Since Penn State wrestling was getting so much attention in the basketball recap thread, thanks Devon, I figured it was a good time to post the preview for this weekend. Penn State finally returns to rec hall for the first time since November to take on Illinois this weekend before heading to Columbus to take on Ohio State. The Ohio State match will be televised by the Big Ten network on tape delay at 10 pm Sunday Night.
Illinois is in a transitional phase similar to Penn State, Jim Heffernan took over the head coaching job this season after spending along time as the assistant coach. Like Penn State they are redshirting a few really good wrestlers and a bulk of their talented incoming recruiting class. So in other words this should be a pretty even match against two very similar teams. Although it's worth noting that Penn State hasn't beaten Illinois since 1957, and is 0 - 9 in that span.
Ohio State on the other hand could be the best team Penn State has wrestled to date. Matchups could keep the dual close but Ohio State should have no trouble winning at home.
Previews and predictions after the break.
#13 Penn State vs #19 Illinois
125: #12 Brad Pataky vs John Deneen
Deneen is filling in for the injured BJ Futrell who was lost for the season with an injury. Pataky should win here easily and I think bonus points are a must.
Pataky by maj dec
133 Bryan Pearsall vs Daryl Thomas
It's Pearsall's job now that Saltsman has left the team. Thomas doesn't come in with a great record but 12 - 9 is certainly better than the 2 - 14 mark that Pearsall brings. Pearsall needs to stay off his back in this bout and well all big ten bouts if Penn State is going to have a chance.
Thomas by dec
141 Adam Lynch vs #11 Ryan Prater
Prater has really come on in the past year or so, again at 9 - 4 his record isn't extremely strong but he'll have no problem getting past Lynch.
Prater by maj dec.
149 #5 Frank Molinaro vs #20 Eric Terrazas
This should be a pretty good match Terrazas comes in undefeated and he could give Molinaro some problems. But I think at home Molinaro wins and wins big.
Molinaro by maj dec
157 #5 Cyler Sanderson vs Conrad Polz
The big ten is terribly weak at 157 there are only two ranked wrestlers Sanderson and Kinser from Indiana. Polz is probably middle of the pack in the Big Ten and I don't think Sanderson will have any problems controlling this bout.
Sanderson by maj dec
165 #8 Dan Vallimont vs Joe Barczak
Dan didn't look very good at the Virginia Duals although he did pick up a few good wins against tough opponents. This will be an important match for him, with a huge match looming on Sunday I think he needs to get back on track especially from his feet in match to get ready for that one.
Vallimont by maj dec
174 Justin Ortega vs #14 Jordan Blanton
This week it was revealed that Ortega has been wrestling with a heart condition that has been zapping his energy that could explain a lot of his recent lack luster performances. He'll have a lot of problems with Blanton, Ortega is normally good at limiting the scoring but I don't think that will be the case here.
Blanton by maj dec
184 #12 David Erwin vs #2 John Dergo
Erwin is slowly climbing up the ranks he had a good match against 4th ranked Kilgore from Kent State two weeks ago, after getting off to a slow start and nearly getting pinned. I think Dergo is a lot better than Kilgore and style and build wise he's going to be a nightmare for Erwin. The coaches of both teams are talking this up as the match I don't see I think Dergo wins handily. If Erwin is going to have a chance he needs to come out and limit the scoring in the first few minutes. Erwin does seem to get better as the match goes on if he can keep it close in to the second period he might have a chance.
Dergo by dec
197 Clay Steadman/Dave Crowell vs #10 Patrick Bond
This is an interesting match only due to Bond's style, he's definitely talented but I'd be stunned if he gets more than 4 or 5 points in this bout. Frankly I fully expect the bout to end 2 1. It's likely Clay or Crowell will have a chance to win it at the end but the skill difference is going to be too great.
Bond by dec
Hwt #11 Cameron Wade vs Marty Smith
Wade doesn't seem to be having that great of a year yet he continues to keep moving up the rankings he's all the way up to 11 this week. I'm not seeing it I have yet to be impressed by Wade since he's come to Penn State. This weekend will be interesting for him though as they are two guys he absolutely should beat, but these are the type of wrestlers that Wade would normally drop puzzling losses to in the past.
Wade by dec
Final Score Penn State 19 Illinois 17
The 53 year drought is over finally, well hopefully, this is going to be a tight one and will all come down to who can limit giving up bonus points. This was a tough match to predict as I wouldn't really be surprised by a blow out for either team or a tight few point match. It will likely be a little bit of a dull dual meet as there aren't really any match ups between closely ranked wrestlers, but I think you have to give Penn State the edge to Penn State at home in what will likely be a lively crowd.
Sunday #13 Penn State vs #3 Ohio State
125 #12 Brad Pataky vs Nikko Triggas
Penn State picked up just two wins against Ohio State last year this was one of them. Triggas used to give McKnight all sorts of problems when he was here but Pataky has basically man handled them every time they've wrestled.
Pataky by maj dec
133 Bryan Pearsall vs Ian Paddock
With Reece Humphrey moving up to 141 Paddock moves into the lineup at 133 he's definitely a step down, but again he's much better than Pearsall. I don't think Penn State can win this dual meet but if they're going to keep it respectable Pearsall has wrestle tough here and limit the bonus points.
Paddock by dec
141 Adam Lynch vs #3 Reece Humphrey
I really thought Reece might win 133 last year and the move up in weight hasn't seemed to have phased him at all. I don't expect this match to be close in any way. Humphrey is extremely tough on top which is bad news for Lynch who is prone to giving up pins.
Humphrey by fall
149 #5 Frank Molinaro vs #3 Lance Palmer
There are two really marquee bouts in this dual and this is one of them. This should be a good match and will be a good test for Molinaro. This weight is stacked in the Big Ten so it's only going to keep getting tougher from here out. As far as this match goes I think Palmer who is a little be taller for a 149 lber is going to be a bad matchup for Frank. I think you'll be able to get a pretty quick feel for how this match will go in the first minute. I expect Frank to come out and try to score early the question will be if he can get in on Palmer with his double. I think it will be a good close match but I think Palmer is too much for Frank at this point.
Palmer by dec
157 #5 Cyler Sanderson vs Tony Jameson
There has been a lot of message board talk about how Jameson is going to give Sanderson all kinds of trouble and might even upset him. Frankly I don't see it, from looking at his results and watching a couple videos of him to see what the hype is about I think he's good but not great at this point. I think he's good enough to keep it a decision but I can't see him beating Sanderson. I will say though Jameson looked pretty tough on top and with Sanderson's struggles underneath he may want to think about taking neutral.
Sanderson by dec
165 #8 Dan Vallimont vs #7 Colt Sponseller
This should be a great match Colt beat Dan in last years dual 8 3, but Dan came back in the consolation finals of the Big Ten tournament and beat Colt 7 4. Dan this year is far better than the Dan that wrestled last year. This is a good match up for Dan as he's shown in the past that he is capable of taking Colt down which is good since he's not much of a mat wrestler. I get the feeling this is a match that will go back and forth a bit I really don't expect a 2 1 score in this one. I think a takedown will decide it at the end, and Dan's conditioning has looked great so far this year. Even in his losses to King Dan was pushing the action at the end. I think he comes up with the big takedown to win it.
Vallimont by dec
174 Justin Ortega vs #12 Dave Rella
Rella returned to rec hall last year and many people were hoping to see Quintin Wright absolutely hammer him, what they end up seeing was Rella wrestle better then he ever did in the blue and white but still lost to Wright 3 2. I think Rella is easily better than Ortega and will likely beat him but after suffering through watching him wrestle for a year I feel confident he won't score much here. There's no way I see him putting up enough offense to get bonus points against Ortega. Also Ortega is fairly tough on top and unless something drastic has changed Rella has been terrible on bottom, so if Ortega can get a takedown early he could easily swing this match in his favor.
Rella by dec
184 #12 David Erwin vs #10 Mike Pucillo
Pucillo must be living a nightmare this year, after two years at or near the top of this weight class he's really fallen off this year. I have a feeling he'll surge here to the finish and will end up still placing high in march. I think this is another tough match up for Erwin Pucillo is a strong big 184 lber. I think he'll beat Erwin easily, this would be a big win for Erwin and a huge confidence boost if he can knock of Pucillo.
Pucillo by dec
197 Clay Steadman/Dave Crowell vs CJ Magrum
An upset here would be huge for Penn State but I don't like their chances. I have little faith in either of these guys getting a big win at any point in this season.
Magrum by dec
Hwt #11 Cameron Wade vs Corey Morrison
Wade has had trouble with Morrison in the past and why not since he's a mediocre heavyweight with a half decent offense. But all things considered I do think Wade is the better heavyweight and in the end should get the win here.
Wade by dec
Final Score Penn State 13 Ohio State 21
In the end Penn State has little chance to go to Columbus and come home with a win, but this should be a much more competitive dual then the one a year ago when Penn State only one two matches and got smoked. Penn State is closing the gap and next year I think things should turn back in their favor in this series.