In its last trip to Pennsylvania, the Oklahoma State wrestling team suffered its worst loss of the season.
Since the 19-18 setback at Pitt on Jan. 19, No. 7 OSU has become one of the hottest teams in the country with four straight wins by at least 20 points.
Now, in its return trip to the Keystone State, OSU will get a chance to prove just how far it has come with a 1 p.m. dual at No. 2 Penn State on Sunday. The Nittany Lions have dominated college wrestling recently, winning three consecutive national titles.
“This is the toughest matchup for us this season,” said OSU coach John Smith. “We just need to take the momentum that we've built up and make sure we continue to get better as we go into these big matches. If we get better than what we've been wrestling, we're going to have a great opportunity (to beat Penn State).”
“There's definitely a difference in the team (over the last three weeks). I'd say just the level of intensity I'm finally getting. That's the difference now.”
Of the 10 matches, nine could potentially pit wrestlers ranked in the top 20 against each other. The marquee matchups are headlined by No. 3 Alex Dieringer (OSU) vs. No. 6 Dylan Alton at 157 pounds, No. 5 Tyler Caldwell (OSU) vs. No. 1 David Taylor at 165 pounds, and No. 2 Chris Perry (OSU) vs. No. 4 Matt Brown at 174 pounds.
Upsets have been a trend in Division I wrestling this season, but until last Sunday's loss at Minnesota, Penn State (13-1) had shown no signs of being beatable. The Nittany Lions had won each their first 13 duals by at least 10 points before falling, 18-17, to the Golden Gophers.