It’s been a number of years since Purdue has captured more than one match at a dual meet against Penn State - and if this year’s similar, the one loss for the Lions will again be one of the bookended matches.
PSU has looked rather lackluster these last few weeks; to be sure, dual wins against ranked Wisconsin and Nebraska squads are nothing to sneeze at - but with injuries to starting wrestlers, surprising upsets of ranked Nittany Lions, and a distinct lack of bonus points (which happens when opposing ranked wrestlers simply step on the mat to avoid getting pinned), it’s just felt like this team hasn’t lived up to its hype so far this calendar year.
As my esteemed colleague Clay said, we’re just so spoiled.
Ten years ago, this preview would have been quite different. And hoo boy, am I glad to be the spoiled one, no matter how much I may complain - as fans, we’re blessed. In many ways.
Onto the preview!
How To Watch
What: #1 Penn State vs Purdue
Where: Holloway Gymnasium, West Lafayette, IN
When: Friday, January 25, 7 pm
Audio: Free, Jeff “Ironhead” Byers, via GoPSUSports
|No. 1 Penn State||WT||Purdue|
|No. 1 Penn State||WT||Purdue|
|Devin Schnupp (So., Lititz, PA)||125||Devin Schroeder (Fr., Grand Rapids, MI)|
|#13 - Roman Bravo-Young (Fr., Tucson, AZ)||133||#18 - Ben Thornton (Sr., Stoddard, WI)|
|#7 - Nick Lee (So., Evansville, IN)||141||Nate Limmex (Jr., Ada, MI)|
|#11 - Brady Berge (Fr., Mantorville, MN) OR Jerod Verkleeren (Fr., Greensburg, PA)||149||Parker Filius (Fr., Havre, MT)|
|#1 - Jason Nolf (Sr., Yatesboro, PA)||157||#13 - Griffith Parriott (So., New Prague, MN) OR Austin Nash (Jr., Florham Park, NJ)|
|#1 - Vincenzo Joseph (Jr., Pittsburgh, PA)||165||Cole Wysocki (Jr., Edwardsville, IL)|
|#1 - Mark Hall (Jr., Apple Valley, MN)||174||#14 - Dylan Lydy (Jr., Indianapolis, IN)|
|#3 - Shakur Rasheed (Sr., Coram, NY)||184||Max Lyon (So., Dylersville, IA)|
|#1 - Bo Nickal (Sr., Allen, TX)||197||#12 - Christian Brunner (Jr., East Dundee, IL)|
|#4 - Anthony Cassar (Sr., Rocky Hill, NJ) OR Nick Nevills (Sr., Clovis, CA)||285||Jacob Aven (Sr., Zionsville, IN)|
I was very tempted to pick Schnupp to pull this one out late. He seems slow to get tired this year, and is still looking to score late in the third against a gassing opponent - even if they’re ranked. Schroeder is the heir to Purdue’s longtime starter Luke Welch, and he’s stepped in well. But he won’t get a forfeit like Welch did last year - and Schnupp’ll make him work (or dance away) for the victory.
Prediction: Schroeder by decision
Score: PSU 0, Purdue 3
133 LBS - Match of the Meet
Bravo-Young is just so exciting - you’ll never know what he may end up doing. And this week, I’m predicting he’ll put an absolute clinic on a fellow ranked wrestler, learning from his loss at the Scuffle. On paper this should be the closest match of the day - but in reality, it’ll be far from that.
Prediction: RBY by major decision.
Score: PSU 4, Purdue 3
A week after a hard-fought, heartening win over high school foe Chad Red, Nick Lee dropped in the rankings—I’m not sure why UNI’s Josh Alber jumped him when Lee actually beat a ranked wrestler. But, oh, well, it’ll all sort out on the end - and confidence from last week should bolster Nick this week, when I see him dominating from the first whistle - with back points over a foe he majored last year, when Lee wasn’t as good as he is now.
Prediction: Lee by major decision.
Score: PSU 8, Purdue 3
I grappled with whether to predict Brady gets bonus in this dual, and I went with my lack of confidence after the last few weeks. I think Berge wins comfortably, but by about 6 points - and a lot of riding time.
Prediction: Berge by decision
Score: PSU 11, Purdue 3
What happens when your opponents are so far behind you that their entire strategy in the match is to hang on for dear life, accept stall calls, try to twist your knee and drape yourself any which way you can in order to not get teched or pinned? If you’re Jason Nolf, you smile at their attempts, staying bored out on the mat as you beat them convincingly, then tap your ankle bands and raise your index fingers to the air. Then methodically march your way towards a third national title.
Prediction: Nolf by tech fall
Score: PSU 16, Purdue 3
Cenzo was back last week! And facing an unranked wrestler with a losing season so far, he’ll have a chance to make a splash - and I expect him to do so. He’s the heavy favorite in a very stocked weight for a reason, folks - and Wysocki was pinned by Nolf last year, so he’s got a streak going.
Prediction: Joseph by fall
Score: PSU 22, Purdue 3
Hall’s cut down on the bonus points recently, but has been winning some of the most dominant regular decisions possible. I think this streak continues this week, and he’ll go back to scoring upon scoring come tourney time.
Prediction: Hall by decision
Score: PSU 25, Purdue 3
If Shakur’s better, he’ll win big tonight. If his injury is still an issue and Manville fills in again, I think he’ll make it close - and unlike last week, even though he’d give up weight, I actually think Manville would pull it out.
Prediction: Rasheed by major decision
Score: PSU 29, Purdue 3
I would like Bo to pin the #12 wrestler in the nation. I do not think it’ll happen, but it should be fun watching him try.
Prediction: Nickal by major decision
Score: PSU 33, Purdue 3
How many pounds will Cassar give up? Should be a good betting game. It won’t matter too much - Anthony is one of the best at heavyweight this year, despite his smaller stature, and his only test before the tourneys will be the BJC dual vs Michigan.
Prediction: Cassar by major decision