This weekend the wrestling team gets a bit of a break as Northwestern and Michigan visit, bringing just two ranked wrestlers combined.
After a grueling stretch against top Big Ten teams, it will be a nice chance for some guys to try and get some wins under their belts and for others like Lynch to keep their momentum going.
I was hoping to make the trip back to State College for this weekend's duals but due to Snowzilla here on the east coast, I'll be stuck with the Big Ten Network live stream which isn't too bad for just 3 dollars.
Friday #11 Penn State vs Northwestern
125 #13 Brad Pataky vs Levi Mele
This should be a good weekend for Brad to get his offense going and bounce back after some recent struggles. Mele should be completely over-matched in this one. Look for Pataky to try to hit a cement mixer to end it early.
Pataky by maj dec
133 Bryan Pearsall vs Eric Metzler
Metzler has been around for a few years and I think he'll handle Pearsall pretty easily. This weekend is probably Pearsall's best shot at getting a Big Ten win. But I still don't see that happening.
Metzler by dec
141 Adam Lynch vs Bobby Joyce
This will be an interesting weekend for Lynch coming off a big weekend with two big upsets this week. He has to wrestle as the favorite. It will be interesting if he can take the same intensity he took against Montell Marion to the mat against one-win Bobby Joyce. I think Lynch has really turned the corner and will have a good weekend. A two-win weekend would give him a winning record on the year which will be good.
Adam Lynch by maj dec
149 #4 Frank Molinaro vs #13 Andrew Nadhir
This should be the one relatively exciting match in this dual, but the advantage is definitely in Penn State's favor. After the gauntlet Frank went through last week, this will be a little bit of a break. Nadhir is a pretty tough wrestler and this is a big match for seeding at the Big Ten's which could be extremely important. I think in the end Frank will pick up a few strong double legs and take care of this match pretty easily.
Molinaro by dec
157 #7 Cyler Sanderson vs Kevin Bialka
Sanderson dropped again in the rankings after a disappointing performance in Iowa. Sanderson really needs to start picking up big wins during the Big Ten season in a terribly weak weight class. Sanderson has wrestled really well at home this year, that will continue this weekend.
Sanderson by maj dec
165 #7 Dan Vallimont vs Robert Kellog
Dan was unable to pick up a big win last week. This week he tries to get back on track against two decent but not good wrestlers. Kellog is only in his sophomore season but he should put up a decent fight. This bout should give Vallimont some practice from the bottom position.
Vallimont by dec
174 Justin Ortega vs Brian Roddy
Ortega's slump seems to not only be continuing but getting worse, which is troublesome. I don't see things improving much this weekend. This would be a good weekend for Ortega to get things turned around.
Roddy by dec
184 #11 David Erwin vs Aaron Jones
Erwin continues to slowly climb the rankings as he seems to get more comfortable at 184. This weekend will be important for him to pick up two more quality wins and to get a good seed at the Big Tens.
Erwin by dec
197 Steadman/Crowell vs John Schoen
This spot is still up in the air as neither guy stepped up to claim the spot last weekend. Both guys are struggling mightily and I think both will struggle this weekend as they'll likely alternate bouts.
Schoen by dec
Hwt #11 Cameron Wade vs Marcus Shrwesbury
Wade has done a good job lately of beating the guys he's supposed to beat, but I'd really like to see him get aggressive and start putting up some points. This really shouldn't be a 3 - 1 win, he should dominate this match, and I'd like to see him do it even though I'm not optimistic.
Wade by dec
Final Score Penn State 24 Northwestern 9
Again this won't be the most riveting bout but it should give Penn State another solid home win.
Sunday #11 Penn State vs Michigan
125: #13 Brad Pataky vs Sean Boyle
Boyle will at least be a small step up in competition from the Friday bout. It's another bout where hopefully Brad can get his offense going and put up some points.
Pataky by maj dec
133 Bryan Pearsall vs Zac Stevens
Stevens is a decent wrestler and I don't see him having any problems beating Pearsall.
Stevens by dec
141 Adam Lynch vs Mark Weber
This is another match that if Lynch wrestled the way he did the past few weeks he should win easily. I think he'll continue his winning streak and pick up two more big wins this weekend to get him over .500 for the year.
Lynch by dec
149 #4 Frank Molinaro vs Mark Boyer
After all the tough matches in the recent weeks, Frank gets a cakewalk against the 3 - 10 Boyer. This will be a good opportunity for him to work on his offense against live competition in a match that should never be in doubt.
Molinaro by maj dec
157 #7 Cyler Sanderson vs Dave Johnson
This is actually a pretty big match for Cyler. Johnson might end up being somewhere around the 4th best wrestler in the Big Ten which isn't saying much. But for seeding purposes, beating him will be huge. Cyler needs to pick up all the wins he can after the loss against Iowa.
Sanderson by dec
165 #7 Dan Vallimont vs Justin Hynes
Hynes has been around for awhile and he should be able to give Vallimont some work. Again this is another opportunity for Dan to get work from the bottom position in a match that really shouldn't be in doubt.
Vallimont by dec
174 Justin Ortega vs Justin Zeerip
Zeerip is pretty good and I'm kind of surprised he's not in the lower end of the rankings. Either way he should get passed the struggling Ortega fairly easily. At this point from Ortega I'd be happy if he could get back to at least having good defense and losing by just a few points.
Zeerip by maj dec
184 #11 David Erwin vs Hunter Collins
Collins comes in with a decent record but Erwin has been beating much better guys than this of late. I sound like a broken record but this is another match where Penn State should get some solid work and should get their offense going.
Erwin by dec
194 Steadman/Crowell vs #9 Anthony Biondo
Biondo has a bit of a funky style and I think that will give either Penn State guy a lot of trouble. I expect big points for Michigan in this one. If it doesn't end in a pin, I would expect a lopsided major decision.
Biondo by fall
Hwt #11 Cameron Wade vs Eddie Phillips
This should be a pretty interesting bout because Wade should be a huge favorite, but he lost to Phillips 7 - 0 in last year's dual. Then Wade came back and beat Phillips 5-0 in the Big Ten tournament. This will be a good test to see how far Wade has come, last year Phillips' athleticism gave Wade a lot of problems from neutral. Phillips is a bit of an enigma at times he looks like he could be really good, but at other times he's looked terrible. Wade has been wrestling better of late so I'll give him the edge.
Wade by dec
Final Score - Penn State 23 Michigan 13
Again, this isn't really a match that should ever be in doubt for Penn State and they should win comfortably.
While the matches may not be exciting or close, this is still a big weekend for Penn State. They're coming off a good performance against Iowa and Wisconsin, and they really need to avoid a let down against two less-talented teams. For a lot of the Penn State guys, these will be big matches as far as seeding goes for the Big Tens. I think it would be a good weekend for Penn State if they come out looking sharp and they don't drop any of the matches where they are heavily favored. If a couple of the guys who are struggling (like Pearsall and Ortega) can pick up a win somewhere, I would consider it a great weekend.