Author: Tim Owen
Well that’s more like it. After getting trounced by Iowa last weekend, which snapped a 13-match winning streak, the Nittany Lion wrestlers rallied back with two convincing victories over Michigan State and Michigan this weekend. The first stop of the road trip was in Lansing Friday night where they mauled the Spartans 30-9. Then they headed back to Ann Arbor for a 28-13 beating of the Wolverines.
The life of a Big Ten wrestler is no walk in the park. It is more like a walk through a continuous briar patch with the eight other teams ranked in the top 25 of the NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll. For Penn State, this week’s thorns are Michigan State and No. 13 Michigan.
Coming off their first defeat of the season, the Nittany Lions are heading west to square off against the Spartans Friday night. Then, for a rematch, Penn State will head to Ann Arbor for Sunday’s dual meet against the ranked Wolverines.
Fresh off that 22-13 loss to Iowa last Sunday, the Nittany Lions are hungry to return to their winning ways.
Entering Sunday’s dual meet against Iowa, the reality of Penn State halting the Hawkeye’s 72-match unbeaten streak never seemed so likely–but the NCAA champions of three-straight seasons had other plans.
Well that didn’t take long.
In just his second season as head coach Cael Sanderson and his Nittany Lions are the number one team in the country according to the USA Today/NWCA Coaches Poll.
“It is nice to be ranked number one, but our goal is not to be ranked number one,” Sanderson said Tuesday’s practice. ” Our goal is to the national champions.”
It has been since 1953 when the last Penn State wrestling team– or any east coast school for that matter– won a national championship , but with an 11-0 record and a No. 2 ranking the 2011 squad is heading in the right direction to break the 58 year drought.
The No. 2-ranked Nittany Lions will continue their national championship campaign on national television against No. 22 Pittsburgh on Friday in Rec Hall.
It has been a roller coster of a ride for two Penn State quarterbacks since the final regular season game against Michigan State, but it appears Rob Bolden and Kevin Newsome will both be back in blue and white for spring practices. But what happens beyond then remains unclear.
Just when it looked like the Nittany Lions would rally in the fourth quarter to upend the Florida Gators in the Outback Bowl, a Matt McGloin-thrown interception return for a touchdown in the final minute sealed Penn State’s fate, 37-24.