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Wrestling Preview: No. 2 Penn State vs Indiana

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NCAA Wrestling: NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships
The new Nittany Lion gets the photo
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

If that doesn’t encapsulate the Friday night bout in College Park, I don’t know what does. I underestimated how badly Penn State would beat Maryland, and for that I am gravely sorry. It was almost a different team that we saw to start 2022—felt like a throwback. And I loved it.

After a fun Friday, the Nittany Lions head back home to continue their Big Ten season when they host the Hoosiers.

Will it be as one-sided? Probably not. But maybe, just maybe…this was a portent of the rest of this season? Maybe PSU will be closer to 2019 than 2021 and run away with things in D-town?

Probably not, but a girl can dream.

How To Watch

What: #2 Penn State vs Indiana*

Where: Rec Hall, University Park, PA

When: Sunday, January 9, 2 pm

Audio: Free, via GoPSUSports

Video: BTN+ ($)

Lineup

#2 Penn State WT Indiana
#2 Penn State WT Indiana
Jake Campbell (Sr., Pottstown, PA) OR Drew Hildebrandt (Sr., Granger, IN) 125 #25 - Jacob Moran (So, Portage, IN)
#1 - Roman Bravo-Young (Sr., Tucson, AZ) 133 #19 - Brock Hudkins (Sr., Danville IN) OR Noah Gochberg (Fr., Austin, TX)
#1 - Nick Lee (Sr., Evansville, IN) 141 Cayden Rooks (Jr., Columbus, IN)
#20 - Beau Bartlett (So., Tempe, AZ) 149 Graham Rooks (Jr., Columbus, IN)
Terrell Barraclough (So., Kaysville, UT) OR Joe Lee (So., Evansville, IN) OR Tony Negron (Jr., North Babylon, NY) 157 Kasper McIntosh (Jr., Portage, IN) OR Derek Gilcher (So., Novi, MI)
#24 - Creighton Edsall (Jr., Wyalusing, PA) 165 Sammy Cokeley (Sr., Eudora, KS)
#1 - Carter Starocci (So., Erie, PA) 174 Sean Grim (Jr., Columbus, OH)
#1 - Aaron Brooks (Jr., Hagerstown, MD) 184 #8 - DJ Washington (So., Portage, IN)
#2 - Max Dean (Jr., Lowell, MI) OR Michael Beard (So., Pottstown, PA) 197 Nick Willham (Jr., Greenwood, IN)
#4 - Greg Kerkvliet (So., Grove Heights, MN) 285 Jacob Bullock (Jr., Cahokia, IL) OR Andrew Irick (So., Fishers, IN)

125 LBS

How do you do, Drew Hildebrandt! We couldn’t have asked for a better start from the CMU transfer, and I’m expecting him to continue that on Sunday. But his opponent won’t be caught as unawares, and will wrestle to not get pinned.

Prediction: Hildebrandt by major decision

Score: PSU 4, Indiana 0

133 LBS

Boy, did I get my RBY prediction wrong on Friday. I expected a lot of takedowns—and RBY instead put on a clinic of top wrestling. It shows he’s not just an athletic marvel—-he’s proficient too. This bout should be a little tougher, but RBY wins it easily.

Prediction: RBY by major decision

Score: PSU 8, Indiana 0

141 LBS

I do not think this bout will get to the third period. This one might even be the quickest match of the afternoon.

Prediction: N. Lee by tech fall

Score: PSU 13, Indiana 0

149 LBS

Bartlett gave up some early points on Friday—but got pissed and decked his opponent. More of that aggressive Beau, please!

Prediction: Beau by decision

Score: PSU 16, Indiana 0

157 LBS - Match of the Meet

Tony got his first PSU win on Friday, and in pretty emphatic fashion—-it’s easy to see why he’s the coaches’ choice at this weight. This one should be slightly closer but Negron builds up his winning streak.

Prediction: Negron by decision

Score: PSU 19, Indiana 0

165 LBS

This weight likely won’t be Creighton’s much longer as Brady Berge has announced he’s coming back from retirement and coaching at South Dakota State, but until he’s certified, Edsall is an able replacement.

Prediction: Edsell by decision

Score: PSU 22, Indiana 0

174 LBS

Carter had a fight on Friday, one of only two Nittany Lion starters who didn’t score bonus. I expect him to be displeased by that, with South playing the price.

Prediction: Starocci by fall

Score: PSU 28, Indiana 0

184 LBS

I know it was only a major, but Brooks was really impressive to me on Friday—he was facing a wrestler fresh off a southern scuffle title riding a very good 14-1 record, and he just made him look like he was scared. Really good work by the returning champ.

Prediction: AB by major decision

Score: PSU 32, Indiana 0

197 LBS

Dean is up to number two, and he looks to have benefited tremendously from the coaching change. If he and Michael Beard are truly neck and neck, we’re set at this weight for years to come.

Prediction: Dean by major decision

Score: PSU 36, Indiana 0

285 LBS

Kerkvleit can beat guys silly who weight fifty pounds more than him—or his weight. I’m really looking forward to the Iowa dual and the Big Ten tournament to see what he truly can accomplish.

Prediction: Kerk by fall

Score: PSU 42, Indiana 0

Overall score prediction: PSU 42, Indiana 0


*The Penn State athletic department, in its official capacity, uses Intermat Tournament Rankings in all its match literature; I’m using Intermat’s Dual Meet rankings because this happens to be a dual. Penn State is ranked #2 in the dual rankings, and #1 in the tournament rankings; Indiana is unranked in both.