The Ohio State wrestling team (2-5, 1-1 Big Ten) will look to score a major decision when it travels to take on No. 8 Iowa (8-0-1, 1-0) on Saturday.
After a 19-16 victory against Michigan State on Sunday, the Buckeyes will attempt to deal Iowa its first loss in 70 matches. The Hawkeyes boast a 35-2 all-time record against OSU and haven’t dropped a decision to the Buckeyes since 1966.
OSU coach Tom Ryan said if his squad plays to its potential, a win is still attainable against a deep Iowa team that features eight nationally ranked wrestlers.
“Iowa, with their tradition, is never an easy place to play,” Ryan said before practice Wednesday. “I can promise that we’re going to fight.”
Ryan said he expects strong outings from senior captain Colt Sponseller (157), as well as sophomore Ian Paddock (133) and redshirt freshman Nick Heflin (174).
“The matches at 133, 157 and 174 pounds are all dead heats,” Ryan said. “Those are matches we’ll need to score in.”
Sponseller said despite pressure on the young OSU squad to produce results against a top program, the game plan wouldn’t change for Iowa.
“Our preparation isn’t much different,” Sponseller said. “We’re just working on our problem areas and working on fighting.”
“We just need to go out there and fight for every position,” he said.
Ryan wasn’t willing to make a prediction about Saturday’s match, but Sponseller smiled at the mention of OSU not having beaten Iowa since 1966.
“We’ve got nothing to lose,” Sponseller said.