The Rutgers wrestling team recently suffered a tough 20-12 defeat to Minnesota. The Scarlet Knights (10-3, 3-2) struggled against ranked opponents in the dual, losing 5 of their 8 ranked bouts.
Despite the loss, No. 14 Rutgers did not make it an easy win for the Golden Gophers (6-2, 1-2). The Knights lost six bouts but only lost one by more than 3 points. No. 10 Minnesota jumped out to a 17-6 lead, but Rutgers cut the deficit to 5 points with one bout left. Still, ultimately, it was too late to complete the comeback.
It will be tough sledding for the Knights to close out the season. Rutgers will take on Ohio State and Penn State, who are ranked No. 7 and No. 1 in the country, respectively.
The Knights will then face Maryland before closing out their dual season against Bloomsburg, an easier opponent. Rutgers will need all of its starters to be in strong form if it hopes to be competitive in any of these matches or even walk away with an upset win.
The Knights have some wrestlers who have been struggling. No. 13 junior 133-pounder Dylan Shawver and No. 21 sophomore 184-pounder Brian Soldano have lost their last two bouts. No. 12 junior 197-pounder John Poznanski suffered his first defeat of the season last weekend. Rutgers will need all of them to bounce back in order to pull off an upset win against the Buckeyes (12-1, 4-0) or Nittany Lions (7-0, 4-0).
A win for the Knights against one of these top-ranked foes would be huge for the program, as the team has not won against a top-10 opponent since Jan. 11, 2019.
It is realistic to think that Rutgers would pick up a win against the Terrapins (3-5, 1-4) but lose to No. 7 Ohio State and No. 1 Penn State. The Knights are favored against the Buckeyes, but they will be significantly tested in every bout.
Head coach Scott Goodale has talked about his program taking the next step and defeating one of the top Big Ten opponents.
"It's to the point now (that) we need to knock somebody off. We'll be competitive for sure, but we gotta start beating some of these (teams)." Goodale said.
Rutgers will face off against Ohio State on Sunday at Jersey Mike's Arena on Livingston campus. The match will be broadcast on Big Ten Plus and 88.7 WRSU-FM.
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