Penn State comes into this dual on a roll crushing teams even while juggling their lineup at three weights. This is their first home action in over a month. #7 Nebraska comes into town with a lone loss on the road by criteria to an upstart Rutgers team. They too have recently juggled their lineup and keep on winning. On paper PSU is a bad matchup for Nebraska as many of their best wrestlers if in the lineup face PSU’s best, which are better. Does the Penn State team continue its blitzkrieging style? Or does Nebraska come into Happy Valley and prove that there isn’t as much separation as some may have thought. It looks like Nebraska could be missing at least a couple of starters (65,74 & 97 are all game time decisions). Mark Manning has done a great job turning Nebraska into a perennial national powerhouse but I don’t think that their room is as deep as the Penn State room. I’ll have video highlights up a couple days after the match. I know – longer than usual but my son is wrestling on Saturday. Scroll to the bottom for a hyperlink of videos of both teams.
125lbs #10 Tim Lambert (NEB) vs. #4 Nico Megaludis (PSU)
A clear advantage goes to Megaludis. They both have lost to guys named Delgado and Garrett but after that Lambert has losses to guys like Cruz and Kilmara that Mega has solid wins over. For me the real question is can Nico get bonus points in front of the sold out home crowd.
133lbs #10 Eric Montoya (NEB) vs. #6 Jordan Conaway (PSU). This should be an interesting match up. Conaway’s strength is wrestling a full match and keeping the pressure on as his opponent wilts in the 3rd period. Montoya is solid, strong and has a unique funky style that is hard to prepare for. If Conaway finishes his shots quickly Montoya’s style should cause many problems. If Conaway gets going early this can easily turn into a bonus point match.
141lbs #25 Anthony Abidin (NEB) vs. #26 Jimmy Gulibon, #30? Kade Moss (PSU).
149lbs #5 Jake Sueflohn (NEB) vs. #1 Zain Retherford (PSU). This should be an exciting match up. Sueflohn doesn’t possess the speed that can slow down Retherford’s attacks but he does keep very good position and has a gas tank. Unfortunately for Sueflohn he’s got to face someone that also keeps great position, is stronger than the average 149lber and is quicker than he is. Edge to ZR but if Sueflohn can get out of legs this may get down right dominating for Zain.
157lbs #12 Tyler Berger or Dustin Williams (NEB) vs. #3 Jason Nolf (PSU). Berger is a solid wrestler with a number of good wins. His best being over All American Mitch Minotti. Berger is best when he’s aggressive his lone loss for the season was to Richie Lewis (RU) when he didn’t get to his attacks. Bad news is that he’s facing one of the most aggressive wrestlers in the country. Nolf is almost too aggressive, if there is such a thing. Mr. Bonus points, Nolf has broken almost all of his opponents this season. Some early and some with only a few seconds left in the match. It’s an amazing sight. Nolf wins going away from either wrestler. If Nolf wants to win 4 national championships he needs to learn from David Taylor, Mr. Bonus points himself. Each attack needs to be 100% committed and precise when you face someone like Dake or IMar. You can’t overwhelm these guys with volume and 80% precision of attacks. Either way Nolf is must see wrestling.
165lbs #8 Austin Wilson or Dustin Williams (NEB) vs. #10 Shakur Corey Rasheed or Geno Morelli(PSU). Penn State has so many exciting wrestlers that it’s hard to not love their lineup as a fan. Rasheed seems to have won the spot at 165 even with his performance at the Scuffle. This guys is the quickest tall lanky guy that I’ve seen wrestle in a long time. Making 165 can’t be easy for him; he’s got to be at least 6’1”. Wilson comes in with a higher ranking and both have lost to guys that might not be as good as they are. So consistency might be a question mark. Word on the street is that Shakur might be a better dual wrestler than a tourney wrestler because he may wear down during the tournament because his weight cut is so drastic? Not sure, I’ve seen him wrestle a couple of very exciting dual matches. It’s hard to go against ‘bright light” Rasheed. I hope that Wilson gets the start. This should be another entertaining match up. What if Morelli gets the start. He’s beaten Rasheed head to head and finished higher at the scuffle. He’s had less results in duals but is still high quality. Toss up.
174lbs #15 Micah Barnes or Dustin Williams (NEB vs. #1 Bo Nickal (PSU). Yes I still have Bo #1. Barnes missed the last dual, I hope that he’s ready to go against Nickal. We’ll see how Nickal bounces back from his loss to Nate Jackson. It would be hard for him to come out as aggressive in response to that loss since he’s so aggressive already. However like Nolf, Nickal can be so forceful (confident & driven) that he might not be as precise as necessary to beat a tough matchup. Nickal get bonus points against either guy. Over/under on flying lessons? I think that as guys scout Nickal they will learn not to push into him at all in the neutral position, which will likely lead to more leg attacks from the Allen, Texas wrestler.
184lbs #5 TJ Dudley (NEB) vs. #10 Matt McCutcheon (PSU). Here is an opening for Nebraska. McCutcheon is coming back from a sore back. Dudley has wins over McCutcheon already but so does McCutcheon. Dudley’s losses this season have come with a lack of initiation from neutral; the Gravina match is a prime example. Unfortunately for PSU fans historically McCutcheon isn’t aggressive enough to get Dudley on his heals. Does PSU keep McCutcheon on the bench for this one for one more match? These guys aren’t as active as the previous few weights but B1G seeding is on the line adding more to the match.
197lbs #9 Aaron Studebaker or Derek White (NEB) vs.#1 Morgan McIntosh (PSU). Studebaker missed the Cornhuskers last dual. McIntosh already owns a bonus point victory over last season. I also think that McIntosh has developed his overall game a bit more this season than previous seasons. He’s varying his neutral attacks and seems a bit more committed to riding tough and looking for turns. This is another one that could turn into bonus points.
285lbs #20 Collin Jensen (NEB) vs Jan Johnson (PSU)
The closest thing to a signature win for Jensen would be his win over Wessell (LU) early in the season. Johnson isn’t at his level but can Jensen open it up? Doubtful.