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Rutgers & Big Ten Wrestling: Coming down the stretch, teams prep for championships

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The loss to Michigan hurt the Knights on the national stage

Roy DeBoer with permission // https://navydad.smugmug.com/Sports/Rutgers-Wrestling

Has everyone caught their breath from yesterday’s football news? Okay, then, let’s get back to sports that are actually competing....now!

The road trip

A disappointing loss at Michigan was followed up by a solid victory at Michigan State. Anthony Ashnault, Ken Theobold, Nick Gravina, and Razhonn Gross each went 2-0 in the Mitten State. In addition, John Van Brill, Jordan Pagano, and Matt Correnti each scored majors against the Spartans.

Rankings

The mercurial nature of rankings can be seen in how some RU wrestlers improved their standing in one ranking while dropping in another. Since recording a No. 4 ranking, Ashnault has held pretty firmly at No. 6 across the board. And despite going 2-0 on the weekend, including a major decision, Theobold went up in one and down in another. Likewise, Gravina was 2-0 with mixed rankings.

Michigan was No. 15 going into last weekend. They proceeded to knock off No. 11 Rutgers and No. 10 Lehigh. And that propelled the Wolverines five spots in the USA Today/NWCA poll. The split for RU hurt, as the Knights dropped from No. 11 to No. 14. Illinois, which Rutgers defeated moved up a spot and past Rutgers.

Around the Big Ten

Penn State has stepped forward, both in conference and on the national stage. After being in the shadow of Oklahoma State all season, the Lions moved ahead of the Cowboys, in at least some polls, to take the No. 1 spot. And their victory over Iowa pushed them to the top of the conference standings.

Key Big Ten matchups last weekend:

Penn State 33, Wisconsin 11 || Penn State 45, Northwestern 3

Nebraska 28, Purdue 9

Iowa 21, Ohio State 13

Minnesota 29, Purdue 12

Key Big Ten matchups this weekend:

Iowa at Minnesota

Penn State at Ohio State

Big Ten Wrestler of the Week

Isaac Jordan, Wisconsin, 165 pounds – Sr.

  • The third-ranked wrestler defeated No. 4 Vincenzo Joseph of Penn State 6-4 in sudden victory
  • Claimed his first top-five win of the season

Rutgers Upcoming Schedule/Preview

The Knights have a strange and challenging schedule this weekend. On Sunday, they host Indiana at noon. After that match, they head out to Columbus to face the No. 4 ranked Buckeyes in a make up of a weather-postponed match. To have back-to-back matches is unusual; to have one at home and one on the road 453 miles away is not.

Indiana is making an east coast swing and will be coming off a match on Friday night at Maryland. Previously ranked at #17 Devin Skatzka (174) and #7 Nate Jackson (184) lead the Hoosiers.

Ohio State puts out seven ranked wrestlers, four of whom are in the top five in their weights. That includes No. 1 Nathan Tomasello (133) and No. 1 Bo Jordan (174). The Bucks lost to Iowa on the road last week, 21-13, and will be coming off a home match Friday night against top-ranked Penn State. The loss to the Haweyes hurt; the match against Penn State will be grueling, and could also hurt. The rest of the Ohio State ranked wrestlers:

125: #18 Jose Rodriguez || 141 #14 Luke Pletcher

149 #5 Micah Jordan || 184 #10 Myles Martin

197: #5 Kollin Moore

National Duals

It will be on Feb. 19 and you will be able to see it on TV....or at least your computer.

Big Ten teams will travel this year on the third weekend in February to take on teams from the ACC, Big 12, Big 12 affiliate, EIWA, EWL, Ivy League, Patriot League, MAC and SoCon. The “championship dual” will have the Big Ten’s dual champion against the highest-nationally ranked school from another conference. If the current rankings hold, Penn State would take on Oklahoma State in Stillwater.