No. 15 Rutgers Wrestling finishes off their road trip North on Sunday as they’ll take on the No. 3 Wolverines of Michigan. The Scarlet Knights (12-3, 2-3) fell to the host school’s cross-state rival Friday night when Michigan State upset Rutgers, 20-17.
Michigan (5-1, 1-1) comes into the dual having just experienced their first loss on the season, as they also fell Friday to No. 1 Penn State. Despite that, Michigan will be favored here in most of the matches as they bring nine ranked wrestlers to the meet, and it will be Rutgers looking to earn their own upset before heading back to New Jersey.
The dual will kick off with an intriguing bout as No. 27 Dylan Shawver will take on No. 1 ranked and the first wrestler to win a National Championship for Rutgers, Nick Suriano. Suriano has had a wild college career, now at his 3rd Big Ten school, but his contributions to the Rutgers program are doubtless and when he took down Daton Fix to earn his title, it was a truly amazing moment.
Current Rutgers entry at 125lbs, Dylan Shawver, is 15-4 on the season and has wrestled incredibly well, but he could be in for a tough day against Suriano.
At 133lbs, No. 20 Joey Olivieri continues his run of top-twelve opponents as he’ll likely see Michigan’s No. 8 ranked Dylan Ragusin. This has been a brutally difficult stretch for the true freshman Olivieri, but he’s looked strong, and I expect the same here.
There are three potential top-ten bouts we could see on Sunday, starting at 141lbs as No. 3 Sebastian Rivera could take on No. 4 Stevan Micic. Micic, who is in his (checks notes) whopping eighth year of college, is a three time All-American and would represent Rivera’s biggest test so far this season.
Micic didn’t wrestle in Michigan’s Friday night dual against Penn State, so his status here is uncertain. Either way, I like Rivera to continue his season long tear here.
Our next potential top-ten matchup will be at 184lbs as No. 5 John Poznanski looks to rebound from a pair of losses as he’ll take on 2020 Olympic Bronze Medalist, four time All-American, and current No. 2 Myles Amine.
Not the best opponent to square off against when you’re trying to stop a losing streak, but Amine’s matches are usually tight and Poznanski is a stud, so he should be in this one late. Amine fell on Friday night to defending national champion and No. 1 Aaron Brooks of Penn State in extremely close 3-1 decision.
Our last top-ten matchup of Sunday evening will see Rutgers No. 6 Greg Bulsak, coming off a tough loss on Friday against Michigan taking on former Princeton All-American and No. 8 ranked Patrick Brucki, himself coming off a loss to No. 2 Max Dean of Penn State Friday night.
This one should be close as well and could represent Rutgers best chance of taking a match during the second half of the dual.
Michigan’s lineup also features three other top-ten ranked wrestlers with Cam Amine coming in at No. 10 at 165lbs, Logan Massa at No. 6 at 174lbs, and the No. 2 ranked heavyweight in Mason Parris.
All three wrestlers fell in tight decision losses on Friday night to their respective opponents from Penn State, which speaks more to the Penn State machine than to any deficiencies within the Wolverines, who also have No. 15 at 157lbs in Will Lewan.
Rutgers lone wrestler to avoid a ranked opponent here will be No. 17 Mike VanBrill, who has been on a hot streak of late, winning his last three matches.
After the dust settles, I see Rutgers taking three matches here to Michigan’s seven and falling by a score of 26-10. After Sunday’s dual, the Scarlet Knights will be home at Jersey Mike’s Arena in Piscataway for the remainder of their five dual meets, which is music to everyone’s ears.
The action kicks off on Sunday at 4:00PM EST and can be streamed via BTN Plus ($$).