Down three starters, the Nittany Lions hosted Michigan State in their penultimate home dual of the season—and still managed to dominate, with three pins, a stall out, a tech fall, and two majors on the night. This team in a sight to behold—even the backups giving up 10+ pounds on the mat won’t let the match be easy.
But here we are, with the final road dual of the season upon us, and some great matches to boot! This isn’t the dominating force at some weights like Illinois has been in the past—to his own relief, IMar has exhausted his eligibility— but this dual features some pretty exciting matchups that may portend what’s to come in March
How To Watch
What: #1 Penn State vs Illinois*
Where: Huff Hall, Champaign, IL
When: Sunday, February 17, 2 pm
Audio: Free, Jeff “Ironhead” Byers, via GoPSUSports
|No. 1 Penn State||WT||Illinois|
|No. 1 Penn State||WT||Illinois|
|Devin Schnupp (So., Lititz, PA)||125||#12 - Travis Piotrowski (Jr., Crystal Lake, IL)|
|#11 - Roman Bravo-Young (Fr., Tucson, AZ)||133||Dylan Duncan (So., Lombard, IL)|
|#2 - Nick Lee (So., Evansville, IN)||141||#5 - Mike Carr (So., South Fayette, PA)|
|#11 - Brady Berge (Fr., Mantorville, MN) OR Jerod Verkleeren (Fr., Greensburg, PA)||149||Christian Kanzler (Jr., Fox Lake, IL)|
|#1 - Jason Nolf (Sr., Yatesboro, PA)||157||#10 - Eric Barone (Jr., Crystal Lake, IL)|
|#1 - Vincenzo Joseph (Jr., Pittsburgh, PA)||165||Joey Gunther (Jr., Libertyville, IL)|
|#1 - Mark Hall (Jr., Apple Valley, MN)||174||Carver James (Jr., Rock City, IL)|
|#2 - Shakur Rasheed (Sr., Coram, NY)||184||#7 - Emery Parker (Sr., Wadsworth, IL)|
|#1 - Bo Nickal (Sr., Allen, TX)||197||Andre Lee (Sr., Maywood, IL)|
|#3 - Anthony Cassar (Sr., Rocky Hill, NJ) OR Nick Nevills (Sr., Clovis, CA)||285||Deuce Rachal (Sr., Chicago, IL)|
Schnupp has gotten better this year, but he’s still struggling with the ranked guys at this weight. Foley looks like he’s determined to make the podium this year, and though Piotrowski is ranked, I don’t see him dominating as much. I think Devin keeps it close, and gets in on one really deep shot, probably in the third.
Prediction: Piotrowski by decision
Score: PSU 0, Illinois 3
I originally had this one penned as an RBY win, but now that he sat on Friday, I expect Stossel to travel with the team. He’ll put up a fight, likely having the match come down to the wire, but the benefit of wrestling the entire season will help Duncan prevail.
Prediction: Duncan by decision
Score: PSU 0, Illinois 6
141 LBS - Match of the Meet
I originally threw the Gulibon and Lee for this match—but the more I tired to convince myself to write about Carr winning, the more I simply couldn’t do it. Lee has looked great most of the season, and the win over McKenna was just what he needed to propel him to the offseason. It’ll be close, but Nick’s tightwaist and conditioning will win out
Prediction: Nick by decision
Score: PSU 3, Illinois 6
As the weeks go on, I know i’m not alone in thinking that Verkleeren will be the starter at this weight in the post. And with more than a few hours to prepare, he has the talent and ability to win against almost anyone. He’s gaining confidence and I expect him to win big on the road.
Prediction: Verk by major decision
Score: PSU 7, Illinois 6
I originally picked a tech here. After Friday, i’m changing it to a pin. Because Nolf wants to keep his record over Bo.
Prediction: Nolf by pin
Score: PSU 13, Illinois 6
Cenzo at third, with the #1 RPI? Lol. Joseph still, after all he’s done, doesn’t get the respect or accolades as his teammates—and I somehow think he’s ok with that. He’ll score bonus either way.
Prediction: Joseph by major decision
Score: PSU 17, Illinois 6
Hall’s match on Friday was the weirdest thing i’ve seen—a guy with a winning record willingly losing the 6 points to his opponent simply because he doesn’t want to end up on his back? There’s better ways to stall, Hughes, and some might even let you get away with losing by only a tech!
Anyway, Hall’s great and will want to prove he can actually get the six without his opponent’s tactical stupidity.
Prediction: Hall by pin
Score: PSU 23, Illinois 6
If Shakur was going, I think he’d be able to get Parker. But with his knee, I expect we’ll see Manville again, and though he looked pretty darn good on Friday, it won’t be enough. And Parker’s no Martin, so he’ll just get a regular decision.
Prediction: Parker by decision
Score: PSU 23, Illinois 9
Bo just doesn’t like wrestling a full first period. That’s it.
Prediction: Bo by pin
Score: PSU 29, Illinois 9
Cassar is so darn exciting, even giving up close to 50 pounds like he did last night. He’ll make most of the heavies pay, and is really just setting himself up for a showdown with Steveson.
Prediction: Cassar by major decision
Score: PSU 33, Illinois 9
*Illinois is #19 in the Intermat tournament ranking; they are unranked in Intermat’s Dual rankings, and since this is, in point of fact, a dual, we did not rank them.