The Nittany Lions move up a spot in the rankings, and take on their one protected rival in the Big Ten.
I, for one, was unsurprised when Penn State beat Michigan last weekend – what did surprise me, though, was the lack of bonus that came along with the victory. The Wolverines wrestled to not give up bonus and it worked, but there’s not too many teams who could come away victorious in that sort of scenario. And Ohio State is definitely not going to be able to do so.
This ain’t your older brother’s Ohio State squad, the one that fought tooth and nail with PSU over national titles the latter half of last decade – and it’s certainly no one’s definition of a great team, let alone program. They have a couple good guys, and one even great wrestler, but overall, this is a rebuilding year for Tom Ryan’s squad.
But Penn State’s young as well, and regardless of ranking, this should be a good barometer (yet again) of where this team’ll be come tourney time.
How To Watch
What: #3 Penn State vs #13 Ohio State University*
Where: Covelli Center, Columbus, OH
When: Friday, February 19, 7 pm
Audio: Jeff “Ironhead” Byers, free, via GoPSUSports
Oh, hello, Robbie Howard! Welcome back to wrestling.
The true frosh made weight and made the most of his mat time last week, starting the dual off well. And he can do the same this week – Malik Heinselman is good, but he’s not on Spencer Lee’s level (no one is) so Howard’s definitely got a shot here. Let’s start off pessimistic, because why not?
Prediction: Heinselman by decision
Score: PSU 0, OSU 3
Michigan’s strategy of bumping up Ragusin worked well last week. It’s not going to work against RBY, who’ll be able to use his lateral quickness to full advantage.
Prediction: RBY by major decision
Score: PSU 4, OSU 3
You may be asking, why would Nick Lee’s first pin of the season come against Ohio State? But in my view, a better question is – why wouldn’t it?
Prediction: N. Lee by fall
Score: PSU 10, OSU 3
Here’s where PSU is who needs to stem the bleeding. Barraclough might be able to hang for a bit, but Sasso has the ability to score big. This’ll either be over by the end of the first period, with the Nittany Lion down by 5, or Sasso will need a last second takedown to avoid overtime.
Prediction: Sasso by major decision
Score: PSU 10, OSU 7
This is Brady Berge’s coming out year, and we’re all here to witness it. I’m not saying his interesting, understandable headgear has anything to do with it, but I’m not NOT saying that either.
Prediction: Berge by decision
Score: PSU 13, OSU 7
How will Joe Lee bounce back after his first loss of the season? I think he’ll look a bit sluggish to start, but a grind-it-out, late win will give him confidence headed down the stretch.
Prediction: J Lee by decision
Score: PSU 16, OSU 7
Carter Starocci was the Big Ten’s wrestler of the week last week, and for good reason – Logan Massa thought he could get away with a roll to get out from underneath, and the freshman made him pay for it. Starocci’s reward is the equally tough Kaleb Romero, but I think the young gun’s got it in him.
Prediction: Starocci by decision
Score: PSU 19, OSU 7
I’ve been waiting for my favorite wrestler to pile it on this season. Is this the match where he finally decides to stop trying stuff out, and just dominate? Here’s hoping!
Prediction: Brooks by major decision
Score: PSU 23, OSU 7
Myles Amine might be the only Amine brother who doesn’t make me grit my teeth, and Beard put up an admirable fight against a guy ranked ahead of his teammate at a lower weight. He didn’t gas as much as I had feared he might, and he has a true shot at the podium this year.
Prediction: Beard by decision
Score: PSU 26, OSU 7
Ohio State’s starter at heavyweight last season (Traub) bowed out of an extra bout as an injury default not long ago, so he’ll face another ranked guy in Orndorff. He can win this won, but it won’t be as easy as his first few bouts of the season.
Prediction: Nevills by decision
Score: PSU 29, OSU 7
Overall score prediction: PSU 29, OSU 7
*The Penn State athletic department, in its official capacity, uses Intermat Tournament Rankings in all its match literature; in those rankings, Ohio State is #11. I’m using Intermat’s Dual Meet rankings because this happens to be a dual; Ohio State is #13 in the dual meet rankings. Penn State is ranked third in the tournament rankings and 2nd in the dual meet rankings, after beating Michigan (still ahead of them in the tourney rankings) this past weekend.