Just two weeks ago Penn State looked completely lost giving a less then stellar effort against Illinois and Ohio State. Well I'm not sure what happened, I'm guessing Cael's unhappy comments after those meets carried over to the wrestling, but this weekend Penn State looked like an entirely different team.
Granted this was Northwestern and Michigan who I wouldn't even classify as good teams let alone elite teams, but this weekend Penn State went out to crush their opponents instead of merely just winning. It has been a long time since I've seen that out of Penn State and it was a welcome sight.
With just two dual meets left before the post season it seems Penn State might be hitting their stride at exactly the right time. There are still a few guys on the team who continue to struggle. It's gotten to the point now where you can basically just write them off because barring a miracle, they'll both be two and done at the Big Ten tournament.
Friday, Penn State powered by a tech fall, forfeit and three pins beat Northwestern 37-10.
Sunday, Penn State had two pins enroute to a 29-10 beat down of Michigan.
125: Brad Pataky went out and set the tone for both dual meets very quickly. On Friday night he got Penn State out to a quick 5 point lead getting a tech fall in a little over three minutes. Pataky got a quick takedown and then picked up 11 points with a two on one tilt in the final minute and 45 seconds of the first period. Sunday was a similar story as Pataky notched several takedowns and then again worked the two on one tilt on his way to a 13 0 major decision.
133: Bryan Pearsall's struggles continued this weekend as he dropped both bouts. He had a chance late in both bouts this weekend but was unable to convert either in to a win. Friday's bout was within a takedown when Pearsall attempted a headlock at the end and gave up an easy counter takedown in an 8 4 defeat. Pearsall fell behind 8 2 early against Stevens of Michigan on Sunday and then came roaring back. It seemed Pearsall was about to take control of the bout when the Michigan coaching staff asked for a meeting with the officials for no real apparent reason. The stall tactic worked to perfection as the minute plus break gave Stevens all the time he needed to gather himself and hang on for the win.
141: Friday night Lynch received a forfeit from Northwestern. Sunday Lynch continued to wrestle really well as he has in past weeks. He was controlling the bout for the most part although he was unable to score many points. A late takedown cut his lead to two but he quickly did a switch and got back in control winning the bout 9 5. He did seem to slow a little in the 3rd period which he'll need to work on some, he did the same against Montell Marion.
149: Frank has bounced back really well after his loss to Metcalf. He continued to wrestle outstanding this weekend he dominated Northwestern's only ranked wrestler 13th ranked Andrew Nadhir 9 - 0 on Friday. Frank was dominate in every phase of the match Nadhir never came close to scoring in the bout and Nadhir is a tough wrestler. Sunday Frank dominated over matched Mark Boyer 25 11, Boyer got the initial takedown in the bout but that was the only threat he would make.
157: Cyler Sanderson has also bounced back really well after his upset loss at Iowa. The guys he was up against this weekend were both clearly pretty poor but he did exactly what he needed to to do and got two pins.
165: Dan Vallimont had an inconsistent weekend. Friday night he got a very very good 21 9 major decision over Robert Kellogg. But Sunday he struggled a good bit with Aaron Hynes hanging on for just an 8 7 win. The one good sign this weekend was that Vallimont didn't spend much time on bottom, every time he was down he was able to get out rather quickly. Hopefully he'll continue to improve in that area.
174 Justin Ortega like Pearsall continued to struggle, and is likely going to be done quickly at the big ten tournament. Friday he dropped a close 5 4 decision to Brian Roddy, Ortega appeared poised for his first Big Ten win until giving up a takedown with 5 seconds left to lose by a point. I'm sure Cael will not be very happy with that sequence of events. On Sunday Justin Zeerip pretty much dominated Ortega in a 7 2 decision. Ortega's season started with some promise after his win over Erwin but he has done nothing since.
184 David Erwin was stellar again Friday night picking up a quick first period fall. Sunday he struggled a little bit, he got out to a 10 4 lead then had to hang for a 12 9 win. The slowdown in the third period is a bit of a concern and something he'll need to work on for the post season. But all around it was another good weekend and Erwin now looks poised to be the two seed in the Big Ten tournament.
197 The combination of Crowell and Steadman continues to be lack luster. Crowell was originally expected to not go at all this weekend battling illness for most of the week, but he got the start after Steadman dinged up his knee on Friday night. No matter who's in for Penn State the song remains the same. I guess you could give a small edge to Crowell since his major decision loss came against a much better wrestler, but either guy is likely to go 0 -2 and the big ten tournament.
Hwt Cameron Wade has been taking advantage of his break from facing high ranked wrestlers. This weekend he picked up two pins against two sub par wrestlers. A year ago these likely would have been nail bitters for Wade so it's good to see him making some progress. He's become much more aggressive from the top position, which is a very welcome change.
Penn State has just one match this week and it should be another lopsided one as they take on a very down Michigan St team.