Spartans Hit the Road for Two Big Ten Duals
 
 
 
No. 7 Michael McClure is 6-1 against ranked wrestlers this season.
 
No. 7 Michael McClure is 6-1 against ranked wrestlers this season.
 
 

Jan. 31, 2013

Dual #14: Michigan State (4-9, 0-5) at No. 13 Nebraska (9-4, 3-3)
 Date | Time Friday, Feb. 1 | 8 p.m. ET
 Location Lincoln, Neb. | NU Coliseum
 Live Stream Spartan All-Access (Fee)
 Live Stats TrackWrestling.com
 Notes  Michigan State
 Statistics  Michigan State
 Social Media Twitter @wrestlingmsu

Dual #15: Michigan State (4-9, 0-5) at No. 4 Minnesota (11-2, 5-1)
 Date | Time Sunday, Feb. 3 | 12 p.m. ET
 Location Minneapolis, Minn. | Sports Pavillion
 Live Stream Spartan All-Access (Fee)
 Live Stats TrackWrestling.com
 Notes  Michigan State
 Statistics  Michigan State
 Social Media Twitter @wrestlingmsu

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State wrestling will face two ranked opponents this weekend when it travels to take on No. 13 Nebraska on Friday, Feb. 1 and then will square off against No. 4 Minnesota on Sunday, Feb. 3. Both matches will be streamed live on the Big Ten Digital Network via Spartan All-Access.

Nine Big Ten teams are currently ranked in the Top-25, including five of the top-six teams. Each conference opponent the Spartans have faced has been ranked throughout the season.

"The Big Ten is an extraordinary conference and the remarkable thing is how strong it has gotten in the last 10 years," head coach Tom Minkel said. "Every dual we wrestle is against someone tough. The good thing is it forces us to raise our level and aspire to reach the highest level in the country."

The Huskers fell to No. 1 Penn State last weekend, 33-9, in its lone dual of the weekend, while the Golden Gophers fell to Iowa, 16-15. Minnesota and Iowa tied 15-15 after splitting the matches five apiece and it came down to tiebreaker criteria, in which the Hawkeyes came out ahead on match points, 41-33.

Junior Michael McClure leads MSU and is 25-2 on the season while holding the No. 7 spot in the rankings at heavyweight. McClure beat No. 15 Jeremy Johnson of Ohio last weekend, his sixth win over a ranked opponent.

Michigan State at Nebraska Probable Starting Lineup
 125 MSU: Brenan Lyon (Jr., 6-13)
UNL: Eric Coufal (Fr., 2-11)
 133 MSU: Brandon Fifield (So., 9-13)
UNL: Shawn Nagel (Jr., 12-11)
 141 MSU: Nick Trimble (Fr., 6-16)
UNL: Ridge Kiley (Sr., 12-7)
 149 MSU: Dan Osterman (Sr., 16-7)
UNL: No. 12 Jake Sueflohn (So., 17-3)
 157 MSU: Ryan Watts (So., 15-9)
UNL: No. 4 James Green (So., 15-2)
 165 MSU: Nick Proctor (So., 13-11)
UNL: Austin Wilson (R-Fr., 16-8) OR Tyler Koehn (Sr., 4-3)
 174 MSU: Jordan Wohlfert (Fr., 15-12)
UNL: No. 4 Robert Kokesh (So., 26-1)
 184 MSU: John Rizqallah (So., 21-6)
UNL: No. 8 Josh Ihnen (Sr., 18-3)
 197 MSU: Luke Jones (So., 16-10) OR Nick McDiarmid (So., 17-7)
UNL: Caleb Kolb (Jr., 9-14)
 Hwt. MSU: No. 7 Michael McClure (Jr., 25-2)
UNL: Spencer Johnson (So., 2-2)

SCOUTING THE HUSKERS
Nebraska is ranked No. 13 in the latest top-25 poll and is coming off a 33-9 loss at Penn State. The Huskers previously upset No. 5 Illinois, 18-15. Four ranked wrestlers lead the Huskers, including No. 12 Jake Sueflohn (149), No. 4 James Green (157), No. 4 Robert Kokesh (174), and No. 8 Josh Ithnen (197). Kokesh leads the Huskers in wins overall with 26. Michigan State leads the all-time series with Nebraska, 8-4. MSU fell to the Huskers at home last season, 27-28.

A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN GOPHERS
Minnesota checks in at No. 4 and lost by a tiebreaker to No. 3 Iowa last weekend, 16-15. The Golden Gophers only other loss was to Oklahoma State. Minnesota boasts a lineup that includes nine ranked wrestlers, including No. 2 Tony Nelson at heavyweight. Nelson is 20-1 on the season with his only loss coming to Dom Bradley of Missouri. MSU trails Minnesota all-time, 23-28. The two teams haven't met since 2010 when the Golden Gophers squeaked out a narrow 18-16 victory in East Lansing.

CHEZA LOST FOR THE SEASON
Senior David Cheza suffered a season-ending shoulder injury and will be out for the remainder of the season. Cheza has battled injuries to both shoulders throughout his career and received a sixth-year of eligibility at the beginning of the season. Cheza won 69 matches for the Spartans while wrestling in three different weight classes. He qualified for the NCAA Championships in 2010 at 149 pounds and in 2012 at 165 pounds.

MCCLURE VERSUS NELSON
No. 7 Michael McClure will face his highest ranked opponent of the season this weekend when he faces off against No. 2 Tony Nelson of Minnesota. McClure has six wins over ranked opponents, including a 5-2 decision over then-No. 6 Chad Hanke of Oregon State at the Reno Tournament of Champions.

BIG TEN OPPONENTS RANKED
Every Big Ten opponent on the MSU schedule has been ranked at one point this season, including nine teams in the top-25 this week. Following this weekend, the Spartans will face Michigan, Iowa State and Central Michigan. The Wolverines and Chippewas are both ranked while the Cyclones are receiving votes.

RIZQALLAH ON A ROLL
Sophomore John Rizqallah is in his first year in the starting lineup and is tied for the team lead in dual victories with 11 on the season and has won nine of his last 11 matches overall. Rizqallah, wrestling at 184 pounds, had won nine consecutive matches before falling to No. 1 Ed Ruth of Penn State. He is 21-6 overall this season and 11-2 in duals.

WILDMO GETS A SHOT
Redshirt freshman Roger Wildmo went 2-0 in duals last weekend filling in for Dan Osterman. Wildmo, a three-time state champion, is 11-1 on the season, including five falls. Last year he led MSU in wins and falls with 28 and 15, respectively.

TWO TOUGH LOSSES
The Spartans lost a narrow dual last weekend to No. 23 Northwestern, 18-15. MSU took four matches from the Wildcats and sophomore Nick McDiarmid took down No. 16 Alex Polizzi at 197 pounds, 3-2. Michigan State then lost a heartbreaker on the road to Ohio on Sunday, 22-16. The Spartans led 16-6 after the 157-pound match, but went on to drop the last four matches.

NCAA WEIGHT CLASS RANKINGS
The NCAA released the first of three coaches' panel rankings for the 2012-13 wrestling season on Thursday. The final rankings will be one of the tools used as part of the selection process to determine the qualifiers for the 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.

The following three Spartans are ranked in the coaches' panel:
149 pounds: No. 20 Dan Osterman
184 pounds: No. 18 John Rizqallah
285 pounds: No. 9 Michael McClure

MSU FALLS TO IOWA, OSTERMAN AND RIZQALLAH UPSET RANKED WRESTLERS
Michigan State wrestling fell at home to No. 4 Iowa, 27-12, on Sunday, Jan. 20. The Spartans picked up wins at 149 pounds, 184 pounds and heavyweight. Sophomore John Rizqallah upset No. 11 Ethen Lofthouse, 6-3, picking up his 10th dual victory of the season to lead all Spartans in dual wins on the season. Senior Dan Osterman used a 10-4 decision over No. 17 Michael Kelly at 149 pounds to put the Spartans on the board and McClure won by forfeit.

SPARTANS SIGN PAGDIALO, BRINGING CLASS TO FOUR
Michigan State wrestling head coach Tom Minkel announced on Tuesday, Jan. 15, the signing of Christian Pagdilao (Corona, Calif./Corona Santiago) to a National Letter of Intent, bringing the 2013-14 recruiting class to four student-athletes. Pagdilao will be joined by Javier Gasca (Kingsburg, Calif./Kingsburg), Josh Pennell (St. Johns, Mich./St. Johns), and Mitch Rogaliner (Temperance, Mich./Temperance Bedford) who each signed a NLI in November.

"This is an outstanding group of young men," Minkel said. "Not only are they exceptional athletes but they are all very good students. They are men of great character and were exactly what we were looking for as we head into the future."

JONES LEADS MSU IN BONUS POINTS
Sophomore Luke Jones is in his first season in the starting lineup for Michigan State at 197 pounds and he leads the team in bonus points. Jones in 16-10 on the season and has recorded bonus points in 11 matches. Jones has notched five falls and six major decisions this season.

YOUNG TALENT
The Spartans are relying on young talent to contribute in the starting lineup and have had either a freshman or sophomore starting in seven different weight classes this season. Nick Trimble, a freshman at 141 pounds and Jordan Wohlfert, a freshman at 174 pounds have each started this year for MSU, along with sophomores Brandon Fifield (133), Ryan Watts (157), Nick Proctor (165), John Rizqallah (184) and Luke Jones (197).

TOUGH TREK IN PENNSYLVANIA
Michigan State dropped duals to UNC and Clarion before falling to No. 1 Penn State at Rec Hall. The Spartans dropped a close dual to the Tar Heels, 23-21 and then fell to Clarion, 25-16. MSU lost five matches to wrestlers ranked inside the top-3 against the Nittany Lions.

McCLURE AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS
No. 7 Michael McClure is 25-2 this season and 6-1 against ranked opponents. He placed first at the Eastern Michigan Open, Michigan State Open and the Reno Tournament of Champions this season and he was named the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week on Nov. 13 after winning the MSU Open and again on Dec. 17 after winning the Reno Tournament of Champions. McClure's two losses have come at the hands of Big Ten opponents, No. 14 Connor Medbery and Jon Gingrich of Penn State.

MSU REBOUNDS WITH WINS OVER BUCKNELL AND LINDSEY WILSON
After falling to No. 21 Purdue, the Spartans came away with back-to-back wins over both Bucknell and Lindsey Wilson. MSU beat the Bison 28-11 in the first match of the doubleheader and won 28-12 over Lindsey Wilson. Michigan State dropped the first three matches of the dual against Bucknell, falling behind early 11-0. However, Dan Osterman was able to turn the tide for Michigan State with a fall over Adam Healey at 149 pounds in 0:49, leading to seven-straight victories for MSU.

SPARTANS SHAKING UP THE LINEUP
In 13 duals this season the Spartans have utilized 11 different starting lineups. Freshman Jordan Wohlfert (174), John Rizqallah (184) and Michael McClure (HWT) have been the only mainstays this season, starting in all 13 duals for Michigan State, the three are a combined 29-12 in this season in dual matches.

SPARTANS FINISH THIRD IN RENO
Michigan State wrestling took third place at the Reno Tournament of Champions, finishing with 107. 5 team points and also placed eight individual wrestlers in the event. Then-No. 11 Michael McClure led the Spartans with a first-place finish at heavyweight and went 5-0 in the tournament. Dan Osterman (149 pounds), Nick Proctor (165) and Ryan Watts (165) each placed second in their respective weight classes.

BIG TEN WRESTLER OF THE WEEK FOR SECOND TIME
Junior heavyweight Michael McClure was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week as announced by the conference office on Tuesday, Dec. 18, after taking first place at the Reno Tournament of Champions. McClure was also named wrestler of the week on Nov. 13 after taking first at the MSU Open. McClure defeated three wrestlers ranked inside the top-20 in Reno, including No. 6 Chad Hanke of Oregon State, No. 9 J.T. Felix of Boise State and No. 16 Odie Delaney of the Citadel.

TEN SPARTANS PLACE AT MSU OPEN
Michigan State wrestling hosted the annual MSU Open on Sunday, Nov. 11, at Jenison Field House with more than 29 schools from around the country competing in the event. The Spartans placed 10 wrestlers in the tournament and Michael McClure placed first in the open division at 285 pounds, while Ryan Watts placed second at 157.

EIGHTEEN PLACE AT EMU OPEN
The Spartans placed 18 wrestlers, including 16 top-five finishes in their first competition of the 2012-13 season at the Eastern Michigan Open. Hermilo Esquivel (125 pounds) and Chris Nash (285) each took first place in their respective weight classes in the freshman/sophomore division and Michael McClure (285) placed first in the open division.

REPLACING SENIOR LEADERSHIP
Michigan State lost four NCAA qualifiers from last season and six seniors that saw regular action in the starting lineup. The Spartans have just two seniors this season in David Cheza and Dan Osterman. Cheza will serve as the captain for the 2012-13 season.

NEXT UP
Following this weekend, the Spartans will stay home to host in-state rival Michigan on Sunday, Feb. 3 at 2 p.m.