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No. 23 Rutgers Wrestling to Wrap Up Regular Season this Weekend against Penn State and Nebraska

The No. 1 ranked Nittany Lions come to Jersey Mike’s Arena on Friday night before the Scarlet Knights head out to Lincoln, Nebraska for a Sunday afternoon dual with the No. 10 Cornhuskers.

Syndication: Asbury Park Press Peter Ackerman / USA TODAY NETWORK

No. 23 Rutgers Wrestling (10-5, 2-4) wraps up their regular season slate this weekend with a pair of Big Ten duals against No. 1 Penn State (13-0, 6-0) and No. 10 Nebraska (9-3, 5-1).

Last time out, the Scarlet Knights dominated Maryland, 28-7 taking eight of ten bouts in the conference matchup on the road in University Park.

Rutgers comes into the season-ending duals with six wrestlers currently ranked by Intermat including: No. 16 Dean Peterson (125), No. 15 Joe Heilmann (133), No. 19 Joe Olivieri (141), No. 33 Andrew Clark (157), No. 14 Brian Soldano (184), and No. 21 Boone McDermott (HWT).

It was very important for the Scarlet Knights to pick up the win against Maryland last week, because on Friday night, the No. 1 ranked Nittany Lions come to Jersey Mike’s Arena in Piscataway with their four returning National Champions: Roman Bravo Young (133), Carter Starocci (174), Aaron Brooks (184), and Max Dean (197).

The perennial powerhouse squad also sports five other wrestlers ranked in the top fifteen including four in the top ten.

All this is to say Rutgers will be favored in one match, 125lbs, where No. 16 Dean Peterson will likely see Penn State’s Gary Steen. Steen, the only unranked wrestler in the Nittany Lion lineup, is 5-10 on the season, so bonus points are a possibility for Peterson as he looks to rebound from a rough loss last time out against Maryland’s No. 15 Braxton Brown.

If they send out their starters, Penn State will be heavily favored in every other matchup Friday night, which means the Scarlet Knights will have to bring their absolute best to keep it competitive.

Of course, it’s wrestling, and when you step on the mat, anything can happen, but I see Penn State taking nine of ten Friday. I’m not going to give a prediction as to the final score, but as the match is trending towards a sellout, hopefully the fans can stay rowdy for the home team.

The Scarlet Knights will then hit the road to head out to Lincoln, Nebraska for their final dual meet of the season against the No. 10 ranked Cornhuskers.

Their long time skipper, Mark Manning, recently picked up his 300th career win as head coach for Nebraska, a huge accomplishment from a guy that seems like a great asset to the wrestling community.

The Cornhuskers also have six wrestlers currently ranked by Intermat, but also have some studs, with four of those wrestlers ranked in the top five.

The most anticipated matchup of the day for me will be up at 184lbs where No. 14 Brian Soldano will likely see Nebraska’s No. 15 ranked Lenny Pinto. Pinto, a redshirt freshman, is having a strong season and by the looks of his stats, he likes to score in bunches.

How Soldano handles the forward pressure of Pinto will be telling, but it should be a fun one regardless.

For Rutgers, limiting bonus points in matches against Nebraska’s top ranked guys will be the biggest factor in the outcome of this dual.

I see it as a seven to three or six to four match split in favor of the Cornhuskers with the final score being 22-12, maybe 19-15 if we can win an extra toss up bout.

Action kicks off Friday night from Jersey Mike’s Arena in Piscataway against No. 1 Penn State at 7:00PM and will be streamed via BTN Plus. The Sunday dual at No. 10 Nebraska will start at 1:00PM and also will be streamed via BTN Plus.