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Rutgers Wrestling: So this is what it's all about

The start of the Big Ten schedule took the Knights from their best start ever at 9-0 to 9-3, 0-3 in the B1G

The B1G schedule opened with No. 1 Iowa.  The Knights had three wins, scored nine points.  Their All American, Anthony Perrotti, lost 4-0 to an unranked opponent.  They gave up four matches with bonus points including a fall. Iowa 27, RU 9

They traveled to No. 13 Illinois.  Again, just three wins and nine points.  There were three more bouts lost with bonus points. And there were losses by Anthony Ashnault, Perrotti and Andrew Campolattano.  Illinois 24, RU 9

At home against No. 2 Minnesota the Knights won the first four bouts, all by a regular decision.  There was no Perrotti due to injury. Campolattano lost by a major decision.  Another loss by pin and two major decision losses.  Minnesota 23, RU 12

The Knights are 0-3 in the Big Ten.  From Coach Scott Goodale: " Our kids are smart.  They saw this coming when the schedule was released in July.  It's a gauntlet right now.  We've got 1, 2, 3, and 9 in the country.  They understand it."

It is, though, a major change in how things are done.  That best start in program history now has three straight losses, with No. 3 (USA Today/NWCA Coaches) Penn State coming into the RAC on Friday night.  A Penn State team that just lost 22-15 to Ohio State.

There were positives in the Minnesota match.  Rutgers took the first four bouts.  Ken Theobold came back from a 6-2 deficit to win 7-6.  The crowd of 2,636 is a vocal and knowledgeable one that is very supportive.  Goodale said, "The crowd was into it, the team was into it, so those first four weights were exciting."

Theobold's win was a gutsy performance.  " [You] keep fighting, keep fighting hard.  Things aren't always going to go your way, " aid Goodale.  "You're wrestling one of the best teams in the country.  There are gonna be some ups, gonna be some downs.  In the course of the match, keep fighting. And that's what he did. And we've gotta get all ten guys doing that."

The team has not been consistent and has not scored any bonus points.  It has won only 10 of the 30 bouts its wrestled in Big Ten competition.  But Goodale is still positive about his team's performance and general effort.  "I thought we had a little bit more spunk, more fight, especially early on.  These guys (Minnesota) are good.  They (Illinois) were good Friday night.  We wrestled the three best programs with the fourth best coming up on Friday."  And the grind that is Division 1 wrestling, especially in the Big Ten, is challenging.  "But I thought overall I'm proud of the way this team, for the first time, flew away on a Thursday, wrestled a match at a high level, then had to get back on a plane.  Didn't say a word, got back in our wrestling room at 7:00 at night. Got after it, got their weight down.  That's the difference.  Minnesota had to do it as well.  I thought where we lost, they were better than us."

But wrestling in the Big Ten is going to be a challenge.  In last week's rankings, 10 Big Ten teams were ranked among the top 25, including the top three squads: Iowa Minnesota, Penn State.  RU has wrestled two and you know who is coming in Friday.

No. 2 Minnesota 23, No. 23 Rutgers 12

125: Sean McCabe (RU) dec. over Jordan Bremer (MINN), 5-3; Rutgers leads, 3-0
133: Scott DelVecchio (RU) dec. over Jordan Kingsley (MINN), 8-3; Rutgers leads, 6-0
141: No. 7/6/8/5 Anthony Ashnault (RU) dec. over Conrad Rangell (MINN), 12-5; Rutgers leads, 9-0
149: No. NR/NR/17 Ken Theobold (RU) dec. over Jake Short (MINN), 7-6; Rutgers leads, 12-0
157: No. 1/1/1 Dylan Ness (MINN) wins by fall over Dylan Painton (RU), 4:30; Rutgers leads, 12-6
165: Brandon Kingsley (MINN) dec. over Nicholas Gravina (RU), 4-0; Rutgers leads, 12-9
174: No. 3/4/3 Logan Storley (MINN) dec. over No. NR/15/20 Phil Bakuckas (RU), 5-1; Match tied, 12-12
184: No. 10/10/11 Brett Pfarr (MINN) major dec. over Hayden Hrymack (RU), 19-9; Minnesota leads, 16-12
197: No. 1/3/2 Scott Schiller (MINN) major dec. over No. NR/9/NR Andrew Campolattano (RU), 11-2; Minnesota leads, 20-12
285: No. 13/12/13 Michael Kroells (MINN) dec. over No. 9/11/10 Billy Smith (RU), 6-5; Minnesota wins, 23-12

Upcoming schedule

01/16/15 vs. Penn State * RAC 7:00 p.m. ET
01/18/15 at Maryland * College Park, Md. 2:00 p.m. ET