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Rutgers splits weekend in contests against Indiana, Purdue

After suffering two losses last weekend at the hands of Cornell and Penn State, the Rutgers wrestling team returned to the win column with a dominant 29-7 victory over Indiana at the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC) on Friday. 

Starting at 149 pounds on Sunday against Purdue, the No. 22 Scarlet Knights (8-4, 3-3) had a slim 18-17 advantage over the No. 13 Boilermakers (10-2, 3-1) before the final bout of the day at 141 pounds.

Seeking his second win of the weekend slate, true freshman 141-pounder JoJo Aragona earned a takedown to conclude the opening period over Purdue's Parker Filius.

The bout was knotted up at two in the second period. The score remained like that until the fourth period, where Filius ultimately came out victorious with a 4-2 meet-clinching victory for the road team.

Rutgers has now lost its last two Big Ten meets in conference competition, falling to a .500 record in that department on the season.

The Knights captured four individual wins against the Boilermakers, including a pin 3:45 into the match by true freshman 165-pounder Jackson Turley. It was his first pin against any Big Ten opponent. Turley made his first start at the RAC since defeating Centenary's Jeremy Nurnberger 9-3 for the Chester, Virginia, native's first win of his career on the Banks.

No. 22 redshirt freshman 184-pounder Billy Janzer muscled out a 3-1 win in extra time over Max Lyon on Sunday. He was two-for-two on the weekend, as he secured a win over the Hoosiers' (1-6, 1-5) Jake Hinz on Friday evening.

No. 18 graduate student 197-pounder Jordan Pagano swept this weekend's dual meets. Against Indiana's Nick Wilham, Pagano held him scoreless through three periods, ultimately coming out on top with a dominant 5-0 victory.

On Sunday, though, Pagano's win was in a different manner. Wrestling Purdue's Christian Brunner, who is ranked inside the top 10 by InterMat Wrestling and FloWrestling, Pagano won by injury default 5:49 into the bout. 

In the third period of Pagano's win over Brunner, the South Brunswick, New Jersey, native swept his leg under Brunner in a takedown attempt. While the officials congregated at the scorer's table to review the potential 2-point takedown, Brunner was in pain. He hobbled off the mat with the assistance of trainers, as the referees called a win for Pagano by injury default.

The upset by the 20th ranked Pagano over the 7th ranked Brunner was his 18th victory of the season, adding onto his record of 18-6. 

No. 9 true freshman 133-pounder Sammy Alvarez finished the weekend 2-0. He defeated the Hoosiers' Cayden Rooks in a 14-5 major decision while working a 6-0 win over Travis Ford-Melton in full time.

Alvarez, like Pagano, is 18-6 in his first season as a Rutgers wrestler. His last loss came against the No. 2 Nittany Lions' (7-1, 4-0) Roman Bravo-Young at Penn State.

The loss against the Boilermakers was the Knights' first loss of the series all-time. Rutgers still maintains a 4-1 advantage over Purdue.

One of the most notable wins of the weekend was in a bout that lasted less than a minute and a half. Wrestling at the end of the Knights' lineup against Indiana, junior 197-pounder Matthew Correnti was tapped in to fill sophomore heavyweight Alex Esposito's spot in the lineup. 

Correnti, traditionally a 197-pounder, racked up a pin 1:26 into Friday's final bout of the day against the Hoosiers' Jake Kleimola. Correnti now owns three pins this season.

On Sunday, head coach Scott Goodale penciled in Correnti as the heavyweight again. Correnti held his own against the Boilermakers’ Thomas Penola. Penola came away with a 6-4 win, though, in extra time.

No. 15 redshirt freshman Nicolas Aguilar was upset on Friday by Indiana's Liam Cronin in a narrow 4-2 defeat. He then faced Devin Schroder of Purdue, one of the toughest wrestlers at the 125-pound weight class in the nation.

Schroder ran away with a 9-1 major decision win over Aguilar, giving the redshirt freshman his sixth loss of the season.

Rutgers will head to New York City on Saturday for a matchup with Michigan, the first part of a doubleheader at Madison Square Garden in the annual Big Ten Super Saturday event, with the men's basketball teams of both schools taking the hardwood following the meet.

For updates on the Rutgers wrestling team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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