Jan. 18, 2012
No. 18 Northwestern (5-3, 1-3 Big Ten)
vs. Michigan State (3-4, 1-2 Big Ten)
Fri., Jan. 20, 2012 • 7 p.m.
Site: Welsh-Ryan Arena, Evanston, Ill.
Webstream: BTDN on NUsports.com
Twitter Updates: @NU_SportsLive
Live Scoring: TrackWrestling.com
Northwestern Match Notes
EVANSTON, Ill. -- After back-to-back weekends of home and away duals, No. 18 Northwestern wrestles just one match this weekend when the Wildcats host Michigan State at 7 p.m. Friday at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Friday night’s match is the team’s annual Alumni Night event and a number of former Wildcat wrestlers are expected to be in attendance.
Fans unable to make it to Welsh-Ryan Arena can watch Friday’s dual on the Big Ten Digital Network, which airs on Wildcat All-Access on NUsports.com.
Last Time Out
Northwestern had one of the toughest weekends in college wrestling Jan. 13-15, hosting Penn State and then visiting Iowa. Depending on what wrestling poll you looked at, Northwestern wrestled either the No. 1 or No. 3 team in the country Friday night (Penn State) and then the No. 2, or No. 4 team Sunday (Iowa).
The ’Cats won five bouts in the weekend, including two by No. 3 Jason Welch at 157 lbs. Welch scored a 2-1 victory over No. 9 Dylan Alton of Penn State Friday, his third victory over a ranked opponent, and then a 17-4 major decision over Iowa’s Nick Moore.
No. 17 Mike McMullan, John Schoen and Kaleb Friedley also had big wins for the Wildcats Sunday at Iowa. McMullan got the dual started with a rematch against then-No. 8 Bobby Telford from Iowa. The first time these two met at Midlands, the bout went to sudden victory and Sunday’s match was just as close. This time though, McMullan scored the match-winning takedown with 16 seconds left in overtime for the 7-5 decision over Telford. John Schoen also faced a Midlands rematch against No. 19 Grant Gambrall. Like McMullan, the first bout between Schoen and Gambrall went into OT with Gambrall winning but Sunday, Schoen edged the Iowa grappler 2-1 in regulation. Kaleb Friedley picked up a win at 149 lbs., defeating Iowa’s Mike Kelly 3-2.
Scouting the Spartans
Michigan State is coming off its first Big Ten dual win as the Spartans edged Indiana 21-20 at Jenison Field House last Sunday. MSU won five bouts in the dual, including two with bonus points at 157 and 165, to defeat the Hoosiers. MSU is 3-4 in dual action, 1-2 in the conference, and also placed fifth at the Reno Tournament of Champions in December. Friday’s dual will feature two weight classes with ranked opponents squaring off as MSU’s No. 13 Anthony Jones is a probable starter vs. NU’s No. 3 Jason Welch at 157 lbs. and No. 10 Mike McClure is one of two probable starters at heavyweight against NU’s No. 17 Mike McMullan. McClure and McMullan wrestled each other last year during McMullan’s redshirt season with the Wildcat winning 9-5 at the Michigan State Open. Jones and McClure are the only ranked wrestlers for MSU in the latest poll, but eight others have at least 12 wins on the year.
• WIN Magazine
• NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll
Jason Welch is out to a perfect 14-0 start and has won a majority of his matches in dominating fashion. Nine of his 14 wins have come with bonus points (five major decisions, three pins and a tech fall) and he has outscored his opponents 97-20 so far this year (doesn’t include point totals in his three bouts won by fall). In fact, the most any opponent has scored on Welch this year is four points, but the three times an opponent scored four on Welch, he won those bouts by major decision. A win for Welch Friday would give him his 70th career victory at Northwestern.
The Big Ten schedule always brings tough matchups and the last two weekends, the Wildcats have faced a number of ranked opponents. Pierce Harger has wrestled four-straight ranked opponents at 165 lbs. (five total), including a 4-2 decision over Wisconsin’s No. 8 Ben Jordan on Jan. 8. John Schoen has had the toughest schedule for Northwestern, in terms of rankings, with seven matches against ranked wrestlers. In fact, six of his last seven matches were against top-20 wrestlers. Schoen has been close in all of his bouts vs. ranked foes with four overtime matches. Mike McMullan (five), Levi Mele (five), Lee Munster (five), Jameson Oster (four) and Pat Greco (four) also have faced their share of ranked opponents so far this year.
Northwestern is back on the road next weekend, facing No. 6 Illinois in Champaign, Ill., Friday, Jan. 27 at 5 p.m. and then traveling to West Lafayette, Ind., to meet Purdue for a noon dual Sunday, Jan. 29. Friday’s in-state dual vs. Illinois will air LIVE on the Big Ten Network.
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