The Nittany Lions have never been at Bucknell for a wrestling dual meet, so this week is all kinds of groundbreaking; the Bison just reinstated their wrestling program in the 2005-2006 season (the program had been discontinued in 2001).
This matchup has the teams wrestling in the Bucknell basketball arena, Sojka Pavilion, instead of their normal Davis Gym, to accommodate all of those who want to see Penn State wrestle but can’t make the trip to State College - but it’s already sold out, and will be the biggest attended wrestling meet at Bucknell, and may even rival their records for basketball attendance.
Penn State has only wrestled one dual meet on the short season, fewer than most teams in the top twenty five. But that won’t stop them from demolishing most of their competition this year, especially fresh off of crowning eight champs (would’ve likely been nine, had Brady Berge not tweaked his injury in the semifinal against his teammate, Jarod Verkleeren) at the Keystone Classic.
How To Watch
What: #1 Penn State vs Bucknell Bison
Where: Sojka Pavilion, Lewisburg, PA
When: Friday, November 30, 7 pm
Audio: Free, Jeff “Ironhead” Byers, via GoPSUSports
Video: FloWrestling (subscription only)
This weight still feels like it’s just a matter of waiting until Brody Teske is ready to start (and maybe perhaps Gavin Teasdale, if he is able to make his way back to campus next semester). In the meantime, it’s Devin Schnupp’s show; he had an ok Keystone, going 2-2. I’m not so sure how he’ll fare this week, and I’m also not sure if I should go with my gut or see if the Jimmy Gulibon special will work for him. Let’s hedge our bets.
Prediction: Barzona or Campbell by decision
Score: PSU 0, Bucknell 3
RBY remains unranked because of the lack of matches on Penn State’s schedule thus far. He’ll have a chance at a marquee win this Sunday, but on Friday, he should pick up a big win.
Prediction: RBY by fall
Score: PSU 6, Bucknell 3
Has Nick Lee really made a huge jump this year, or was he simply putting up gaudy numbers when faced with the level of competition he’s seen so far? My guess is a combination of both. In order to make a run at this very deep weight, he’ll need a lot of experience - and getting bonus in all of his previous matches helps. That should continue this week.
Prediction: Lee by Tech Fall
Score: PSU 11, Bucknell 3
Berge and Verkleeren were just as close as advertised at the Keystone, with Berge narrowly taking the match before defaulting out of the finals. Because of that default, I’m betting on Jarod getting the nod; and after the KSU dual, I’m also thinking this will be big points for the home squad.
Prediction: Verkleeren by fall
Score: PSU 17, Bucknell 3
Jason Nolf doing Jason Nolf things. The question is, how long will he want to be on the mat before he finishes the match? If he wants to work out some things, this could go into the third. But make no mistake - it won’t have to.
Prediction: Nolf by fall
Score: PSU 23, Bucknell 3
If Penn State didn’t have a wrestler named Bo Nickal on their roster, Cenzo would be my favorite. He’s so ho hum, and stinking adorable - and not worried about showing his joy. He’s also the best wrestler at this very deep weight, and has a shot at being the only PSUer in history to be a four-time national champion - despite spending much of his first two seasons not ranked number one. Joseph is the wrestler that other teams fans can’t hate, because that’s just who he is. And the last time he faced Hollingshead, the match didn’t go the full seven. I expect the same here.
Prediction: Cenzo by Tech Fall
Score: PSU 28, Bucknell 3
Mark Hall will make it a competition for the fastest pin. I don’t care whether you call it a cement mixer or a gator roll, it’ll be fun, and pretty unique.
Prediction: Hall by fall
Score: PSU 34, Bucknell 3
Sugar’s cradle is so dang pretty. And the best thing about it? You know it’s coming, but you can’t stop it, it’s only a matter of time before he turns his overmatched opponents. His big test will come on Sunday; he’ll be on the mat longer in Lorenzo than on Friday night in Rec.
Prediction: Rasheed by fall
Score: PSU 40, Bucknell 3
Bo Nickal doing Bo Nickal things. The haters continue to hate while Cari rejoices. Lather, rinse, repeat (yes, I’m aware that Bo only majored Phipps last year; gmafb. It’s Bo).
Prediction: Bo by fall
Score: PSU 46, Bucknell 3
Dag, last year when Nick Nevills was a bonus point machine I thought having a heavyweight who could score a lot (and pin!) was exciting - and now we have two! I’m not so sure it’s a close contest, though, as when they faced each other at the Keystone classic, Anthony Cassar never looked like he wouldn’t win. It may just be because Nick hasn’t been the same since the injury, but I’m very excited to see how Cassar can channel Kyle Snyder as a smaller but athletic heavyweight.
Prediction: Cassar by major decision