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Rutgers Wrestling holds at No. 11, faces PSU on Friday

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The win over the Illini neither helped nor hurt the Knights in the rankings as they prep for the No. 2 team in the country

Roy DeBoer with permission

It was as exiting a match as you’re going to see. A split of bouts 5-5 and the match decided in the final bout of the night at heavyweight. A stunninf comeback win for John Van Brill, the first dual match win for Razhonn Gross, and of course a win for Rutgers.

With the 19-17 win last Friday over Illinois, Rutgers sits at 7-1, 2-0 B1G. Due to the weather, Sunday’s match at Ohio State was postponed and will be wrestled on Monday, February 6. The Knights are at Indiana that Sunday and will extend the road trip to Columbus the next day.

Team Rankings

No one seems to be able to move Oklahoma State from the top spot. Both the Cowboys and No. 2 Penn State have received the same number of first place votes in the last two polls. Since the last voting just before the holidays, the B1G has held pretty steady with Nebraska moving up one and both Michigan and Wisconsin dropping one spot.

Individual Rankings

Anthony Ashnault continues as the only RU wrestler in his weight’s top ten. Nick Gravina’s loss in sudden victory cost him a spot in most polls, but Van Brill benefitted from his pin, moving as high as No. 13.

Around the Big Ten

The Knights sit at 2-0 in conference and tied for second place with Ohio State and Penn State. That will change, one way or the other, after Friday when RU visits State College and what is expected to be a sellout crowd at Bryce Jordan Center.

Big Ten Wrestler of the Week

Jason Nolf, Penn State, 157 pounds – So.

  • Helped lead the Nittany Lions to wins over No. 9 Minnesota and No. 6 Nebraska
  • The top-ranked wrestler picked up a pin against No. 9 Jake Short of Minnesota and a 15-7 major decision against No. 3 Tyler Berger of Nebraska
  • Remains unbeaten on the year, sporting an 11-0 record
  • Earns the second Wrestler of the Week Award of his career

Attendance

I know there are some readers who a) don’t get excited about attendance, and b) wonder why I do. All I can say is, I’m not always that creative and when I want to produce something for OTB, well....

But there’s always attendance to write about.

For it’s home opener at the RAC, Rutgers wrestling pulled in a very nice crowd of 2,552. RU is one of the top drawing wrestling programs in the country, having finished fifth in the country last season with a home average of 2,874. The Battle at the Birthplace (16,178) will certainly raise that average, just as Iowa’s Grapple on the Gridiron last year (42,287) raised their average. A lot.

As a quick reference point, here are three Big Ten schools and what they drew to their home matches last weekend (home team in bold):

Michigan vs Iowa: 1,800, a sell-out

Michigan State vs Iowa: 619

Nebraska vs Penn State: 2,373

Upcoming Schedule and how they did

The Knights wrestle only once this weekend, but it’s a beauty. Friday’s opponent will be a very tough match for the Knights. The Lions have eight ranked wrestlers in their lineup including six in the top five of their weight class:

125: #3 Nick Suriano 149: #1 Zain Retherford 157: #1 Jason Nolf

165: #5 Vincenzo Joseph 184: #2 Bo Nickal 285: #5 Nick Nevills