No. 7 Ohio State (9-3) vs. No. 22 Northwestern (3-5) Preview
The Buckeyes return to the Covelli Center Sunday afternoon for their final home dual of the year against No. 22 Northwestern. There will be standing room only for this dual as Buckeye Nation celebrates the Seniors on this squad. Ohio State is 9-3 this season with their last dual coming against No.6 Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Buckeyes were defeated 19-14 after winning 4/10 matches. The dual was tied 14-14 going in to the last match of the night where Ethan Smith wrestled against Isaiah White, the No. 4 165-pounder in the country. Smith lead the entire match until White caught Smith in a cradle and pinned him with 2 seconds left. Northwestern is 3-5 this season with wins against No. 14 Northern Iowa, North Dakota State, and Indiana. Northwestern also had close losses against No. 11 Virginia Tech, No. 18 Purdue, Michigan, and Illinois. Please read below for weight by weight previews.
125 pounds: Dylan Koontz (12-8, r-So.) vs. No. 11 Michael DeAgustino (13-6, r-Fr.)
- With the continued struggles in this weight class, Coach Tom Ryan seems to be looking for immediate answers. Koontz started the season out at 133 pounds and has now moved down to 125 pounds in an effort to help the team. Koontz represented Ohio State at the Cliff Keen Invitational earlier this season and surprised everyone finishing 6th in the 133-pound weight class. Koontz’s opponent Michael DeAugustino is the No. 11 125 pounder in the country. In his last match, DeAugustino was defeated by an unranked Illinois opponent in a 4-2 decision. Koontz is tough on top and I think that will be the difference in this match. I think Koontz wins by decision making the team score 3-0 OSU.
133 Pounds: Jordan Decatur (10-7, Fr.) vs. No. 3 Sebastian Rivera (7-2, r-Jr.) or Dylan Utterback (2-9, Jr.)
- In his last match, Decatur was defeated by Ridge Lovett, the No. 14 133-pounder in the country from Nebraska by a 6-5 decision. Decatur has shown an elite ability to score at times but has also struggled on bottom. In Northwestern’s last match, Utterback was defeated by Travis Piotrowski, the No. 7 133-pounder in the country by a 21-3 tech fall. Rivera last competed at the Midlands Championships where he had to medically forfeit in his 6th match against Travis Piotrowski. Rivera was leading 5-3 when he got hurt. This would be a great match for Rivera to come back but ultimately, I do not think he does. If Utterback wrestles, I think Decatur wins by decision but if Rivera wrestles, I think he wins by decision. Decatur’s victory would make the team score 6-0 OSU.
141 Pounds: No. 1 Luke Pletcher (22-0, Sr.) vs. Alec McKenna (4-6, r-Sr.)
- In his last match, Pletcher defeated Chad Red, the No. 6 141-pounder in the country from Nebraska in a 10-1 major decision. In Northwestern’s last match, McKenna was defeated by Dylan Duncan, the No. 12 141-pounder in the country in a 5-0 decision. I expect Pletcher to score at will in this match winning by tech fall. Pletcher’s victory would make the team score 11-0 OSU.
149 Pounds: No. 1 Sammy Sasso (20-2, r-Fr.) vs. No. 16 Yahya Thomas (9-5, r-So.)
- In his last match, Sasso defeated Collin Purinton, the No. 15 149-pounder in the country by a 13-4 major decision. In Northwestern’s last match, Thomas defeated an unranked Illinois opponent by a 2-1 decision. Thomas wrestles an unorthodox style but Sasso has taken the next step in his progression this season. He has elite defense and can hit a big move if it presents itself. I believe Sasso wins by major decision. Sasso’s victory would make the team score 15-0 OSU.
157 Pounds: Elijah Cleary (13-9, r-Jr.) vs. No. 1 Ryan Deakin (13-0, r-Jr.)
- In his last match, Cleary was defeated by Ryan Thomas, the No. 21 157-pounder in the country from Minnesota by a 3-2 decision. Coach Tom Ryan took Cleary out of the lineup in each of the last two duals in favor of Quinn Kinner. Kinner has great offense but he needs to continue growing into his new weight. In Northwestern’s last match, Deakin pinned an unranked Illinois opponent. I believe Deakin has the advantage in this match and wins by major decision. Deakin’s major decision would make the team score 15-4 OSU.
165 Pounds: No. 13 Ethan Smith (15-9, r-So.) vs. No. 18 Shayne Oster (12-8, Sr.)
- In his last match, Smith was pinned by Isaiah White, the No. 4 165-pounder in the country from Nebraska with just two seconds left in the match. Smith led the entire match until he was caught in a cradle. In Northwestern’s last match, Oster defeated Dan Braunagel, the No. 15 165-pounder in the country by a 7-6 decision. I believe Smith bounces back and wins by decision in this match. Smith’s victory would make the team score 18-4 OSU.
174 Pounds: No. 7 Kaleb Romero (15-4, r-So.) vs. No. 22 Tyler Morland (9-8, r-So.)
- In his last match, Romero was defeated by Mikey Labriola, the No. 6 174-pounder in the country from Nebraska by a 3-1 decision. In Northwestern’s last match, Morland defeated Joey Gunther, the No. 22 174-pounder in the country by a 2-0 decision. I think Romero has the advantage in this match. Morland tends to come right at you and is susceptible to single leg attacks. I think Romero wins by decision, making the team score 21-4 OSU.
184 Pounds: No. 13 Rocky Jordan (24-6, r-Fr.) vs. Jack Jessen (12-12, r-Fr.)
- In his last match, Jordan defeated Taylor Venz, the No. 9 184-pounder in the country from Nebraska by a 3-2 decision. In Northwestern’s last match, Jessen was defeated by Zac Braunagel, the No. 13 184-pounder in the country by a 13-2 major decision. Jordan was not able to wrestle for nearly 14 months due to injury but really appears to be coming into his own over the last few duals. I believe Jordan wins by tech fall, making the team score 26-4 OSU.
197 Pounds: No. 1 Kollin Moore (22-0, r-Sr.) vs. No. 13 Lucas Davison (11-4, r-Fr.)
- In his last match, Moore defeated Eric Schultz, the No. 10 197-pounder in the country by a 6-2 decision. In Northwestern’s last match, Davison defeated an unranked opponent from Illinois in a 5-0 decision. Davison has also defeated Rasheed from Penn State and Brunner from Purdue who was ranked as the No. 2 197-pounder in the country at the time. I believe Moore’s offense will be too much for Davison winning by major decision. Moore’s victory would make the team score 30-4 OSU.
HWT: No. 23 Gary Traub (18-6, r-Jr.) vs. Jack Heyob (0-10, r-Fr.)
- In his last match, Traub was defeated by an unranked opponent from Nebraska by an 8-3 decision. In Northwestern’s last match, Heyob was defeated by an unranked opponent from Illinois by a 14-4 major decision. I think Traub has the advantage in this match, winning by decision. Traub’s decision would make the final team score 33-4 OSU. If Rivera wrestles then the score would be 30-7 OSU.
As we get closer and closer to March, Coach Tom Ryan has established his team as a contender to win the title. Iowa will be extremely tough to defeat but Ohio State has 3 serious contenders to win individual titles. The team race will come down to the other 7 weight classes and how many points they can get for the team. Either way, I believe Ohio State has a bright future with this lineup, especially with the wrestlers that redshirted this season and those committed for 2021 and beyond.
Written by: Brandon Dodson
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Photo Credit given to @wrestlingbucks