spots.

Wrestling in his first RAC match and kicking off the action, Paetzell (10-3, 2-0 duals) showed no signs of nerves against fellow rookie Travis Piotrowski of Illinois. The Phillipsburg, New Jersey, native escaped to tie the match with 40 seconds remaining in the third period, but Piotrowski held the riding time advantage. Time ticked away, as Paetzell got around on a takedown with just one second remaining for a thrilling 3-2 decision to start the dual.

"Paetzell - we call him the roadrunner. It's constant, it's nonstop, and that's the way he wrestled. He's got to do a better job of getting to his attacks because he can do more. He's going to be really, really good down the road, and I feel the same way about Matt Correnti."

Correnti (9-6, 4-2 duals) came out on the attack against Illinois' Andre Lee, building an 11-3 period after three minutes of wrestling. Starting the second period on bottom, Lee fired back, escaping and converting two takedowns to make it a 12-8 Correnti advantage. In the end, Correnti escaped with a gutsy 16-12 decision, which made the Illinois lead 17-16 and set Gross up for the walk-off win a match later.

"What a story, right? What a story. First dual meet at the RAC and it comes down to him," Goodale said of Gross. "Everything he's been through and all the years with DJ Russo and Billy Smith and then here comes Razohnn in a big spot. Good for him. That's a gutty win."

RU's other win on the night came from No. 6 Anthony Ashnault at 141 pounds. The two-time All-American accumulated 5:03 of riding time in a 10-0 major decision to improve to 15-3 overall and 7-1 in dual competition.

At 133 pounds, Scott DelVecchio (13-6, 3-1 duals) fell, 9-7, in a hard-fought match against No. 4 Zane Richards. DelVecchio reversed Richards with time winding down but could not make up the points in time to tie things up.

Getting the nod at 149 pounds, redshirt sophomore Anthony Giraldo (15-6, 2-2 duals) dropped a close one, 5-3, against Eric Barone. Barone took Giraldo to the mat in the final minute and rode him out for the victory.

Two-time national champion Isaiah Martinez topped Willie Scott (12-6, 4-2 duals) by a 24-8 tech fall coming out of intermission, bringing the match to 13-11 with four to go.

The Fighting Illini distanced themselves in the next two matches with sudden victory decisions, appearing to take control of the dual by amassing a 17-13 lead. 174-pounder Phillip Bakuckas (10-4, 4-3) fell in a 3-1 match against No. 12 Zac Brunson, and a match later No. 11 Nicholas Gravina (12-3, 5-2 duals) suffered the same fate in an 8-6 decision against No. 14 Emery Parker.

But Correnti rose to the roars of the Rutgers Athletic Center, and Gross did the rest at heavyweight.

"I felt Correnti could win this bout. He's a blue chip recruit and one of the better kids in the country last year who's just getting a feel of this," Goodale said." This is hard on him. First semester of school, cutting weight, getting down. He wrestled 220 in high school. This has been hard for him. It's been tough, but it's nights like tonight that get you over the hump."

Rutgers travels to face No. 4 Ohio State on Sunday at noon at St. John Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The match will be televised live on Big Ten Network.

No. 11 Rutgers (7-1, 2-0) 19, No. 12 Illinois (1-1, 0-1) 17
Dual started at 125 pounds
Location: Rutgers Athletic Center (Piscataway, N.J.)
Attendance: 2,552
Officials: Nate Chapman and Jim Rivello
125: Brandon Paetzell (RU) dec. over Travis Piotrowski (ILL), 3-2; Rutgers leads, 3-0
133: No. 4/4/4 Zane Richards (ILL) dec. over Scott DelVecchio (RU), 9-7; Dual tied, 3-3
141: No. 6/6/6 Anthony Ashnault (RU) major dec. over Mousa Jodeh (ILL), 10-0; Rutgers leads, 7-3
149: Eric Barone (ILL) dec. over No. NR/NR/19 Anthony Giraldo (RU), 5-3; Rutgers leads, 7-6
157: No. 19/13/17 John Van Brill (RU) wins by fall over Kyle Langenderfer (ILL), 4:46; Rutgers leads, 13-6
165: No. 1/1/1 Isaiah Martinez (ILL) tech fall over Willie Scott (RU), 24-8; Rutgers leads, 13-11
174: No. 12/10/12 Zac Brunson (ILL) dec. over Phillip Bakuckas (RU), 3-1 (SV); Illinois leads, 14-13
184: No. 14/13/14 Emery Parker (ILL) dec. over No. 11/11/10 Nicholas Gravina (RU), 8-6 (SV); Illinois leads 17-13
197: Matthew Correnti (RU) dec. over Andre Lee (ILL), 16-12; Illinois leads, 17-16
HWT: Razohnn Gross (RU) dec. over Deuce Rachal (ILL), 3-2; Rutgers wins, 19-17
Rankings (-/-/-): InterMat / FloWrestling/The Open Mat
NR denotes not ranked

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