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Wrestling Preview: #3 Penn State vs #10 Rutgers

The Nittany Lions head home to Rec Hall to face a Scarlet Knights squad nearly as good as it’s ever been.

Jason Nolf.
Photo courtesy of GoPSUSports

Rutgers wrestling capped off the 2015-2016 season with their best finish at the NCAA tournament in program history - 15th, with 30 team points. And this season, they could be better, coming into State College ranked tenth in Intermat’s Dual rankings, and 21st in their Tournament rankings - they have four wrestlers ranked that should be taking the mat against the Lions, including a title contender in Anthony Ashnault, and are 2-0 in the Big Ten.

Their first test in-conference was supposed to be against the Buckeyes last weekend, but that dual got postponed - so the Nittany Lions get an opponent who had a week off to prepare and not weigh in, and Rutgers gets a team off a two-dual swing through the midwest in which they knocked off a pair of great teams. And it’s live on tv!

Two years ago, with Penn State’s lowest-ranked team in the past six years, the Nittany Lions went into Piscataway and dominated, to the tune of 28-6. This will be the Knights’ first trip to Happy Valley as a member of the Big Ten - and their first since 1973, and it should be a doozy (for Lions fans).

How To Watch

What: #3 Penn State vs. #10 Rutgers

Where: Rec Hall, University Park, PA

When: Friday, 1/13, 7 pm ET

Audio: Free, Jeff "Ironhead" Byers, via GoPSUSports

Video: BTN (no plus!)

No. 3 Penn State WT No. 10 Rutgers

#3 - Nick Suriano (Fr., Paramus, NJ)


UR - Brandon Paetzell (Fr., Phillipsburg, NJ)

#13 - Jered Cortez (So., Carol Stream, IL)

OR UR - George Carpenter (So., Chapel Hill, NC)


UR – Scott DelVecchio (Jr., South Plainfield, NJ)

#12 - Jimmy Gulibon (Sr., Latrobe, PA)

OR UR - Kade Moss (Jr., South Jordan, UT)


#6 - Anthony Ashnault (Jr., South Plainfield, NJ)

#1 - Zain Retherford (Jr., Benton, PA)


#14 – Ken Theobold (Sr., Toms River, NJ)

OR UR - Anthony Giraldo (So., Guttenberg, NJ)

#1 - Jason Nolf (So., Yatesboro, PA)


#16 – John Van Brill (So., Mullica Hill, NJ)

#4 - Vincenzo Joseph (Fr., Pittsburgh, PA)


UR – Willie Scott (Fr., Brick, NJ)

#14 - Geno Morelli (Sr., DuBois, PA)

OR UR – Shakur Rasheed (So., Coram, NY)


UR– Phillip Bakuckas (Sr., Hammonton, NJ)

OR UR - Jordan Pagano (So., South Brunswick, NJ)

#2 - Bo Nickal (So., Allen, TX)


#14 – Nicholas Gravina (Jr., Allendale, NJ)

#11 - Matt McCutcheon (Jr., Apollo, PA)


UR – Matthew Correnti (Fr., Delran, NJ)

#5 - Nick Nevills (So., Clovis, CA)


UR – Razohnn Gross (Jr., Franklin Park, NJ)

OR UR - Marc McDonald (So., Fairfield, NJ)

125 LBS

Nick passed his first couple of tests last weekend with flying colors, giving up his first takedown (and stall warning) in the process. He’s facing a pretty good freshman (top five in his weight class) - and Nick knows it, as they’re both Jersey boys. They’ve only faced each other once before, as high school freshman, and it wasn’t particularly close, with Suriano winning 11-1. Both are better now, which means Nick is it.

Prediction: Nick by Major

Score: PSU 4, Rutgers 0

133 LBS

Carpenter performed very well on Friday, holding the ranked McKee to a 2-1 decision - before getting demolished by title contender Montoya on Sunday. If Cortez isn’t able to compete due to his lingering shoulder injury against the Scarlet Knights, I expect George to get it done. Either Nittany Lion is up against a wrestler that Jimmy Gulibon majored two years ago - and DelVecchio is better now. I’m betting he’s not good enough, though.

Prediction: Cortez/Carpenter by Decision

Score: PSU 7, Rutgers 0

141 LBS - Match of the Meet

The last time these two met, Ashnault dominated Jimmy 9-0 in the Big Ten Tournament after Gulibon’s surprising run to the finals last season. It was the Knight’s second All-American season, and he went on to finish fourth in the nation, and had four losses on the year - only one more than he currently holds. This weight is more competitive this year, and Ashnault won the Midlands in it. Good Jimmy can win this one. But will he show up?

Prediction: Ashnault by Decision

Score: PSU 7, Rutgers 3

149 LBS

Zain’s got to be upset that his Husker opponent was able to stall his way from being teched or pinned. He’ll take it out on his Rutgers opponent, who won’t get favors from the refs.

Prediction: Zain by Fall

Score: PSU 13, Rutgers 3

157 LBS

Jason Nolf just keeps cutting through these ranked opponents like they’re butter - or like they’re untested, untried freshmen. And that’s why he’s the reigning Big Ten wrestler of the week. Van Brill has turned a corner in his second attached season, but he’s up against a buzzsaw. This one won’t be close, and it won’t even feel as close as the score.

Prediction: Nolf by Fall

Score: PSU 19, Rutgers 3

165 LBS

Scott’s last match ended with him getting tech falled by IMar. Cenzo’s near that level, but not quite at it yet - he should get bonus, and easily, but it’ll last the entire seven minutes.

Prediction: Cenzo by Major

Score: PSU 23, Rutgers 3

174 LBS

Morelli had a great weekend last weekend, with hard-fought wins over quality opponents. Bakuckas hasn’t fared as well as he wrestled a few seasons ago, when he was a ranked opponent going down to then-#4 Matt Brown, and this should be another win. This one shouldn’t be as close as the score might indicate.

Prediction: Morelli by Decision

Score: PSU 26, Rutgers 3

184 LBS

Bo flat-out dominated TJ Dudley last week, even though the final score only indicated a regular decision. There was no indication that Dudley was going to win - and Gravina, though ranked, is not even near Dudley’s level, despite being a quality wrestler who finished fourth at last year’s Big Ten Championship.

Prediction: Bo by Major

Score: PSU 30, Rutgers 3

197 LBS

Mouse fell into a tough hold on Sunday and ended his weekend on a painful note, and this week is his bounceback. He’s shown earlier this season, even through Friday’s close loss to Brett Pfarr, that he can legitimately compete at this weight, and his march to declaring his All-American status continues this week. Correnti is a good matchup for him, and he has an opportunity to get back on trap - if Matt is healthy.

Prediction: McCutcheon by Decision

Score: PSU 33, Rutgers 3

285 LBS

Nick Nevills had a great weekend last weekend, pulling out a fall and a decision over two very good opponents. He’s established himself as one of the top heavyweights (if not at Snyder’s level). He can score, and score big if necessary. That’s simply refreshing, and exciting.

Prediction: Nevills by Major

Score: PSU 37, Rutgers 3