2017 Penn State At Iowa

How Iowa Can Beat Penn State

How Iowa Can Beat Penn State

The fourth-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes will be looking to rebound from their January 15 loss to No. 1 Oklahoma State when they play host to the undefeated and second-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday.

Jan 18, 2017 by Christian Pyles
The fourth-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes will be looking to rebound from their January 15 loss to No. 1 Oklahoma State when they play host to the undefeated and second-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday.

While the matchup is difficult for Iowa, the path to victory is not as unrealistic as many may think.

First, a look at the matchups.

125: #1 Thomas Gilman, Iowa vs. #3 Nick Suriano, Penn State
133: #3 Cory Clark, Iowa vs. George Carpenter, Penn State
141: #19 Topher Carton, Iowa vs. Jimmy Gulibon, Penn State
149: #3 Brandon Sorensen, Iowa vs. #1 Zain Retherford, Penn State
157: #2 Michael Kemerer, Iowa vs. #1 Jason Nolf, Penn State
165: #19 Joey Gunther, Iowa vs. #6 Vincenzo Joseph, Penn State
174: #13 Alex Meyer, Iowa vs. #14 Geno Morelli, Penn State
184: #4 Sammy Brooks, Iowa vs. #2 Bo Nickal, Penn State
197: Cash Wilcke, Iowa vs. #8 Matt McCutcheon, Penn State
285: #9 Sam Stoll, Iowa vs. #5 Nick Nevills, Penn State

I'll keep it simple. The Nittany Lions are going to get theirs. The Hawkeyes needs to have their studs that hit PSU's studs (Zain, Nolf and Nickal) to not get bonused, and Iowa needs to win the matches it should and pull one upset (285).

Here's what I believe is a very reasonable path to victory for the Iowa Hawkeyes.

125: Gilman WBD Suriano, 3-0 Iowa
133: Clark WMD Carpenter, 7-0 Iowa
141: Carton WBD Gulibon, 10-0 Iowa
149: Retherford WBD Sorensen, 10-3 Iowa
157: Nolf WBD Kemerer, 10-6 Iowa
165: Joseph WBD Gunther, 10-9 Iowa
174: Meyer WBD Morelli, 13-9 Iowa
184: Nickal WBD Brooks, 13-12 Iowa
197: McCutcheon WBD Wilcke, 15-13 Penn State
285: Stoll WBD Nevills, 16-15 Iowa

The way Stoll performed late against Oklahoma State heavyweight Austin Schafer compared with how Nevills has looked this season has to give you some pause. So if Iowa can't get the upset there, it may have to come at 165 or against one of PSU's big three (Zain, Nolf, Nickal), a tall task. Also, you are essentially counting on PSU to get no bonus at any point. While Cash Wilcke hasn't been an incredibly productive option for Iowa at 197, he's yet to lose by bonus points despite wrestling two top-10 opponents and three total ranked wrestlers.  

The odd dynamic in this dual is that three of Iowa's best wrestlers are facing PSU's big three. It's weird to talk about those three Hawkeyes as going in there with a bonus-preserving mission.

Jason Nolf will look for bonus against his former Young Guns teammate:

In short, the path to an Iowa win is bonus preservation and one upset. The forgotten element is something that is completely unmeasurable but also undeniable: Crazy things happen in Carver-Hawkeye. On Friday, all questions will be answered.