Penn State started off the weekend right, using two backups (three, if you count Jan Johnson in for Nick Nevills) to completely dominate the Boilermakers 42-3. It must be said that Purdue isn't a bad wrestling squad--and Indiana, even though they're undefeated on the season, may be similar--having only one ranked wrestler, with him not being as highly ranked.
This Penn State squad is pretty darn good, folks, almost top to bottom, and last year, they beat the Hoosiers 42-3 (that's not a typo, and that's kind of coincidental) behind pins from Hulk Hands, Mouse, and Kade Moss, and a tech fall. This year could be almost as brutal, though the Hoosiers do come in with a 19-18 win over Minnesota (based on criteria) this year.
This meet last year started at 165, as have many of their duals this year; if Indiana is smart, they'll stick to the normal weights this year--maybe 174. But Bo won't help them out much on the latter.
How To Watch
What: #1 Penn State (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) vs #20 Indiana (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten)
Where: University Gymnasium, Bloomington, IN
When: Sunday, 1/9, 1 pm ET
Audio: Free Jeff "Ironhead" Byers, via GoPSUSports
Video: No regular tv; internet tv is BTN+
|No. 1 Penn State||WT||No. 20 Indiana|
|#4 - Nico Megaludis (Sr., Murraysville, PA)||125||UR - Elijah Oliver (Fr., Alabaster, AL)|
|#4 - Jordan Conaway (Sr., Abbottstown, PA)||133||UR - Alonzo Shepard (Sr., Jeffersonville, IN)|
|#13 - Jimmy Gulibon (Jr., Derry, PA)||141||UR - Cole Weaver (Fr., Hudson, MI)|
|#1 - Zain Retherford (So., Benton, PA)||149||UR - Luke Blanton (So., Alexandria, IN)|
|#3 - Jason Nolf (Fr., Kitanning, PA)||157||UR - Jake Danishek (Fr., Lebanon, OH)|
#19 - Geno Morelli (Jr., DuBois, PA)
OR Shakur Rasheed (Fr., Coram, NY)
OR Garett Hammond (So., Chambersburg, PA)
|165||UR - Bryce Martin (Fr., Bakersfield, CA)|
|#1 - Bo Nickal (Fr., Allen, TX)||174||#11 - Nate Jackson (Jr., Crete, IL)|
|#13 - Matt McCutcheon (So., Kiski Area, PA)||184||UR - Matt Irick (Jr., Fishers, IN)|
|#1 - Morgan McIntosh (Sr., Santa Ana, CA)||197||UR - Jake Masengale (So., Indianapolis, IN)|
|UR - Jan Johnson (Fr., Mohnton, PA)||285||UR - Garret Goldman (Sr., Bloomington, IN)|
125 LBS - Match of the Meet #1
Elijah Oliver is impressing so far as a true freshman this year at this weight, cruising to a 21-4 record so far. A four-time Tennesee state champion (losing only three times in high school), it's only a matter of time before he's ranked--but now he runs into Nico. This one should be a good test for Nico, and I think he wins, but the final score won't show how tough it will be.
Prediction: Nico by Dec
Score: PSU 3, Indiana 0
Provided Jordan takes care of business on Sunday, he should move up to #3 after Ilinois' Zane Richards took down Iowa's Cory Clark on Friday--unless Richards jumps up from seven to three. Regardless, this should be a relatively easy work for Conaway, as his opponent was tech falled by Gulibon last year.
Prediction: Jordan by Major
Score: PSU 7, Indiana 0
Kade Moss did very, very well in Gulibon's absence Friday night, using his greco-roman style to come up with throws no one else on this team does. He's got a great record against this team, and a ton of confidence headed into this match, so this one shouldn't be anywhere near as close as his IU opponent isn't as seasoned--or as good--as Sabatello was on Friday.
Prediction: Moss by Major
Score: PSU 11, Indiana 0
Zain didn't get a pin on Friday. I'm sure he's not happy about that.
Prediction: ZPain by Fall
Score: PSU 17, Indiana 0
Nolf's opponent is a very talented fellow redshirt freshman who did well unattached last season--but not as well as Jason did. Danishek was a top 20 wrestler in the same class, and similar to Oliver, will likely be ranked soon, maybe even this year--but not after this match.
Prediction: Nolf by Major
Score: PSU 21, Indiana 0
In lieu of any words I bring you this:
Yesterday @jasonnolf had a staring contest with a baby... He lost. Wasn't even close.— Bo Nickal (@NoBickal) January 7, 2016
I really hope that Friday's match means that this weight has been locked up, as Shakur has the most upside of any of our wrestlers at this weight--his Scuffle results be damned. Chad Welch's ranking may have been somewhat inflated before the dual, but he is still a very, very good wrestler, and Sheed pinned him. Holy heck. How exciting.
Prediction: Rasheed by Major
Score: PSU 25, Indiana 0
174 LBS - Match of the Meet #2
Nate Jackson is an NCAA qualifier having the best season of his career. But Bo is undefeated on the year, having already defeated seven top 20 wrestlers--including the current #2, #4, #6, and pinning #7. He's kind of a big deal, and no matter how good Jackson is (and better this year, having gotten pinned by Hulk Hands last), he's running into a brick wall tonight.
Prediction: Bo by Major
Score: PSU 29, Indiana 0
Brian Brill got the start on Friday despite Mouse's lone status on the prematch notes, and did very well in his stead, making his PSU debut. He'll likely do the same today, and he'll face some tougher competition in Matt Irick. If Penn State still has the same mojo leftover from Friday, they may cruise on this one; otherwise, Irick may bring the experience that got him a win over Minnesota's Chris Pfarr earlier this year. When I'm pessimistic, Penn State does better. So...
Prediction: Irick by Dec
Score: PSU 29, Indiana 3
Mouse pinned Jake Masengale last year at 184. Masengale is up a weight this year, with a record of 6-11. Morgan pinned his Purdue opponent in the first period. This shouldn't be very close.
Prediction: Morg by Pin
Score: PSU 35, Indiana 3
Johnson lost on Friday, but he looked the best he's looked all season. His conditioning was better, and he was taking shots all match. I'm still not ready to pick him to win, but I'm still very impressed with his drive and the hard work he's been putting in to help him compete at this level. He just might be one of my favorites on this team.
Prediction: Goldman by Dec
Score: PSU 35, Purdue 6