The No. 1 Penn State Nittany Lions overpowers No. 3 Michigan in Ann Arbor behind eight individual wins including a major upset at heavyweight.
The dual between No. 1 Penn State and No. 3 Michigan had everything wrestling fans could possibly want — bonus points, overtime matches, No. 1 vs. No. 2 and Big Ten pride. In the end though, the Nittany Lions prevailed, with dominance, over the Wolverines to hold on to their No. 1 ranking and set up their dual with No. 2 Iowa next weekend.
Michigan notched wins from Nick Suriano and Will Lewan at 125 and 157 pounds, but, other than those two, the Penn State wrestlers roared in the Crisler Center, earning wins at 133, 141, 149, 165, 174, 184, 197 and 285.
No. 1 Nick Lee and No. 19 Beau Bartlett earned bonus points for the Blue and White by way of tech fall and injury default at 141 and 149 pounds, while No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young, No. 1 Aaron Brooks and No. 1 Carter Starocci also earned wins to hold on to their top-ranked positions over ranked opponents. Brooks' win, in particular, helped him solidify himself as the top guy as he took down Olympian Myles Amine in a tight 3-1 decision.
Building off of the momentum of his teammates, upperweights Max Dean and Greg Kerkvliet scored critical victories for their own individual rankings at 197 and 285 pounds, with Dean's coming off a quick re-attack in overtime and Kerkvliet's victory by nature of an upset over No. 2 Mason Parris. Kerkvliet wasn't the only guy with an upset win though, as Brady Berge topped All-American Cam Amine at 165 pounds to rack up another win on his season.
If there was any question that Penn State deserved to be No. 1, the Nittany Lions quieted the critics on Friday night. This was a definitive victory, and they'll have the Hawks next week as Big Ten action continues.
Full results from No. 1 Penn State over No. 3 Michigan Wolverines:
|WEIGHT||NO. 1 PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS||NO. 3 MICHIGAN WOLVERINES||score|
|125||No. 7 Drew Hildebrandt||No. 1 Nick Suriano||Suriano: 2-1 — DECISION|
|133||No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young||No. 8 Dylan Ragusin||Bravo-Young: 8-1 — DECISION|
|141||No. 1 Nick Lee||Drew Mattin||Lee: 21-6 — TECH FALL|
|149||No. 19 Beau Bartlett||Cole Mattin||Bartlett — INJURY DEFAULT|
|157||Terrell Barraclough||No. 15 Will Lewan||Lewan: 5-2 — DECISION|
|165||No. 16 Brady Berge||No. 10 Cam Amine||Berge: 3-1 — DECISION|
|174||No. 1 Carter Starocci||No. 6 Logan Massa||Starocci: 3-2 — DECISION|
|184||No. 1 Aaron Brooks||No. 2 Myles Amine||Brooks: 3-1 — DECISION|
|197||No. 2 Max Dean||
No. 8 Pat Brucki
|Dean: 6-4 — DECISION (SV)|
|285||No. 4 Greg Kerkvliet||No. 2 Mason Parris||Kerkvliet: 8-5 — DECISION|
285 pounds: Kerkvliet upsets Parris
THIRD PERIOD: Kerkvliet starts on bottom for this third period, and Parris goes for the ride. The Nittany Lion is up, and we're tied at 5-5. Kerkvliet went in for a shot, but Parris holds him off before Kerkvliet goes in again, and he gets it. That's a 7-5 lead for Penn State with less a minute left. This is looking good for Kerkvliet. Parris is tough, and this is his home crowd, but he's in a tough spot. Parris tries to roll out of Kerkvliet's hold, but there's just ten seconds left...and Penn State ends this with an exclamation point. Kerkvliet takes the win 8-5.
SECOND PERIOD: Parris starts down to begin the second period. Escape Parris. Just over 90 seconds to go in the period. This escape has been the only point of the period after an action-packed first period, and it's Parris holding on to the 5-4 lead with ten seconds to go. Short time. Let's go to the third.
FIRST PERIOD: Parris looks to have a slight size advantage on Kerkvliet, but we're scoreless after the first minute. Kerkvliet makes the first move, and he's on the board with a quick takedown before Parris, just as quickly, picks up an escape. It's 2-1 after two minutes. That's not how Parris wanted this match to go, but there's time for anything to happen. Kerkvliet is in on another shot though, he's building off the momentum that his team built for him. Finishing that takedown, Kerkvliet takes the 4-2 lead after Parris escapes. Fifteen seconds left, and Parris takes a shot for a takedown of his own. The Wolverine ends the period on top with the score tied 4-4.
197 pounds: No. 2 Max Dean beats No. 8 Pat Brucki
OVERTIME: This crowd is on its feet. Dean takes the first shot, and Brucki responds. Brucki's second shot attempt quickly turns into a re-attack from Dean, and he takes the match 6-4.
THIRD PERIOD: Brucki chooses down to start the third, and Dean is working for the ride. He ticks down Brucki's riding time and starts his riding time clock. A ride on the edge from Dean leads the ref to call a stalemate and bring the wrestlers back to the center after earning 38 seconds of riding time. Less than 45 seconds remain in the match. If he rides Brucki, he ties it. This is his ticket. Twenty seconds. The Michigan fans want a stall call against Dean, but he continues to ride on the edge honestly. And that's it. We're heading to sudden victory.
SECOND PERIOD: Dean starts down to start to the first, and he gets the escape, but it's Brucki on the offense again. He notches another takedown, and it's 4-2 after Dean's escape. Fifteen seconds to go. After a run of Nittany Lion wins, this one (though it's still early) seems to be trending in the opposite direction. Dean escapes, and it's 4-3 to go into the third.
FIRST PERIOD: Penn State leads 23-6 after eight, so if you're Brucki, you need an upset with bonus over Dean, and he's in on the first shot for an early scramble. The refs call a stalemate, and the two top-ten guys are back to the middle, but the action doesn't stop. Brucki is moving his feet, on the attack, eyeing another shot. And he gets it! That's two for the Wolverine. He works to hold Dean down with a mat return, but Dean is out. It's 2-1 in Brucki's favor. Thirty seconds to go. And we're on to the second!
184 pounds: No. 1 Aaron Brooks outscrambles No. 2 Myles Amine
THIRD PERIOD: Brooks chooses down to start the third, as Amine works to cut away at Brook's riding time. But Brooks is out and immediately goes for a shot. It's all tied up 1-1 with 90 seconds to go. Riding time is not a factor. Here comes the action. A shot from Brooks, and, despite Amine's attempt at a counter, Brooks took the advantage, but we're scrambling. Amine is now in on Brooks' leg, but Brooks, after a great sequence, picks up the two and stays on top for the 3-1 win.
SECOND PERIOD: Amine chooses down to start the second, and Brooks works for a mat return. He's earned 30 seconds of riding time, and he's still on top. If he can get it over a minute, that could make all the difference in this dual. Woah, Brooks is looking for a turn, but Amine works out of it and is back on his feet. Escape Amine, and he leads 1-0 while Brooks has 51 seconds of riding time. Forty-five seconds to go. Thirty seconds. And that's it. Amine has the 1-0 lead going into the third.
FIRST PERIOD: This is the bout of the night. Nothing beats No. 1 vs. No. 2. These guys are strong, experienced, poised and patient, so you won't see too many mistakes happening here — this is match between two elite competitors who know how to win. We're scoreless after the first minute. Brooks is pushing Amine around the mat a little, but Amine is the one taking the shots. You can see that these guys are both saavy freestyle wrestlers, as they're comfortable on their feet and like working each other off the mat for what would be a one-point pushout in freestyle. Thirty seconds to go. Lots of scrapping, not a lot of scoring. The first period ends 0-0.
174 pounds: Carter Starocci vs. No. 6 Logan Massa
THIRD PERIOD: Starocci tries to ride Massa, but he's out, so that's another point for the Wolverine. He's trailing 3-2 with 1:41 to go in the period. Starocci goes in for a shot on the edge, but there's a challenge and some confusion on the mat. We're back to the officials.
Escape is reversed, but he does pick up his point after the restart. Less than a minute to go, and now it's 3-2 for real. Can he take down the No. 1-ranked guy? Shots from Massa, lots of energy in the arena, and he looks for a big move on the edge. Back to the middle. Another double leg attempt. Nothing. Ten seconds to go. Starocci holds on. The champ remains undefeated, and Penn State extends its lead.
SECOND PERIOD: Starocci starts the period on bottom and gets the escape, but Massa goes in for an immediate shot. Scramble city...here we go. Stalemate. That was close. The scramble headlined the period, as action stalled slightly after that exciting start. Massa picked up just four seconds of riding time at the start of this period, so he'll go into the third down 3-1 and start on bottom.
FIRST PERIOD: Crazy scramble and Starocci is on the board first with a takedown over Massa after the first minute. Penn State has all the momentum after Berge's big win. The 165-pounder is clearly back in form and looking a podium finish, and that's no surprise considering who is training partners are in this Penn State wrestling room. After all, this Penn State 174-pound defending champion is the real deal. Massa picks up an escape against Starocci, and it's 2-1 with less than a minute remaining. Some upper-body work here from Starocci, and he looks to convert it into a takedown attempt on the edge. He doesn't get it, but he's in for another shot, again on the edge. No new points, but Starocci still has the lead 2-1 and all of the momentum.
165 pounds: Brady Berge beats Cam Amine 3-1
THIRD PERIOD: Berge choose down to start the third,and he's out after 20 seconds. Now there's 90 seconds left in the match, and Amine needs to score, as Berge leads 3-1. One minute left. Thirty seconds to go. Riding time is not a factor, and we're into short time. Amine is going in for a short, but Berge's defense is too good. Berge holds off the All-American 3-1, and Penn State extends its lead.
SECOND PERIOD: Amine chooses down to start the second, and he's out. It's now 2-1 Berge. That will do it for the second period. No additional action other than the escape.
FIRST PERIOD: Cam Amine is here! Despite concerns from Michigan fans that he wouldn't be on the mat against Berge, he's in action, and he's needed in a big way in this dual. No score after the first minute, but it's Berge on the board first after an ankle pick for two points. Can he ride out Amine for the last 45 seconds of the period? He goes for the mat return, and he's still riding. Fifteen seconds...ten...five. Short time, but Berge finishes the period on top, and he'll lead 2-0 going into the second.
157 pounds: Lewan outscores Barraclough 5-1
THIRD PERIOD: Barraclough starts on bottom to begin the third. The Nittany Lion is out, so it's 3-1 with 1:45 to go. Barraclough's in on a shot, and he's looking for that second ankle, but Lewan works out of it. One minute left. This is a big bout for team points. Michigan needs a win, and Lewan recognizes the size of the moment. He works for a takedown, and, despite good defense from Barraclough on the edge, Lewan gets it and takes the 5-1 lead with 18 seconds to go. And that's a match. Lewan takes the victory. That's an important win for the Wolverines, but Penn State holds the lead after five matches 14-6.
SECOND PERIOD: Lewan starts on bottom and picks up a quick escape. Barraclough earned just five seconds of riding time. One minute left, and it's still just that escape point on the board. There are no moral victories in wrestling, but Barraclough has to feel pretty good about where he's at in this match. Lewan goes in for the shot, and he's trying to finish, but what a fight from Barraclough! After a quick scramble, Lewan scores the short-time takedown and leads 3-0 to start the third.
FIRST PERIOD: Barraclough with the nod tonight for the Nittany Lions, but we're scoreless after a minute. Lewan is moving though, and he needs to score and score big here to put Michigan back in the match before the half. Barraclough, in enemy territory, is taking shots here, unfazed by the environment. Credit to him for the fight he showed in that first period.
149 pounds: Bartlett wins by injury default
FIRST PERIOD: Fifteen seconds in, and we're already in injury time after a wild turn effort from Bartlett. This isn't looking good for Mattin. He's working to put weight on his leg, but he'll limp off the mat. Bartlett will take the injury default win.
Penn State leads 14-3.
141 pounds: Nick Lee techs Mattin
THIRD PERIOD: Lee picks bottom to start the third and picks up the escape. It's 15-3 with 1:45 to go. He's also got riding time locked up. Takedown Lee, so make that 18-5. Escape Mattin — we're moving fast, folks. Less than a minute to go, and Lee leads 18-6. Woah, that's another takedown. If Lee ends the period on top, he'll earn the tech, but he doesn't even need the rideout. Mattin picks up a second stall call against himself, and that ends the match. Lee takes this one 21-6. Penn State leads 8-3.
SECOND PERIOD: Mattin started on the bottom, but quickly picked up a reversal. After Bravo-Young just missed bonus, you have to think Lee is thinking about a major, at the minimum. Another takedown...this guy is on fire! He leads 10-3 with one minute to go in the second. Here Lee goes looking for back points, and he gets four points to blow open the score even more. He now leads 14-3 with ten seconds to go in the period. No more turns in the second, but Lee put forth a hard ride. He'll hold that 14-3 lead into the third.
FIRST PERIOD: Takedown Lee. That was fast. Penn State has a 2-0 lead, and Lee's on top. Escape from Mattin, but Lee looks like he's about to go in for another takedown. He's got a leg..and then both ankles. Add another takedown for the Nittany Lion. This is the most action we've seen in the first period all night. If there were any questions about Lee's health before this match after he missed the duals against Indiana and Rutgers, he's looking pretty healthy right now, wrestling with authority and force. Mattin earns a takedown to make the score 4-2, but it's been Lee's match so far. Mattin goes in for a double-leg, but Lee counters for his third takedown of the night. It's 6-2, and he's looking for back points before the end of the period. He doesn't get the turn, but he does finish the period on top. It's 6-2 in favor of Lee going into the second.
133 pounds: Bravo-Young over Ragusin 8-1
THIRD PERIOD: Ragusin chooses bottom to start the third, a necessary but risky decision. Bravo-Young is not only leading 3-0 and racking up riding time effortlessly, but he wants bonus and goes for the turn. That's FOUR! Bravo-Young has a 7-0 lead and 1:07 of riding time — it's looking like bonus. This is a motivated Bravo-Young putting the team on his back and fighting for points in a way that would make Cael Sanderson proud. Thirty seconds to go. It's mat return after mat return for Bravo-Young, but Ragusin earns the escape with 15 seconds to go. Wild scramble on the edge in the final seconds. Let's go to the officials.
No takedown. Penn State isn't going to like that. Let's see how Nick Lee follows that. Penn State and Michigan are tied 3-3 after two bouts.
SECOND PERIOD: Bravo-Young chooses bottom to start the second, and now Ragusin is doing his thing and working off the riding time. Bravo-Young earns the escape, but Ragusin managed to push the riding time down to eight seconds for his Penn State foe. Ragusin is looking to use his size and strength to make some offense happen, but it's Bravo-Young who holds on the lead and ends into the third leading 3-0.
FIRST PERIOD: This is speed vs. speed. Bravo-Young vs. Dylan Ragusin. These guys are both so fun to watch. Two minutes into the first period, and it's Bravo-Young with the first takedown of the dual to take the 2-0 lead on the edge. Wait. Michigan has challenged the takedown, and the officials are at the scorer's table. We'll see.
Takedown stands. Here's some momentum in Penn State's favor after that first bout. Bravo-Young goes to work on top, and he's looking to load up some riding time. He finishes the period on top with 53 seconds to go. That rideout just made Shane Sparks so happy, and you know it. He loves tough wrestling. Bravo-Young leads 2-0.
125 pounds: Suriano tops Hildebrandt 2-1
THIRD PERIOD: Hildebrandt chose down to start the third, and he's working to pick up riding time. A third-period ride-out could win him the dual. One minute to go. That's it. He has a minute of riding time locked up, but he's not letting Hildebrandt up yet. Thirty seconds to go. This is tough wrestling from Suriano. That's one for Hildebrandt, he managed to get out, but it's too late. Suriano leads 2-1 with five seconds left. And that's it. Michigan takes a 3-0 lead.
125: Suriano uses a big third-period ride to beat #8 Hildebrandt, 2-1. Finished with 1:44 RT. He improves to 4-0 on the season.— Michigan Wrestling (@umichwrestling) January 21, 2022
Michigan 3, Penn State 0 pic.twitter.com/qv4Dc4M3Rl
SECOND PERIOD: Let's see if we can get some more action here. Suriano picks down to start the second, and he picks up an escape for the first point of the dual. The slow pace continues here as both guys are still feeling each other out. Thirty seconds left. Hildebrandt went in for a shot and seemed to have Suriano in trouble, but the Penn State wrestler worked his way out. Suriano leads 1-0 with two minutes left.
FIRST PERIOD: It's still a little strange to see these two athletes in Penn State and Michigan singlets. Who could have predicted this two years ago? These two transfers are going head-to-head, but it's Suriano who makes the first move. He's got Drew Hildebrandt's leg and working for a takedown on the edge. Is that two? Not quite, back to the center.
Hildebrandt isn't afraid of Suriano's strength, and he's held off the national champ from scoring a point through the first two minutes. Suriano is controlling the match though, and he's rewarded for his offensive efforts with a stall call against Hildebrandt. There seems to be some uncharacteristic caution between these two men, and we're scoreless after one period.
FIVE MINUTES TO GO!
It's almost time! The Crisler Center is ready to rumble, and we'll be starting at 125 pounds. Let's go!
Meet the returning NCAA champions
Penn State brings four former NCAA champions to mat. Let's take a look back at their national tournament runs. Bravo-Young went undefeated in 2021, picking up his first Big Ten conference title with a win over Austin DeSanto in the finals, and he continued his impressive run through the national tournament. The Penn State senior also earned All-American honors with an eighth place finish his freshman year, and he also earned NWCA First Team All-American honors in 2020. His speed and technique makes him one of the most dangerous wrestlers in the NCAA, and he's not slowing down on this quest to repeat as the best 133-pounder in the country.
133 pounds - Roman Bravo-Young
Penn State's Bravo-Young went undefeated in 2021, picking up his first Big Ten conference title with a win over Austin DeSanto in the finals, and he continued his impressive run through the national tournament. The Penn State senior also earned All-American honors with an eighth place finish his freshman year and NWCA First Team All-American honors in 2020. His speed and technique makes him one of the most dangerous wrestlers in the NCAA, and he's not slowing down on this quest to repeat as the best 133-pounder in the country.
Watch his NCAA finals match against Daton Fix in 2021:
141 pounds - Nick Lee
Building off the momentum of Bravo-Young's win at 133 pounds, Nick Lee continued Penn State's dominance at the 2021 NCAA tournament, topping Jaydin Eierman in a sudden victory dual. Lee has been a disciplined leader for the Nittany Lions during his tenure with the Blue and White, and he's looking strong again this season. Much like Bravo-Young, Lee has mutliple All-American honors to his name, having placed 5th in 2018, 5th in 2019. He also earned NWCA First Team All-American honors in 2020. The 141-pound weight class is potentially even harder this year than it was last year, but Lee is up for the challenge.
Watch his NCAA finals match against Jaydin Eierman in 2021:
174 pounds - Carter Starocci
Carter Starocci may have been young in 2021, but he wrestled fearlessly all season, finishing second in the Big Ten tournament to Michael Kemerer and then reversing that result at the NCAA tournament. Confident, consistent and calm, Starocci epitomizes everything Penn State stands for. In his second season as a starter, Starocci is undefeated on the year with an 11-0 record and an 81.82 bonus percentage. He's leading his weight class this year, but he'll have to beat Kemerer again, along with a few newcomers to the weight including Mekhi Lewis and Hayden Hidlay. The 174-pound weight is fun — really fun — so let's see what Starocci can do.
Watch his NCAA finals match against Michael Kemerer in 2021:
184 pounds - Aaron Brooks
Aaron Brooks helped Penn State go a perfect 4-for-4 in the national finals when he topped Trent Hidlay in another nail-bitter of a match. This year, Brooks has worked to separate himself from the field, posting a 9-0 record with 88% bonus and most recently earning a major decision against No. 5 John Poznanski of Rutgers. Brooks has taken on a leadership role on this Penn State team, despite being just a second-year freshman because of COVID eligibility rules, and his power and success make his someone always worth watching.
Watch his NCAA finals match against Trent Hidlay in 2021:
Rutgers, however, has a champ of its own in Nick Suriano. Here's how he made history at 133 pounds in 2019.
133 pounds - Nick Suriano
Nick Suriano made history in 2019 when he topped Daton Fix to become the first Rutgers national champion in program history. Prior to his title, Suriano had been an NCAA finalist, losing to Spencer Lee in 2018, and his title was the culmination of an incredible comeback story from a Jersey wrestler who brought glory back to his home state. Originally wrestling at Penn State, Suriano transferred to Rutgers after his freshman and has since transferred again, this time to Michigan, where he hopes to win another NCAA title in his final season of collegiate eligibility.
Watch his NCAA finals match against Daton Fix in 2019:
No. 1 Penn State vs. No. 3 Michigan Weight-by-Weight Preview
Penn State is favored in five matches: 133 pounds, 141 pounds, 174 pounds, 184 pounds, and 197 pounds, and the Nittany Lions have defending champions at four of those five weight classes.
If the dual starts at 125 pounds, though momentum could be in Michigan’s favor as the Wolverines are expected to field No. 1 Nick Suriano, the 2019 NCAA champion transfer from Rutgers, against Penn State’s transfer All-American Drew Hildebrandt for a top-ten bout. Suriano is undefeated on the year with a 5-0 record and 100% bonus. Suriano and Hildebrandt have never wrestled in college, but neither of them have taken a loss this year which raises the stakes even more on this match. Given the strength and power of Suriano, he’ll be the unquestionable favorite, and, if he can find his groove early, he could be looking for a bonus.
Penn State has hammers in Lee and Bravo-Young at 133 and 141, but Penn State will likely need both to wrestle to compete for a win in this bout. Bravo-Young, the Nittany Lion 133-pounder, sat against Indiana last week but made his return to the lineup on Sunday when he took down Joey Olivieri of Rutgers 11-5. No. 8 Dylan Ragusin is a tougher test than Olivieri, though Bravo-Young operates at a high level and will be expected to have the edge. If Suriano picks up bonus for Michigan at 125, expect Bravo-Young to try to turn up the pace and fight for bonus points of his own against Ragusin, though Ragusin's length and fearlessness may make that challenging.
NITTANY LIONS NO. 1: How Penn State pulled ahead in the latest NWCA poll
Following Bravo-Young will be expected to be fellow NCAA champion Nick Lee at 141 pounds, a steady, consistent champ for the Nittany Lions who has been absent for the two most recent duals due to COVID protocol. Lee is listed as probable to return against Michigan to take on No. 4 Stevan Micic, setting up an epic matchup. While these two also have also never met in college, both have championship experience, as Micic advanced to the NCAA finals in 2018 at 133 pounds and Lee, of course, won in 2021 at 141 pounds. Micic is 2-1 now up at 141 pounds, but he clearly has elite skills, evidenced by the fact that he represented Serbia as the No. 1 seed at 57kg in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. Lee has the edge, mostly because of Micic’s mixed results at the weight, but this is a fun one that will be a can’t-miss match-up if it happens.
If these duals go chalk with no bonus, Penn State will lead 6-3 after three bouts, setting up a 149-pound bout that could shift momentum heading into a series of weights that lean Michigan's way on paper. The Nittany Lions have No. 19 Beau Bartlett listed as the team's starter at 149 pounds, and Bartlett has been a steady performer for the Blue and White, recording a 8-3 record with his few losses coming against Manzona Bryant, Yianni Diakomihalis and Mike Van Brill. The Wolverines will be expected to send out Cole Mattin in place of No. 16 Kanen Storr in this dual, and Bartlett is 1-0 against the Wolverine foe. He beat Mattin 8-4 in last year's dual, and this one will likely end in a decision as well unless something dramatic happens. The Penn State 149-pounder wrestles everyone (except No. 1 Diakomihalis) close, and he can absolutely compete for a win against Mattin with his trademark patience and fundamentals on the mat.
PODIUM FINISHERS: Meet the 2021 NCAA wrestling All-Americans
Michigan will be favored one weight up, at 157 pounds, when No. 15 Will Lewan takes the mat against Penn State's Tony Negron, an unranked middleweight who has been embraced by his Nittany Lion fanbase. Lewan is 8-2 on the year with losses to Quincy Monday and Jacob Wright but a notable win over Elijah Cleary. He's never wrestled Negron in college, though he has an on-paper advantage over the 157-pound starter. Michigan will need a win here to keep things interesting heading into 165 pounds, and, if they roll out their expected starters at both 157 and 165, the Wolverines could set themselves up for a bit of a run here.
Penn State changed the game at 165 pounds last week when they introduced a new addition to their lineup in national qualifier Brady Berge, previously their 157-pounder who had retired and taken on a coaching role at South Dakota State before returning to his squad. Berge has wrestled just one dual so far this year and racked up a 5-1 decision over Andrew Clark, but he'll have a serious test if Michigan fields All-American Cam Amine. These two, like so many of the athletes in their lineup, have not wrestled in college, and it's hard to make a prediction about this one in particular. Amine is tough and talented, and Berge is making his comeback, so this one will likely be close, and the outcome could very well be reversed the next time they meet — that's how up-in-the-air this one is. Advantage Michigan on paper. Let's see if they can earn those critical team points here.
Entering 174 pounds, even if Penn State trails the Wolverines, this is where the Nittany Lions will want to turn up the heat, despite Michigan's stellar stars at this weight as well. NCAA champion Carter Starocci will hopefully take on No. 6 Logan Massa for a top-ten battle, one in which Starocci will need to win to set up some positive Penn State vibes before 184 pounds. The last time these two wrestled, Starocci beat Massa 7-1 in tie-breakers at last year's dual before going on to win NCAAs while Massa finished 5th. Starocci struggled to put up a bonus against Maryland last week, but he's been back to his offensive style with a fall and a tech against Indiana and Rutgers. If Massa can hold Starocci to a decision, he'll do what he needs to do for his team, but he'll certainly be pushing for an upset. This will be Michigan's third chance to take down a No. 1 seed in this dual in front of their home crowd, and the energy will be high.
Then, there's 184 pounds — this is where things get serious. Enter Aaron Brooks, the defending national champion, set to compete against Olympic bronze medalist Myles Amine. Just last month, Amine beat Penn State legend Mark Hall at the Matmen Open, and he's no doubt hungry for another win against a wrestler with Nittany Lion ties. Amine and Brooks have not wrestled in college, as Amine was up at 197 pounds last year, but both athletes come into the dual undefeated, and the winner will take the No. 1 spot at the weight.
SEMIFINAL BATTLE: Full recap of Myles Amine's NCAA match with AJ Ferrari
As if 184 pounds isn't exciting enough, Max Dean of Penn State and Patrick Brucki keep things rolling at 197 pounds where the pressure will be on Dean to hold on to his undefeated record. Brucki is 12-2 on the year with his losses coming against Stephen Buchanan and Jake Woodley, but he's tough and gritty and has a chance to keep pace with Dean. Much like Amine and Brooks, these two haven't wrestled in college, as Dean previously competed at 184 pounds, but the Penn State wrestler and former Cornell All-American looks like a full-size 197-pounder who wants to keep making noise for his team at this weight. This one leans Penn State on paper, but Dean was pushed last weekend by Greg Bulsak, so if Brucki wants a shot, he's going to need to take action early and keep driving the pace for seven minutes because Dean is a fighter.
Heavyweight will end the dual with fireworks, assuming both Michigan and Penn State send out starters in No. 2 Mason Parris and No. 4 Greg Kerkvliet. The last time these two met, Parris majored Kerkvliet, but the Penn State big man has only improved since then. Greg Kerkvliet is 9-0 on the year with 88.89% bonus, and he's been absolutely dominant every time he's stepped on the mat. The dual may come down to this final bout, and both of these guys are athletic, dynamic and sure to put on a show. Penn State has an opportunity here to create some shuffling in the individual rankings at heavyweight if Kerkvliet pulls off the upset, but, Parris, in front of the Wolverine faithful, will be doing everything in his power to not only hold down his spot but win with dominance.
How to watch No. 1 Penn State vs. No. 3 Michigan
The Penn State Nittany Lions hold down the No. 1 spot in the NWCA rankings, but they’ll be tested in a big way this weekend when they travel to Ann Arbor, Michigan to take on a fully-loaded Michigan squad. Here's everything you need to know about match time, weight previews and athletes to watch.
How to watch: Big Ten Network, 6 p.m. ET