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Wrestling Preview: No. 1 Penn State vs No. 12 Nebraska

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Another weekend, another ranked foe coming into Rec Hall.

FloSports: FloWrestling Cowboy Wrestling -Nebraska at Wyoming Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

*Birdman hand rub*

While the queen-emeritus of BSD (long live the queen), Cari Greene, checks out life in the Pacific Northwest, she leaves yours truly with the keys to the dual preview car.

And what a dual it is as Nebraska comes into Rec Hall for a contest that could see as many as six ranked matchups with a pair of others that hold intrigue as well.

How To Watch

What: #1 Penn State vs #12 Nebraska*

Where: Rec Hall, University Park, PA

When: Sunday, January 20, 1 pm

Audio: Free, Jeff “Ironhead” Byers, via GoPSUSports

Video: BTN+/FloWrestling (subscription only)

Lineup

No. 1 Penn State WT No. 12 Nebraska
No. 1 Penn State WT No. 12 Nebraska
Devin Schnupp (So., Lititz, PA) 125 #13 - Zeke Moisey (Sr., Northampton, PA)
#13 - Roman Bravo-Young (Fr., Tucson, AZ) 133 Jevon Parrish (Fr., Olathe, KS)
#6 - Nick Lee (So., Evansville, IN) 141 #19 - Chad Red (So., Indianapolis, IN)
#10 - Brady Berge (Fr., Mantorville, MN) OR Jerod Verkleeren (Fr., Greensburg, PA) 149 Collin Purinton (Jr., Banks, OR)
#1 - Jason Nolf (Sr., Yatesboro, PA) 157 #2 - Tyler Berger (Sr., Prineville, OR)
#1 - Vincenzo Joseph (Jr., Pittsburgh, PA) 165 #6 - Isaiah White (Jr., Chicago, IL)
#1 - Mark Hall (Jr., Apple Valley, MN) 174 #9 - Mikey Labriola (Fr., Easton, PA)
#3 - Shakur Rasheed (Sr., Coram, NY) 184 #5 - Taylor Venz (So., Farmington, MN)
#1 - Bo Nickal (Sr., Allen, TX) 197 #11 - Eric Schultz (So., Tinley Park, IL)
#4 - Anthony Cassar (Sr., Rocky Hill, NJ) OR Nick Nevills (Sr., Clovis, CA) 285 #14 - David Jensen (Jr., Modbridge, SD)

125 LBS

Prediction: Moisey via major decision.

Score: Nebraska 4, PSU 0.

133 LBS

Luckily for the Nittany Lions, Roman Bravo-Young mans the spot at 133 and will square off with either Jevon Parris or Tucker Sjomeling. Regardless of who the Huskers throw out, Bravo-Young will be the heavy favorite and I expect the result to reflect as much.

Prediction: RBY via major decision.

Score: PSU 4, Nebraska 4.

141 LBS

If you haven’t watched Chad Red and Nick Lee’s Indiana state finals match from a few years back, you should scroll up and remedy that. Red came back from a 4-0 deficit to win 5-4 despite not taking a single shot in the match. Hey, that’s wrestling.

These two were both All-Americans last year and will square off for the first time since that match on Sunday. Lee has had the better year of the two as Red has fallen out of the top 20, though the Penn State sophomore is coming off a loss to Wisconsin’s Tristan Moran. He’ll look to rebound this weekend and I expect he’ll do so.

Prediction: Lee via decision.

Score: PSU 7, Nebraska 4.

149 LBS

Brady Berge is also coming off an upset loss to Wisconsin’s Cole Martin in a match where he jumped out to a 6-3 lead and then faded late. There’s talk of a rough cut for Berge, who is expected to man 157 next year with Jason Nolf gone, but I think last week’s result was more a producr of not staying aggressive. I doubt he makes the same mistake this time around against a very solid wrestler in Purinton.

Prediction: Berge via decision

Score: PSU 10, Nebraska 4.

157 LBS

This one should feel bigger than it does as we get a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in the middle of the regular season in Rec Hall. But there’s that darn Jason Nolf fella. Berger has been a giant slayer over the last two years or so, but he hasn’t been able to claim Nolf’s scalp, or even come close for that matter. Nolf is 3-0 against Berger in college with two major decision victories and a tech fall. He also took out Berge 8-5 at Dapper Dan in 2014. Berger does, however, hold a 2-0 FloNationals win over Nolf back when the two wrestled at 132 pounds.

None of that matters now, however. Nolf, next topic.

Prediction: Nolf via major decision.

Score: PSU 14, Nebraska 4.

165 LBS

White beat Joseph soundly in the 2014 Fargo finals at 145 and then claimed a 3-1 sudden victory win at 152 at Ironman later that year.

Cenzo got the best of him the last time out and when it mattered most, however, grabbing a 4-2 win in sudden victory two in the NCAA quarterfinals last year. It was unquestionably the closest Joseph has come to losing a match at the NCAA tournament thus far in his career.

I’d like to think he’s figured out the puzzle that is Isaiah White, but I can really say for sure. If he goes this weekend (which is still in doubt), I like Cenzo in a close one.

Prediction: Joseph via decision.

Score: PSU 17, Nebraska 4.

174 LBS

Mikey Labriola could well be a future national champ. His skill is evident in the video above against future Penn Stater Aaron Brooks.

Unfortunately for Labriola, he currently has Mark Hall (and Zahid Valencia) in the way of that goal.

Everything Labriola does right now, Hall just does that little bit better. I don’t think this one will be a nail biter, but I also don’t think it’ll be a blowout.

We’ll set the line at Hall -3.5.

Prediction: Hall via decision.

Score: PSU 20, Nebraska 4.

184 LBS

This is the match with perhaps the most intrigue for me in the dual.

Venz is a returning All-American and many feel he could be the man to meet up with Myles Martin in this year’s NCAA finals. Especially when you consider a lingering knee issue for NC State’s Myles Martin.

Shakur started the season like a house on fire, but struggled a bit in his final match at the Southern Scuffle and again in his match last Sunday against Wisconsin.

This match should give us a good idea of where he’s at nationally. Both are absolute hammers on top, though I don’t think either gives Martin much of a test.

Because it’s in Rec Hall, I give the slightest of edges to Shak this time around.

Prediction: Rasheed via decision.

Score: PSU 23, Nebraska 4.

197 LBS

The 197 field this season is, uh, we’ll go with sub-par.

Schultz is a top-10 guy, but that’s more by default than anything else.

Prediction: Nickal via fall.

Score: PSU 29, Nebraska 4

285 LBS

Jensen, who is following in the footsteps of his older brother Collin with the Huskers, was undefeated prior to his Friday matchup with Maryland’s Youssif Hemida.

Hemida came away with an 8-6 victory in that dual to rid Jensen of his clean slate.

Cassar has just the one loss on the year in the finals of the Southern Scuffle to No. 2 Derek White of a Oklahoma State.

The Penn State senior(ish) is unlike anything Jensen has seen this year and I expect him to be a bit too much for the Nebraska junior.

Prediction: Cassar via major decision.

Score: PSU 33, Nebraska 4


*Nebraska is #7 in the Intermat tournament ranking; they are #12 in Intermat’s Dual rankings, and since this is, in point of fact, a dual, we used that.