Could Ohio State be the team to snap Penn State’s 27-match winning streak?
The Buckeyes have a strong case when they host the Nittany Lions at 6 p.m. Friday at the Schottenstein Center.
“It’s nice to get done at a decent hour,” Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said in regards to the 9 p.m. start time they had against Iowa. “Maybe we’ll travel home the same night. I would guess it will be a great atmosphere.”
The Buckeyes will have three NCAA champions in the lineup and two wrestlers who finished third last year.
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Oh yeah, don’t forget they also have the reigning Olympic gold medalist in Kyle Snyder.
“Snyder is a world and Olympic champion not just college wrestling but at the senior level. You’re the best in the world at your weight class,” Sanderson said. “It’s a great opportunuity for (Nick) Nevills and not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination. You just go wrestle whether you’re wrestling an Olympic champion or someone that hasn’t won a match all year. Your goal is always the same, be the best that you can be and go fight.”
Snyder became just the 11th American to ever win the toughest freestyle tournament in the world in the Yarygin Grand Prix in Russia last weekend. He did it with three technical falls and a pin in the finals.
Needless to say, fans are going to want to stick around for the 285-pound bout.
“You’re going to see two teams with 10 individuals on each team that compete at an extremely high level,” Ohio State coach Tom Ryan said to reporters on Tuesday. “For me, I don’t care what sport it is, when you have two elite teams going at it, it’s fun.”
Fun might be an understatement.
The Nittany Lions and Buckeyes will combine to highlight 18 ranked wrestlers on the night. Seven of the 10 bouts will have ranked wrestler against ranked wrestler. If they begin at 125 pounds, the final four bouts of the night will feature every wrestlers in the top 10 of their weight classes.
While eyes will be on the 285-pound bout, there are some other really good ones before that.
At 184 pounds, No. 2 Bo Nickal will take on No. 10 Myles Martin, who topped Nickal for the NCAA 174-pound crown last season. Nickal had beaten Martin three other times before the finals matchup last year. The game plan isn’t going to change either.
“A big matchup,” Sanderson said. “Bo is going to be Bo. He is a great competitor and Myles is a great competitor. Bo has to do what he does.”
In other highlight bouts, No. 7 Mark Hall, fresh off his first Big Ten victories, gets to take on No. 1 Bo Jordan at 174 pounds. No. 9 Matt McCutcheon takes on No. 4 Kollin Moore at 197 pounds, and No. 1 Zain Retherford will look to pick up his 51st consecutive win, facing No. 5 Micah Jordan.
“I think there are a lot of great matchups,” Sanderson said. “Every match is important. They are looking to get bonus points in some weight classes and we are looking to get some bonus points in some weight classes any where you can get a point. Its just like the national or Big Ten tournament, anywhere you can get points you got to get them. That’s what it takes to win.”
125: Suriano by major decision; 133: Nathan Tomasello by tech. fall; 141: Gulibon by decision; 149: Retherford by decision; 157: Nolf by fall; 165: Joseph by major decision; 174: Jordan by decision; 184: Nickal by decision; 197: Moore by decision; 285: Snyder by major decision. Final score: PSU 20, OSU 15
No. 2 Penn State (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) at No. 4 Ohio State (8-1, 4-1)
When: 6 p.m., Friday
Where: Schottenstein Center, Columbus, Ohio
Radio: WRSC 1390
TV: Big Ten Network (55)
No. 2 Nick Suriano (13-1)
No. 18 Jose Rodriguez (11-5)
George Carpenter (1-8)
OR Triston Law (0-1)
No. 1 Nathan Tomasello (11-0)
No. 11 Jimmy Gulibon (10-6)
No. 15 Luke Pletcher (21-2)
No. 1 Zain Retherford (15-0)
No. 5 Micah Jordan (21-1)
No. 1 Jason Nolf (15-0)
Jake Ryan (10-8)
OR Anthony DeCarlo (2-6)
No. 4 Vincenzo Joseph (11-2)
Cody Burcher (14-8)
No. 7 Mark Hall (20-2)
No. 1 Bo Jordan (9-0)
No. 2 Bo Nickal (14-0)
No. 10 Myles Martin (20-4)
No. 9 Matt McCutcheon (12-2)
No. 4 Kollin Moore (20-2)
No. 3 Nick Nevills (13-1)
No. 1 Kyle Snyder (6-0)