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Wrestling Preview: No. 3 Penn State vs No. 7 Ohio State

Tom Ryan will be glad to know that this year’s dual between PSU and OSU is being held in the Bryce Jordan Center.

just had to.

Two years ago, the Nittany Lions hosted Ohio State in Rec Hall at night, because Penn State basketball was in the BJC for a 6 pm tip off. Tom Ryan was not happy. And the officiating must have been average, because this happened to all but seal the deal for the underdog good guys:

After this enormous upset, Nick Nevills took on a very tired Kyle Snyder and kept the bout to a regular decision (no small feat, of course), and PSU won the dual meet. They lost the Big Ten tournament that season, but there was even more greatness in Cleveland en route to a PSU national title victory over the home crowd Buckeyes.

Penn State has won four duals in a row against Ohio State, and four national titles. They also won Snyder over to the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club.

Ohio State is in a rebuilding year, but that doesn’t mean this dual will be any less fun to watch.

How To Watch

What: #3 Penn State* vs #7 Ohio State

Where: Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, PA

When: Saturday, February 15, 7:30 pm

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

Video: BTN


#3 Penn State WT #7 Ohio State
#3 Penn State WT #7 Ohio State
Brandon Meredith (Fr., Limerick, PA) 125 Malik Heinselman (So., Castle Rock, CO OR Dylan Koontz (So., Plover, WI)
#2 - Roman Bravo-Young (So., Tucson, AZ) 133 Jordan Decatur (Fr., Akron, OH)
#2 - Nick Lee (Jr., Evansville, IN) 141 #1 - Luke Pletcher (Sr., Latrobe, PA)
#17 - Jerod Verkleeren (So., Greensburg, PA) OR Luke Gardner (Jr., Pottsville, PA) 149 #1 - Sammy Sasso (Fr., Nazareth, PA)
Brady Berge (So., Mantorville, MN) OR Bo Pipher (Jr., Paonia, CO) 157 Quinn Kinner (Fr., Mullica Hill, NJ) OR Elijah Cleary (Jr., Winter Park, FL)
#1 - Vincenzo Joseph (Sr., Pittsburgh, PA) 165 #16 - Ethan Smith (So., Latrobe, PA)
#2 - Mark Hall (Sr., Apple Valley, MN) 174 #7 - Kaleb Romero (So., Mechanicsburg, OH)
#6 - Aaron Brooks (Fr., Hagerstown, MD) 184 #12 - Rocky Jordan (Fr., St Paris, OH)
#17 - Shakur Rasheed (Sr., Coram, NY) 197 #1 - Kollin Moore (Sr., Burbank, OH)
#15 - Seth Nevills (Fr., Clovis, CA) 285 Gary Traub (Jr., Cincinnati, OH)

125 LBS

Prediction: Heinselman by decision

Score: PSU 0, OSU 3

133 LBS

Roman is the the national title hunt this year, a year after beating Pletcher in Columbus. Decatur could easily make the tournament but this is a matchup that PSU wins going away.

Prediction: RBY by major decision

Score: PSU 4, OSU 3

141 LBS - Match of the Meet Season

Match of the season could arguably have gone to the Cenzo-Bull matchup a few weeks ago, but preseason everyone knew that would be the matchup between the top two guys. At this weight, it wasn’t a foregone conclusion since last year’s finalists at 141 are not competing this year (Joey McKenna has exhausted his eligibility, and Yianni Diakomihalis is taking an Olympic redshirt) - but the top two guys, meeting this week, have simply dominated everyone else at this weight. Whoever loses this match will have a chance at redemption in a few weeks, and likely again a few weeks after that. Bouts like this are why we love wrestling. Tonight, my money’s on the home crowd lifting Nick to victory - but who knows what happens in Jersey.

Prediction: Lee by decision

Score: PSU 7, OSU 3

149 LBS

Jarod Verkleeren had a good weekend despite the split decision, but this weekend his competition goes up a notch with the number one guy in a contested weight class coming to town. Sasso stormed onto the scene after redshirting last year, and getting out of the way of Ashnault seems to have been a wise decision. I’m close to picking bonus here but I think Verk does just enough to keep it to a regular decision, including questionable dancing away at the end.

Prediction: Sasso by decision

Score: PSU 7, OSU 7

157 LBS

This weight is a toss-up! That’s the first time it’s been that way since 2015, when a top ten Dylan Alton upset the higher-ranked Josh Demas in the middle of a dual meet loss in Columbus. Since then, we’ve been #blessed with Jason Nolf (except when he was out injured in 2018, when Bo Pipher stepped in and got teched by Micah Jordan). This year, unlike 2015, neither wrestler in this bout is ranked - a rarity in this matchup. And this year, unlike 2018, Pipher actually has a legitimate shot to win this bout! I’m not sure he will, but he definitely can. But if Brady Berge is healthy? I think he’ll be the favorite. Still gonna pick the Buckeye to win, though, because it never hurts to throw a Gulibon on it.

Prediction: Kinner by decision

Score: PSU 7, OSU 10

165 LBS

Prediction: Joseph by major decision

Score: PSU 11, OSU 10

174 LBS

I have Hall as winning out this season, and that starts here. He’ll look to keep the crowd on their feet; I think he locks up back points but officials out of position allow Romero to roll through, and Marky settles for one bonus point.

Prediction: Hall by major decision

Score: PSU 15, OSU 10

184 LBS

Here’s hoping Rocky Jordan leaves the baby oil at home so that Aaron Brooks’ first BJC dual is a memorable one. The freshman is slowly but surely getting better, and that continues this week with the latest Jordan wrestler.

Prediction: Brooks by decision

Score: PSU 18, OSU 10

197 LBS

Shak looked a lot better last week, but Kollin Moore is #1 for two reason (Bo Nickal and Anthony Cassar are not his opponents this week). Shak has never beaten Moore, even at his best, and while he’s getting better, I’m not sure he’s at that level yet.

Prediction: Moore by major decision

Score: PSU 18, OSU 14

285 LBS

Seth just couldn’t keep pace with Gable Steveson last week, but really, who can this year? Traub is not at that level and may struggle to make the tournament as an at-large selection rather than through autobids from a stacked weight at the conference tournament. His first bout under the big lights should go well for him.

Prediction: Nevills by major decision

Score: PSU 22, OSU 14

*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, and Ohio State is #3. I’m using Intermat’s Dual Meet rankings because this happens to be a dual.