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Wrestling Preview: No. 3 Penn State vs Maryland

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After a strong showing in Iowa, the Nittany Lions head home to rebound against the Terrapins.

NCAA Wrestling: Penn State at Iowa Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

After coming oh-so-close to an upset of the Hawkeyes late on Friday night, the Nittany Lion wrestling squad is back in State College on Sunday to take on Maryland. The Terrapins, whose PSU alum head coach Kerry McCoy left after last season, seems to be on paper the exact type of reprieve that Penn State needs after the trip, and in order to gear up for a tough few weeks down the stretch of this season.

PSU has never lost to Maryland in a dual meet setting since the latter joined the Big Ten, and on paper the Terrapins don’t have the firepower they had in a few weights these last few years now that All American Youssif Hemida has exhausted his eligibility. Maryland’s new head coach, former Mizzou assistant Alex Clemson, is busy trying to build back up a program that has found the transition to the grueling Big Ten gauntlet pretty tough.

For Penn State fans, this should be a fairly relaxing dual meet, provided the emotions of Friday (and the let down at some weights) don’t get the better of the athletes on the mat. Since Cael Sanderson is still in charge, the odds that happens are pretty low.

How To Watch

What: #3 Penn State* vs Maryland

Where: Rec Hall, University Park, PA

When: Sunday, February 2, 2pm

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

Video: BTN+

Lineup

#3 Penn State WT Maryland
#3 Penn State WT Maryland
Brandon Meredith (Fr., Limerick, PA) 125 Brandon Cray (Jr, Steinert, NJ)
#3 - Roman Bravo-Young (So., Tucson, AZ) 133 King Sandoval (Fr., Waldorf, MD)
#2 - Nick Lee (Jr., Evansville, IN) 141 Hunter Baxter (So., Gibsonia, PA)
Jerod Verkleeren (So., Greensburg, PA) OR Luke Gardner (Jr., Pottsville, PA) 149 Michael Doetsch (Jr., Severn, MD)
Brady Berge (So., Mantorville, MN) OR Bo Pipher (Jr., Paonia, CO) 157 Jahi Jones (Sr., Fort Washington, MD)
#1 - Vincenzo Joseph (Sr., Pittsburgh, PA) 165 Kyle Cochran (So., Paramus, NJ)
#1 - Mark Hall (Sr., Apple Valley, MN) 174 Philip Spadafora (So., Dix Hills, NY)
#9 - Aaron Brooks (Fr., Hagerstown, MD) 184 Kyle Jasenski (So., Schenectady, NY)
#18 - Shakur Rasheed (Sr., Coram, NY) 197 Jaron Smith (Jr., Columbia, MD)
#15 - Seth Nevills (Fr., Clovis, CA) 285 Parker Robinson (Fr., Eldersburg, MD)

125 LBS

Prediction: Meredith by decision

Score: PSU 3, Maryland 0

133 LBS

RBY really took it to DeSanto on Friday night, the injury DeSanto suffered notwithstanding. Bravo-Young had a cradle locked up a few times and was up comfortably when DeSanto could not continue, and this bodes well for the rest of this season for the PSU sophomore. The rest of the season starts here.

Prediction: RBY by major decision

Score: PSU 7, Maryland 0

141 LBS

Nick Lee had a pin on Friday night, but the referee couldn’t get himself in position to call it. Instead, he settled for a tech fall; I’ve said for weeks that it’s the bout against Luke Pletcher in a few weeks that will define Lee’s regular season, and that’s not going to change.

Prediction: Lee by pin

Score: PSU 13, Maryland 0

149 LBS

Verk couldn’t get an offensive point on Friday against a very good Lugo, but he avoided any boneheaded mistake and kept his team in the bout. Sunday is a very different animal, and should be a boost to Jarod’s confidence.

Prediction: Verkleeren by decision

Score: PSU 16, Maryland 0

157 LBS

During the last few duals, Jeff Byers has mentioned that Brady Berge is improving a lot but there are still uncertainties on whether he’ll be able to return this season. Bo Pipher has been filling in in his absence and though he’s been unable to pick up points, he also haven’t given up big moves. I expect that trend to continue this week against arguably Maryland’s best wrestler.

Prediction: Jones by decision

Score: PSU 16, Maryland 3

165 LBS

Prediction: Cenzo by major decision

Score: PSU 20, Maryland 3

174 LBS

I was so confident that Hall would beat Kemerer that I considered it a lock. I was very wrong, but I’m hopeful that ending his PSU career 0-2 in CHA will be the fire that Hall needs to finish out the season strong, with his second national title.

Prediction: Hall by pin

Score: PSU 26, Maryland 3

184 LBS

Friday’s bout showed everyone why we’re so high on Aaron Brooks in and around the Penn State program - if you needed a reminder. I’m thinking his flat showing in Nebraska will look more and more like an outlier the longer his career goes on.

Prediction: Brooks by major decision

Score: PSU 30, Maryland 3

197 LBS

All Friday night, Shak seemed to be waiting for the perfect shot to fall into his lap rather than try to create some offense on his own; he’s still not back to where he was at his best last year, and seems to be looking more like the Shak from a few years ago. He can still, on a good day, beat these guys, but he may be his own worst enemy. I have confidence he can get it done when he needs to.

Prediction: Shak by decision

Score: PSU 33, Maryland 3

285 LBS

I was wrong in my Iowa preview, when I thought that Seth wouldn’t have the weight of the dual on his bout again. This past dual, though, his opponent was too good and Big Snacks wasn’t able to generate enough offense (and Cass was too good at defense) to finish off the upset. This dual will be decidedly different, with the possibility for big points on the table early on for the PSU freshman.

Prediction: Nevills by major decision

Score: PSU 37, Maryland 3


*The Penn State athletic department, in its official capacity, uses Intermat Tournament Rankings in all its match literature; in those rankings, Penn State is #2. I’m using Intermat’s Dual Meet rankings because this happens to be a dual. Maryland is unranked in both.