Returning home after a disappointing showing in Stillwater, #6 Penn State will face a tough Rider squad that just picked up an 18-15 victory over Princeton on Friday night, and is 13-7 overall on the year. This matchup may not be anywhere as sexy as the National Duals that are going on at the same time, but it represents exactly what Cael Sanderson likes to do--bring attention to a smaller program by scheduling a match with a powerhouse. Last week's lackluster performance shows that the squad has a lot to work on to be ready for the Big Ten tournament in two weeks, and hopefully some of that will be worked out tomorrow.
Last year on senior day, both Ed Ruth and David Taylor got first period pins in quick succession--Taylor posting the fastest pin in Nittany Lion history. Matt Brown also got a pin in the last dual of the year, against Clarion.
Date/Time: Sunday, 2 pm ET
TV/Video: Only on the interwebs, through PSU All-Access.
Audio: Also through PSU All-Access, with Byers' radio call available through the normal 20+ radio stations as per usual
Last Meeting: Early in last season, PSU traveled to Rider and came away with a 34-8 victory behind pins from aylor and Brown. This year's 125-pounder, Jordan Conaway, wrestled up a weight and came out victorious at 133, and Ruth was still out of the lineup and PSU lost the 184 match big. Future All-American and tear-inducer James English also lost.
Overall, the Lions have met Rider four times, and been victorious all four times.
#9 Jordan Conaway vs FR J.R. Wert (Christianburg, VA)
Jordan lost last week to an OK State wrestler he should have beat. It was a step down on a season in which he's been generally pretty good (not Megaludis-good, but definitely serviceable in his absence). He should bounce back pretty well against a freshman that is decent, but not on his level.
Line: Conaway by MD (PSU 4, Rider 0)
#5 Jimmy Gulibon vs JR Robert Deutsch (Cherry Hill, NJ)
Deutsch is one of the strongest wrestlers in Rider's lineup (including a pin on Friday night), but Gulibon's become one of the strongest in Penn State's this year--so don't bet against Jimmy. I think he's gearing up for a great post season run, building on last week's pin of his Poke.
Line: Gulibon by MD (PSU 8, Rider 0)
Kade Moss vs SR Chuck Zeisloft (Woodbury Heights, NJ)
Moss took his ranked OK State opponent to extra time last week, and almost came away with the win--he's been very close in a lot of matches this year (excepting, of course, guys whose names rhyme with Pfogan Pflieber) and his throw, when on, can be totally on point. He can be super exciting, and can bring it. I see him winning here, against a senior that is experienced but overmatched.
Line: Kade by Dec (PSU 11, Rider 0)
#14 Zack Beitz vs FR B.J. Clagon (Toms River, NJ)
Clagon is also very good, but Beitz has a lot of confidence coming off of his pin of Kindig last week (plus a bump in the rankings). He's still Zack Beitz, and can be very erratic--which is why I'm just expecting it to be a regular decision--but the overall win should not be in doubt.
Line: Zack by Dec (PSU 14, Rider 0)
157 LBS - Match of the Meet
#10 Dylan Alton OR Cody Law OR Luke Frey vs FR Chad Walsh (Cherry Hill, NJ)
After the black hole of despair that was his performance last week in Stillwater, I'm frankly shocked that Dylan is still ranked--let alone #10. I'd also be shocked if he wrestles again this week, at the Big Ten tournament, or at the NCAAs. I'm betting Frey gets the go here, even though he wasn't listed in the pre-match notes. And though Frey has the ability to pull the upset (he was very close at the BJC two weeks ago, against an Iowa opponent better than Walsh), Chad Walsh, whose older brother Taylor wrestles in the B1G for Indiana, this is the weight in which I think Rider has the best shot.
Line: Walsh by Dec (PSU 14, Rider 3)
#18 Garret Hammond vs JR Conor Brennan (Brick, NJ)
All season, I've not been able to get a grip on Hammond. My predictions of his matches have been somewhat arbitrary, and why end the streak with the last dual of the season? Garret could win big, or he could lose. I'm thinking he'll have control, but will give up some points late to make the score closer than it should be.
Line: Hammond by Dec (PSU 17, Rider 3)
#2 Matt Brown vs SO Steve Nelson (Haddonfield, NJ)
I pity the fool who has to wrestle Brown on Senior Day...especially one who is winless on the year. Welp.
Line: Hulk Hands by Fall (PSU 23, Rider 3)
#19 Matt McCutcheon vs SO Clint Morrison (Mechanicsburg, PA/Cedar Cliff)
Last week was so incredibly depressing for fans of Mouse--he was able to do absolutely nothing against a good but not great opponent who was ranked but not highly, getting no points in that bout. He should rebound enough to get a win, but the jury's going to still be out on whether McCutcheon can make a run deep into the March tournaments.
Line: Mouse by Dec (PSU 26, Rider 3)
#4 Morgan McIntosh vs SR Donald McNeil (Plainville, MA)
It's tough to do much at these weights when your opponent won't wrestle. That was Morgan's issue last week, and it will likely be similar this week; McNeil is one of Rider's strongest opponents, but Morgan is one of Penn State's--and with where the two programs are, that's a big disparity. McIntosh should be in control from the get go, but absent a lot of opportunities to counter, I don't see many chances for him to enter into the bow and arrow or chances for back points. Low scoring, but an easy victory for the Taylor Lautner lookalike.
Line: Morgan by Dec (PSU 29, Rider 3)
#7 Jimmy Lawson OR Jon Gingrich vs JR Greg Velasco (Union Beach, NJ)
I was happy to hear the Godfather music start two weeks ago in the BJC...then the dual happened, and Lawson did nothing on bottom in the second. Gingrich performed well last week in Stillwater against a very good opponent and nearly took him down in extra time--and the internal battle of the heavyweights continues. Whoever gets the nod here should come away with an easy win.
Line: Gingrich by Dec (PSU 32, Rider 3)
Overall versus Rider:
This last tune up before the conference tournament shouldn't be much in doubt; the question will be bonus points, and how the team reacts to their worst dual performance of the year last week. If Cael's the coach we all hope and expect he is, they should com out on fire--and could even sweep the Broncs. Penn State 32, Rider 3.