January 22, 2010

Wrestling Wreport: Ohio State Preview

No. 13 PSU (8-3-1) vs. No. 3 Ohio State (11-1)

2 pm, Sunday Jan. 24 at OSU

TV: BTN – tape delay (starts 10 pm)

Penn State begins its nightmare schedule Sunday against No. 3 Ohio State. The Nittany Lions will then travel to take on No. 1 Iowa next Friday and No 14 Wisconsin the following Sunday. It's bad enough that the Lions have to face four ranked opponents in the next week and a half but they have to do so against three of them on the road. The next four matches will answer a lot of questions about this Nittany Lion team.

PSU – Ohio State history

Penn State leads the series 13-10, but Ohio State has won the last 3 including a 33-7 beatdown last Feb 6th at Rec Hall. In 2008 OSU beat Penn State twice, 24-11 in the National Duals and 22-19 in Columbus. Penn State and Ohio State have two common opponents this season Lehigh and Edinboro. PSU lost to Lehigh 23-14 while OSU won 22-12 and both teams beat Edinboro (PSU 22-9, OSU 34-12).

Key Matchups

The key matchups in this dual are really, really important because Penn State will most likely be behind by 5 or 6 points in the other matches. For Penn State to pull off the upset they will need to win at least two of the key bouts.

149 #3 Lance Palmer (17-1) vs. #5 Frank Molinaro (21-1)
In two weeks we will definitely know where Frank Molinaro stands as he takes on the top 3 wrestlers at the 149 weight class including No. 3 Palmer. Molinaro's loss came at the hands of No. 4 Kyle Terry of Oklahoma while Palmer's loss was to No. 11 Kyle Borshoff of American. They have two common opponents in Brian Tanen of Lehigh and Torsten Gillespie of Edinboro. Molinaro beat Tanen 12-3 and Gillespie 8-4 while Palmer beat Tanen 7-1 and Gillespie 9-1. What does that all mean? It means it's going to be close.

165 #7 Colt Sponseller (17-3) vs. #8 Dan Vallimont (18-3)
Sponseller's losses came at the hands of the #1, #3, and #4 wrestler in the country. Vallimont has 1-point losses to #1, #2, and an upset loss to an unranked wrestler. Sponseller has victories over the 17th and 18th ranked wrestler while Vallimont has beaten No. 9 (twice), No. 12, and No. 19. Even though the two teams wrestled common opponents, Vallimont and Sponseller wrestled different opponents in each of those bouts. Sponseller beat Vallimont 8-3 in last year's dual meet in Columbus. This will be another match that could go either way.

184 #10 Mike Pucillo (13-4) vs. #12 David Erwin (19-5)
Erwin's numbers are a bit misleading as he started the season at 174 and lost to Robert Hamlin of Lehigh to start off. Realizing he was worried too much about cutting weight the coaches moved him to 184 and he reeled off 14 victories in the next 15 bouts with his only loss coming at the hands of teammate Quentin Wright… by fall. Just sayin'. Anyway, Pucillo is a tough cookie, he's a three-time All-American, 2008 NCAA champ and 2009 Runner-up. Erwin will have his hands full.

The Other Matchups

Wt.: Ohio State vs. Penn State
125 #19 Nikko Triggas (19-12) vs. #12 Brad Pataky (17-5)
The last time these two met Pataky prevailed 14-3.

Pataky has been known to take chances and every now and then gets caught on his back. He'll have to be careful against Triggas because he leads the Buckeyes in falls with 8. If Pataky wrestles a careful but aggressive match he should not only beat Triggas but hopefully get bonus points.

-Advantage Pataky

133 Ian Paddock (15-6) vs. Bryan Pearsall (2-14)
141 #3 Reece Humphrey (20-2) vs. Adam Lynch (5-8)
Just as was the case against Illinois the next two bouts will have a familiar ring to them: keep it close, don't get pinned and try not to give up bonus points. Lynch is really in trouble and Paddock is knocking on the door of the top 20 so the outcome of the dual could be decided here. There's a big difference between giving up 7 points and giving up 10 or 12. Let's hope for the former.

-Major Advantage Paddock
-Major Advantage+ Humphrey

157 Tony Jameson (3-2) vs. #5 Cyler Sanderson (19-2)
Freshman Jameson was a four-time Ohio state champ and has a lot of potential, he will be a great wrestler some day, fortunately he's going against one of the best wrestlers in his weight class. This is an opportunity for Sanderson and Penn State to get bonus points. Sanderson at the very least has to get a major of the young Phenom.

-Major Advantage Sanderson

174 #12 Dave Rella (15-6) vs. Justin Ortega (6-10)

Hi, I'm Dave Rella. You may remember from such Wrestling singlets as Penn State!

On paper this looks like a slaughter for Ohio State, but we Penn State Wrestling fans know Dave Rella all too well. Rella transferred from Dear Ole' State in 2008 after starting for the Lions for two years. While Rella is capable of putting points up he often plays a very methodic defensive style which leads to boring 3-1 victories. A quick look at his stats shows that he has 1 major, 1 Tech fall, and 1 pin this season. Ortega is good enough to keep this to only a decision and probably has to for any chance of a PSU victory. Rella has been upset by unranked wrestlers this season, a miracle late takedown victory for Ortega isn't out of the question, but that's just wishful thinking on my part.

-Advantage Rella

197 C.J. Magrum (12-8) vs. Clay Steadman (8-7) or David Crowell (17-9)
197 is another pivotal match that could go either way. Both Magrum and Steadman have wins over Anthony Pike of Arizona State although Magrum's was a major decision. The other common opponent Joe Kennedy of Lehigh, Mangrum beat 4-3 and Steadman lost to 2-4. So this is a slight lean toward Magrum but very, very slight.

-Slight Advantage Magrum

285 #20 Corey Morrison (14-7) vs. #11 Cameron Wade (12-5)
If the meet does come down to the big boys, Penn State has the advantage. Like I said in my previous preview though, Wade has the propensity to shut the offense down against ranked wrestlers and play defensive. If Penn State needs bonus points to win or tie, I'm not sure if Wade can do it. On paper, both wrestlers lost to No. 7 Zack Rey of Lehigh, but Wade beat No. 10 Chris Birchler of Edinboro (9-2) and Morrison lost 6-4.

-Advantage Wade


This match could be anywhere from a blowout loss for Penn State if things go all Buckeyes to a close win for Penn State, but they will need some breaks. I like Molinaro's chances but I see the other key match-ups going Ohio State's way. Lynch will probably give up the pin but I also think whoever Cael puts in at 197 wins a close one against Magrum. Ortega will keep it close with Realla, that's a given and Sanderson will get bonus points. But in the end when I tally up the score, Penn State just falls short.

Final Score: OSU 19 - PSU 18

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