The No. 2 Ohio State wrestling team will take on Michigan State at 7 p.m. Friday at Jenison Field House in East Lansing, Michigan, and Purdue at 1 p.m. Sunday at Graham High School in St. Paris, Ohio, the hometown of Buckeye wrestlers and brothers Bo and Micah Jordan.
The Spartans (5-6, 1-4 Big Ten) lost their last meet to No. 21 Wisconsin 28-7, and they lack a single ranked wrestler, giving Ohio State (10-0, 5-0 Big Ten) a massive advantage. However, it is rare for a team to win each match, even when there is an edge in the rankings.
“Michigan State, obviously they’re not your Iowa or Penn State match, but it’s still a good opportunity to go out there and work on some new skills in a live match,” Ohio State redshirt sophomore Kollin Moore said. “Try some of the stuff that you’ve been working in practice see if you can do it in an actual match.”
Moore, who ranks No. 1 at 197 pounds, will wrestle in both Ohio State’s meets. Senior and No. 1 heavyweight Kyle Snyder will neither rest nor compete for Ohio State this weekend. Instead, he will represent the United States at the Yarygin Grand Prix in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Snyder will try to become the first American to win the Yarygin in back-to-back years.
Ohio State is coming off of a decisive victory against No. 3 Iowa 22-12 on Sunday, a result that still lingers in the Buckeyes’ minds.
“I would argue that that was one of the top-three dual meets of all-time,” Ohio State head coach Tom Ryan said. “I mean that was a great atmosphere. Our guys really saw the love that people have for wrestling in this region and for the university.”
The Schottenstein Center filled up with 15,117 people for the Iowa meet, and the home fans watched the Buckeyes win six of the 10 bouts. Moore beat No. 5 Cash Wilcke, and Ohio State sophomore No. 2 Luke Pletcher beat Paul Glynn at 133 pounds. Both Moore and Pletcher remained undefeated on the season with the victories, but Pletcher saw his performance from a different perspective.
“Last year we had the big crowd and I lost,” Pletcher said. “So it was still cool then, but it’s a lot better when you win, obviously. I had a lot of family members come down. My club coach brought some wrestlers down, so it was pretty cool to see them there, and go out in front of 15,000 fans was pretty awesome.”
Purdue (5-5, 0-4 Big Ten) has struggled recently, losing its past four competitions, most recently losing 21-12 to No. 14 Illinois. The Boilermakers wrestle North Dakota State on Friday, which will allow them to try to regain some confidence before they take on the Buckeyes.
Sunday’s meet will give the Jordan brothers the chance to return to their high school in St. Paris, Ohio, to compete for the first time since the two graduated.
“That’s one of the meccas in the country, let alone the state of Ohio,” Ryan said. “They are producing college student-athletes left and right.”
Ohio State shifts its focus toward Michigan State and Purdue, though its Feb. 3 meet at Penn State is nearing.