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Wrestling Preview: #2 Penn State at #3 Iowa

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The biggest dual on the regular season schedule is upon us!

2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships
Heya, Nico!

It’s been two years since the Nittany Lions and Hawkeyes faced off in a dual meet, but the last time any members of the squad met on the mat attached it didn’t fare too well for the Iowa grapplers - Penn State’s Nico Megaludis and Zain Retherford won their national titles against Hawkeyes Thomas Gilman and Brandon Sorensen, the latter of whom will be looking to avenge his last year’s major decision loss (and last week’s last-second loss to Ok State’s Anthony Collica).

Five of Penn State’s wrestlers come into the dual against Iowa undefeated, and two of them face Iowa’s sole undefeated squad members. Something’s gotta give, and in some of those matchups, the home mat advantage should work to Iowa’s.

Since Cael Sanderson took the helm in Happy Valley, Iowa is 4-2 over the Lions in dual meets, though Penn State has won five national titles - and the Hawkeyes have gone title-less since Cael’s first year. The last time the two teams met, Iowa was victorious in the BJC (in PSU’s only non-title winning season of the past six) - but the last time in Carver Hawkeye, Penn State dominated behind 3 major decisions (even giving up a pin to Ramos). Even if some of the tossups go Iowa’s way, this week should be similar.

How To Watch

What: #2 Penn State vs. #3 Iowa

Where: Carver Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, IA

When: Friday, 1/20, 9 pm ET

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

Video: BTN (no plus!)

No. 2 Penn State WT No. 3 Iowa`

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

125

#1 - Thomas Gilman (Sr., Council Bluffs, IA)

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

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

133

#3 – Cory Clark (Sr., Pleasant Hill, IA)

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

141

#18 - Topher Carton (Sr., Rock Island, IL)

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

149

#3 – Brandon Sorensen (Jr., Cedar Falls, IA)

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

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

157

#2 – Michael Kemerer (So., Murrysville, PA)

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

165

UR – Joey Gunther (Fr., Libertyville, IL)

OR UR - Skyler St. John (So., Cedar Rapids, IA)

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

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

174

#13 – Alex Meyer (Sr., Pleasant Hill, IA)

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

184

#5 – Sammy Brooks (Sr., Oak Park, IL)

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

197

UR – Cash Wilcke (Fr., Battle Creek, IA)

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

285

#8 – Sam Stoll (So., Kasson, MN)

125 LBS - Match of the Meet #1

Nick Suriano may not have come into this match undefeated had Penn State been able to make the trip to Reno’s Tournament of Champions (which had Joey Dance at this weight), but they weren’t, and he is. What awaits him is the cream of this weight class’s crop, with Gilman the odds-on favorite to win the National Title in March. This one should be the best of the best of the evening, with Nick taking really good shots and Gilman countering well (and scoring off counters) but I don’t think it’s enough. Suriano will get his first loss since before high school, but it’ll be the last for a while.

Prediction: Gilman by Decision

Score: PSU 0, Iowa 3

133 LBS

Word is that Jered Cortez will be out for the rest of the season, due to his lingering shoulder injury. Tristan Law is looking to challenge George Carpenter for the starting spot the rest of the season, but it may be too late for Law this week. Look for Carpenter to get the start, but Clark is very, very good (despite the lone loss to Ok State’s Kaid Brock last week). Carpenter kept it close (no bonus) against Rutgers’ Delvecchio last week while doing the majority of the shooting, and his tech fall loss to Nebraska’s Montoya may be fluky. I’m betting so.

Prediction: Clark by Major

Score: PSU 0, Iowa 7

141 LBS - Match of the Meet #2

Jimmy may be the higher ranked of the two wrestlers, but which Jimmy will we see tonight? Carton, who finished 7th at midlands, is surprisingly high-scoring. I think Jimmy comes out a little flat, and when he turns it on it’s a little too little, too late.

Prediction: Carton by Decision

Score: PSU 0, Iowa 10

149 LBS

The last time they met, Zain destroyed Sorensen 10-1—in an NCAA final. Is it possible he’s even better this year? Maybe not. But he’s at least as good. This one won’t be close, despite the fact that Sorensen should have been undefeated headed into it.

Prediction: Zain by Major

Score: PSU 4, Iowa 10

157 LBS

Jason Nolf is Zain Retherford-caliber this year. Kemerer is very good, a Pennsylvania boy, and anyone who takes down JoJo Smith is ok in my book (especially since he got sat in the National Duals last year), but Nolf is on an entirely different plane this year. It’s possible that Kemerer keeps it close (I’m actually expecting him to score the first takedown). Possible - but not likely.

Prediction: Nolf by Major

Score: PSU 8, Iowa 10

165 LBS

Cenzo has been quietly putting together a dominant season since his early loss to Subjeck. He’s not getting the press of his undefeated counterparts, but the redshirt freshman can score points fast and often. Joey Gunther is a decent wrestler, but he’s been battling a shoulder injury; if Skyler St. John gets the nod, this could get out of hand really quickly (with more bonus than I’m predicting).

Prediction: Cenzo by Major

Score: PSU 12, Iowa 10

174 LBS - Match of the Meet #3

Last week, Geno let Rutgers’ Bakuckas in the match when he had a chance to put it away. This week, he has an opportunity to show whether he has a shot at All-American status in March against a very veteran opponent. Geno’s only loss on the season is against his teammate, and some of the toughest guys he’ll see are the ones in the weight room. Meyer is good, but he’s not Mike Evans (who’s still not impressed).

Prediction: Morelli by Decision

Score: PSU 15, Iowa 10

184 LBS

Nickal is legit scary this year, and looks to be the only wrestler that could challenge Gabe Dean. Brooks and his mullet only have one loss on the year - to the very good Nate Jackson of Indiana, whom Sammy beat later on in the Midlands tournament to take third - but TJ Dudley is better than Brooks, and he was unilaterally dominated by Bo, more than the final score dictated. The redshirt sophomore won’t leave bonus on the table this week.

Prediction: Bo by Major

Score: PSU 19, Iowa 10

197 LBS

Mouse bounced back from a fluke pin by beating a feisty Rutgers opponent last week. He’s up against an Iowa state champion in his first year of competing for the Hawkeyes who couldn’t notch a point against his Ok State foe last week. It should be a low-scoring, grind it out affair - but Mouse comes out on top.

Prediction: McCutcheon by Decision

Score: PSU 22, Iowa 10

285 LBS

In the post-dual radio show, Bo Nickal called out fans at Rec Hall for leaving before Nick Nevills finished wrestling. Many PSU fans are used to ugly, boring heavyweight wrestlers; Nevills is not that type of wrestler, a smaller dude in a shaved bear’s body. He’s undefeated (with a trio of wins over ranked wrestlers) and takes on Sam Stoll, who also has a win against Nebraska’s ranked Jensen - but Nick pinned him.

Prediction: Nevills by Decision

Score: PSU 25, Iowa 10