Penn State traveled to Iowa and Wisconsin this weekend looking to bounce back from a flat performance the week before. The box score may not show it but Penn State came out of this weekend looking really good. For the most part every single guy in the lineup wrestled tough even when they were clearly out classed.
The final scores were Iowa 29 Penn State 6 and Penn State 22 Wisconsin 15 the win over Wisconsin was a big one as a few individual guys picked up huge wins.
125: Pataky's weekend went about as expected. I was a little surprised by how easily McDonough manhandled him on Friday night. But truthfully McDonough looks like a national title contender right now. In fact with the matches I've seen on the Big Ten Network I have yet to see anyone that really looks like they're wrestling at his level at this point. Being a freshman it will be interesting to see how that lasts into March. Pataky bounced back and did what he needed to do against Drew Hammen who is having a terrible season. Pataky still seems to be hanging around the top ten but he has some serious work to do to close the game to being an all american this year.
133: Pearsall dropped both matches this weekend which wasn't a huge surprise Friday night he put up a pretty good fight against Denis in fact it looked briefly like he might be able to hold it to a decision. On Sunday Graff took him down with ease as he's been doing to everyone lately. The results are still disappointing and obviously hurt Penn State as a team but you can't fault the fight and effort he put up this week which is encouraging.
141 What can you say other than wow. Adam Lynch has been on a tear of late, consistency will be the key for him. He needs to make sure to not slide back to where he was just a few weeks ago where he was struggling mightily. But what a weekend he had he knocked of a top five wrestler in Montell Marion in a tremendous bout. It was clear the coaching staff did a tremendous job scouting Marion as Lynch's tie ups were giving him all kind of trouble in the first two periods. The takedown Lynch got off a shrug when Marion tried to force a takedown was a thing of beauty. Some might say the ot takedown was questionable but it looked legit to me. Lynch backed that performance up with another solid win over the then 20th ranked wrestler in the country Cole Schmitt. Lynch will be interesting come seeding time for the Big Tens obviously even if he continues winning his record won't be that solid but he now has wins over three ranked wrestlers in the Big Ten.
149 Frank's match against Metcalf wasn't all that shocking I was a bit surprised to see Frank giving ground so easily. I expect him to do a better job of handfighting and trying to fight for position. He did pick up a solid double leg in the second period, it wasn't much but hopefully it will give him some confidence for the future. But what did impress me was the way he bounced back and beat Ruschell on Sunday. That's a big win for Frank it should give him the confidence that he's right there with all the top guys beside Metcalf at 149. He'll get a bit of a break now after wrestling three of the top guys in the country in the past two weeks. He needs to keep building for the post season he could be a pretty big surprise at the Big Tens and NCAAs.
157 Cyler's match against Iowa was a huge disappointment. That was the only bout Penn State was a heavy favorite and losing there was a huge blow especially after the pin at 149. The back points Kerr got were questionable at best but Cyler never really looked into that match. There was no real aggression from his feet until it was far too late. Sunday he did what he needed to do and what he should have done friday night he took care of much weaker opponent and got the team bonus points. With the news that Dustin Schlatter is dropping down to 57 for the remainder of the year his road just got a whole lot tougher. He was basically a shoe in for a Big Ten title with only one other ranked wrestler at the weight in the big ten. With Schlatter entering in to the mix he went from favorite to huge under dog. Seeding now also becomes really important as it will be extremely important to get on the opposite bracket as Schlatter.
165 Dan Vallimont had two big chances to make a move up the rankings this weekend and he failed on both. Bottom continues to be way too big of a weakness at this point. Cael said that until Dan starts picking up takedowns in the first period he'll continue to tell him to take down. I understand what he's trying to do but that hard headeness might be costing him matches. Friday against Morningstar he got ridden the entire 3rd period and lost 2 0 on a Morningstar escape and riding time point. He did manage to get out against Howe but immediately gave up a takedown and then struggled to get back out. He's got a month left to get it worked out, I'm losing hope but it's important to remember he finished 3rd in the country one year he knows how to get it done when it counts.
174 Justin Ortega continues to struggle and struggle mightily he got manhandled by Borschel of Iowa. That one was expected and somewhat understandable. However the lost to Ard was a bad one and a match Ortega really needed to win. If for nothing else than to get some confidence going into the final stretch of the season. The way it stands right now I'd say Penn State shouldn't count on getting any points at this weight or 133 in the Big Ten tournament.
184 Erwin had another fantastic weekend, he seemed to had cooled off a bit there for awhile dropping some close matches to ranked wrestlers. But he's got it going again in a big way. His win over Keddy on friday night was huge, while Keddy is having a down year he is still a tremendous wrestler. The win over Rutt wasn't quite as exciting since he's ranked lower but that's still a quality win over a ranked opponent. I'm really looking forward to see what he can do in the post season. In the Big Ten 184 is quickly becoming a wide open race and I think Erwin has an outside chance at really high finish.
197 The Crowell Steadman combo continues to struggle the coaching staff has yet to name a starter and neither guy has really stepped up to lay claim to the starting spot. This is another weight where I expect Penn State may not score any points at the Big Ten tournament. Hopefully Platt will be back next year for Penn State and will pick this weight up a bit for Penn State because it has been a huge whole ever since the departure of Phil Davis.
Hwt Cameron Wade's results were about as expected this weekend he lost to Erekson convincingly as that bout was never really in doubt, other then when Erekson hurt his knee and it appeared he may not be able to continue. But then sunday he beat a wrestler he was supposed to beat. Slowly but surely it does seem Wade is making some progress. I'm still not sold on him yet but he's moving in the right direction at least instead of regressing and that's a big plus.
So a week after looking incredibly flat in two lack luster performances against Illinois and Ohio State Penn State bounced back this weekend against Iowa and Wisconsin. This weekend Penn State takes on Northwestern and Michigan in what should be two fairly easy wins team wise. Hopefully they can keep the momentum going from this past weekend. The fight and energy displayed by just about everyone was really encouraging. They certainly still have their holes but there are quite a few guys still capable of putting up big points in a tournament which should make it interesting to see how the team finishes out the season.