The Nittany Lions are the road squad versus a top ten opponent once again, and this could be their toughest test - Ohio State matches up really well with the Penn State lineup from top to bottom, and it could end up coming down to bonus points.
Last year, the Buckeyes rolled into Bryce Jordan Center and were walloped, despite some #averageofficiating that actually favored the Ohio State squad (in rereading my thoughts on that dual, I got irritated all over again). This year, Penn State’s sole protected dual opponent plays host, and they have more number one wrestlers than the Lions do—but will that help?
The Bucks are coming off a pretty one-sided loss in Carver Hawkeye Arena that didn’t feature their biggest star. The last time the two teams met in Columbus, it was OSU’s national championship year and all of PSU’s current big guns were redshirting. This year is different and it won’t be so easy - but it could be a 50/50 split (my favorite Buckeye/Nittany Lion match will forever be this one, though).
How To Watch
What: #2 Penn State vs. #4 Ohio State*
Where: Schottenstein Center, Columbus, OH
When: Friday, 2/3, 6 pm ET
Audio: Free, Jeff "Ironhead" Byers, via GoPSUSports
Video: BTN (not plus)
|No. 2 Penn State||WT||No. 4. Ohio State|
|No. 2 Penn State||WT||No. 4. Ohio State|
|#2 - Nick Suriano (Fr., Paramus, NJ)||125||#18 - Jose Rodriguez (Fr., Massillon, OH)|
|UR - George Carpenter (So., Chapel Hill, NC) OR UR - Triston Law (Fr., Windber, PA)||133||#1 - Nathan Tomasello (Jr., Parma, OH)|
|#11 - Jimmy Gulibon (Sr., Latrobe, PA)||141||#15 - Luke Pletcher (Fr., Latrobe, PA)|
|#1 - Zain Retherford (Jr., Benton, PA)||149||#5 - Micah Jordan (So., Urbana, OH)|
|#1 - Jason Nolf (So., Yatesboro, PA)||157||UR - Jake Ryan (So., Powell, OH)|
|#4 - Vincenzo Joseph (Fr., Pittsburgh, PA)||165||UR - Cody Burcher (So., Gnadenhutten, OH)|
|#7 - Mark Hall (Fr., Apple Valley, MN)||174||#1 - Bo Jordan (Jr., Urbana, OH)|
|#2 - Bo Nickal (So., Allen, TX)||184||#10 - Myles Martin (So., Penns Grove, NJ)|
|#9 - Matt McCutcheon (Jr., Apollo, PA)||197||#4 - Kollin Moore (Fr., Burbank, OH)|
|#3 - Nick Nevills (So., Clovis, CA)||285||#1 - Kyle Snyder (Jr., Woodbine, MD)|
Suriano is one of the elite wrestlers at this weight; he was supremely close to taking down Thomas Gilman, and in fact was in control of that match despite the outcome. Rodriguez is good, but he’s lost three in a row—including bonus point losses to Gilman and Wisconsin’s Johnny Jiminez. Nick should get this one pretty easily, with the question just being the amount of bonus points.
Prediction: Suriano by Major
Score: PSU 4, Ohio State 0
The only thing that keeps Penn State from running away with the NCAA title this year is this weight. Carpenter got teched by the very good Cory Clark of Iowa, who was unable to wrestle Tomasello last week; instead, NaTo got his backup and didn’t score bonus. I just have a bad feeling about this one, and I think either George, who lost a close one on Sunday to Northwestern’s Ipsarides, or Triston Law, who got teched by Wisconsin’s Stickley, will end up on their back.
Prediction: Tomasello by Pin
Score: PSU 4, Ohio State 6
Why stop now? Jimmy’s been on an absolute tear these past few weeks, ever since his come from behind, risk-taking victory at Iowa. He’s followed that performance with two bonus point bonanzas, looking to score instead of just win. He faces yet another ranked opponent, this one also a Pennsylvania boy.
Prediction: Pletcher by Decision
Score: PSU 4, Ohio State 9
This matchup won’t be as good as the last two times we’ve seen Zain take on a Buckeye in a dual meet, but he does get a very good opponent in Micah Jordan, whose first loss of the season came last week in Iowa City. Even in low scoring matches (of which I’m not convinced this is one), wrestling Retherford just plain hurts.
Prediction: Zain by Major
Score: PSU 8, Ohio State 9
Jake Ryan is not the wrestler he was last year when he should have been tech falled by Nolf were it not for some fancy dancing (the three stall calls he got against him apparently weren’t an incentive for the coach’s son to actually wrestle). This year he’ll likely try the same strategy, to limit the bonus points that Nolf will get against him; the difference is, as stated, Ryan isn’t the wrestler he was last year - he’s not as good. Nolf, too, isn’t the wrestler he was last year - he’s better, and more complete. He’ll work around any attempts of Ryan stalling.
Prediction: Nolf by Pin
Score: PSU 14, Ohio State 9
After narrowly losing to Wisconsin’s Bo Jordan in a match he had the opportunity to win, Cenzo took a breather on Sunday and his backup got a pin. He’s back tonight, facing an unranked Ohio State grappler who beats the guys he should beat, and loses to the guys he should lose to. Cenzo’s the latter, and has firepower that we don’t discuss here enough. He shows it tonight, and this one isn’t close.
Prediction: Cenzo by Major
Score: PSU 18, Ohio State 9
174 LBS - Match of the Meet #1
Whoa boy. Now that he’s hopefully found his footing, this match will show how far off Mark Hall is from the upper echelon of this weight (loss to Alex Meyer notwithstanding). My guess is he’s pretty darn close, but not quite there - and Bo wins by a point or two. But it’s a darn exciting match, down to the wire, with Hall being the aggressor and Jordan taking advantage of opportunities that our true freshman gives him.
Prediction: Jordan by Decision
Score: PSU 18, Ohio State 12
184 LBS - Match of the Meet #2
The only reason this is a match of the meet is the revenge factor. Bo’s loss in the NCAA finals to Martin after beating him soundly twice early last season has clearly been his motivating factor this season, and this has got to be the dual date that he’s got circled on his calendar. Martin will likely be playing defense all match, as he is wont to do against Bo (his winning counter takedown and back points in March came off an unwise Bo move) and I could see this easily spiraling out of control pretty quickly - if Myles allows him to wrestle, that is.
Prediction: Bo by Major
Score: PSU 22, Ohio State 12
197 LBS - Match of the Meet #3
Moore is probably the biggest surprise in the Buckeye lineup, with only two losses on the season, against undisputed title favorite J’Den Cox and Minnesota’s Pfarr. Mouse also has two losses—also to Pfarr, and a fluky pin by Nebraska’s Studebaker. This should be a very, very good match, lower scoring than Moore is used to. If McCutcheon can make Moore wrestle at his level, then he has a good shot at taking this one. But Moore has incredible talent and home mat advantage, so I’ll give him the edge.
Prediction: Moore by Decision
Score: PSU 22, Ohio State 15
Whoa, boy. Snyder’s back, and as much as I want to, I can’t hate him - he provided arguably the most thrilling heavyweight final in NCAA history last year, and he’s an Olympic champion. No big deal for Nick Nevills, right? Snyder has wrestled six matched for Ohio State this season, with four pins, a tech fall and a major decision. Nevills is very good, but Snyder is a dang Olympian. This is quite a mountain to climb, and Nick’s mark of a good outing will be measured by the amount of points he gives up.
Prediction: Snyder by Major
Score: PSU 22, Ohio State 19
*As this is a dual meet, I’m using the Intermat Dual Team rankings. In the Intermat Tournament rankings, Penn State is up to #1, and Ohio State is #3.