The Lions have dropped to number two behind the Buckeyes despite taking down a very good Lehigh squad in their last dual meeting. No matter; it’ll be settled where it counts. And the road to another conference title begins today.
Indiana has never beaten Penn State in a dual meet, and that’s not likely to change this week, despite the Hoosiers being a good 6-2 on the season. The two squads didn’t meet last season, which means that then-freshmen phenoms Vincenzo Joseph and Mark Hall haven’t faced Indiana yet, though Indiana’s sole ranked wrestler is a junior and was part of the squad that was ranked #20 but lost handily to the Lions (Weaver lost by major to Jimmy Gulibon).
That last dual meet between the two squads did feature a pretty astounding upset - Indiana’s Nate Jackson upset then-#1 Bo Nickal at 174, Nickals only loss on the season until the NCAA finals. Will there be another upset this week? Not likely.
How To Watch
What: #2 Penn State vs Indiana
Where: Rec Hall, University Park, PA
When: Sunday, 12/17, 2 pm ET
Audio: Free, Jeff "Ironhead" Byers, via GoPSUSports
Video: BTN (an actual tv station!) or online, here
|No. 1 Penn State||WT||Indiana|
|No. 1 Penn State||WT||Indiana|
|Devin Schnupp (Fr., Lititz, PA)||125||Elijah Oliver (Jr., Washington, IL)|
|#18 Corey Keener (Sr., Schuylkill Haven, PA)||133||Garrett Pepple (So., Kendalville, IN)|
|Jered Cortez (Jr., Carol Stream, IL)||141||#12 - Cole Weaver (Jr., Hudson, MI)|
|#1 - Zain Retherford (Sr., Benton, PA)||149||Davey Tunon (Fr., Clarksville, OH)|
|#1 - Jason Nolf (Jr., Yatesboro, PA)||157||Jake Danishek (Jr., Lebanon, OH)|
|#1 - Vincenzo Joseph (So., Pittsburgh, PA)||165||Bryce Martin (Jr., Bakersfield, CA)|
|#2 - Mark Hall (So., Apple Valley, MN)||174||Devin Skatska (So., Richmond, MI)|
|#1 - Bo Nickal (Jr., Allen, TX)||184||Norman Conley (So., St Louis, MO)|
|#9 - Anthony Cassar (So., Rocky Hill, NJ) OR Matt McCutcheon (Sr., Apollo, PA)||197||Jake Hinz (So., Westerville, OH) OR Spencer Irick (Fr., Fishers, IN)|
|#3 - Nick Nevills (Jr., Clovis, CA)||285||Fletcher Miller (Jr., Kokoo, IN)|
Schnupp got his first NCAA win a few weeks ago at the Keystone Classic, but the grind doesn’t get easier for him this week. Oliver may not be ranked, but he’s scrappy and experienced with an NCAA tournament under his belt - and didn’t get bonused by Nico a few years ago, and he just beat a Buckeye. This one is going to feel more lopsided than the final score.
Prediction: Oliver by Decision
Score: PSU 0, Indiana 3
Keener dropped in the rankings despite not losing - that’s what happens when you sit out due to injury, and can’t face a top five guy and prove your mettle. He’ll likely be back this week and facing someone not as tough as he would have faced a few weeks ago - but it’ll be a good test of his health.
Prediction: Keener by Major
Score: PSU 4, Indiana 3
Jered hasn’t looked the same since his injury last season, and with Nick Lee waiting in the wings, this week is his chance to make a dent after not looking like a shooting PSU wrestler at Lehigh. Weaver may have been majored by Gulibon a few years ago, but he’s legit and made strides in his junior season after narrowly missing out on a tourney bid last year.
Prediction: Weaver by Decision
Score: PSU 4, Indiana 6
Like the last dual meet, here’s where things start to swing Penn State’s way.
Prediction: Zain by Pin
Score: PSU 10, Indiana 6
The score in this one will likely come down to whether or not Danishek, an NCAA qualifier last year, wrestles to win or not to lose big. If it’s the former, Nolf’ll try some funky sweet moves and maybe stick him on some sort of counter; if it’s the latter, it’ll come down to whether Danishek can hold it to under 15 points in regulation. I respect many Indiana wrestlers enough to hope it’s the former, even though he held Nolf to a major two years ago.
Prediction: Nolf by Pin
Score: PSU 16, Indiana 6
Cenzo hasn’t wrestled since the Binghamton dual, sitting out the Keystone Classic with an undisclosed injury. He’s still #1 in the land because of his returning champ status and lack of losses, and he’ll have plenty of opportunities to defend his crown this year. His opponent likely won’t be one of them; though Martin is decent and comes into this match with a winning record. If Cenzo’s back to his full strength, it’ll be bonus. If not, he wins a closer one that feels more one-sided than the final score.
Prediction: Cenzo by Major Decision
Score: PSU 20, Indiana 6
Skatzka had a good freshman season last year, making the NCAA tournament, and he’s picked up where he left off with a 12-2 record on the short season (he also boasts a then-impressive win over Cornell’s Realbuto last season). He’s close to being ranked though Intermat doesn’t have him up there; look for him to make noise in the post season. But he’s facing a different animal in Mark Hall, and though he’ll be able to keep it close, the outcome won’t ever be in doubt.
Prediction: Hall by Decision
Score: PSU 23, Indiana 6
Ryan Preisch wrestled Bo really close, though it never felt like Nickal was going to lose the close one. This week is when Bo gets back to being Bo, facing an opponent who, in his last outing, got majored by Bo’s nemesis, Myles Martin. I think Bo is the quickest of the finishers this weekend.
Prediction: Bo by Pin
Score: PSU 29, Indiana 6
Indiana’s likely best wrestler at this weight, redshirt freshman Blake Rypel, is injured and hasn’t seen time for them so far this season. His replacements are serviceable in his absence but won’t get it done against a resurging Cassar, whose confidence is boosted after a strong showing in the Keystone Classic, and a dominating match against Lehigh in which he seemingly took down his opponent at will. He’s finally ranked due to his prowess (with Mouse dropping out of the rankings, despite the “OR” in this lineup). This should be a fun one to watch.
Prediction: Cassar by Major Decision
Score: PSU 33, Indiana 6
Fletcher beat Kyle Snyder’s younger bro, also a Buckeye heavyweight, in his last outing in a singlet. With how much better Nick has gotten in the last year and a half, this one won’t be the same as wrestling a freshman, no matter the bloodline. If the Hoosier turtles up, Nevills won’t be able to turn him - but it won’t matter, because Nick’s ride has gotten super tough and it’ll just be a matter of points.
Prediction: Nevills by Major