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Spartans Host Eastern Michigan in Home Opener

John Rizqallah went 4-0 last weekend at the EMU Duals.

Nov. 20, 2013

Watch Live (Big Ten Digital Network) | Notes

EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State wrestling team will play host to Eastern Michigan in the 2013-14 home opener on Thursday, Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. in Jenison Field House.

The Spartans enter the dual with a 3-1 record after last weekend's competition at the Eastern Michigan Duals. MSU opened the day with a loss to sixth-ranked Oregon State, 29-9, but bounced back with wins over Utah Valley (21-18), Gardner-Webb (26-13) and Drexel (25-9).

Eastern Michigan went 4-0 at its home tournament with victories over Tiffin, Gardner-Webb, Drexel and Clarion.

The Spartans hold a 15-2 all-time series advantage over the Eagles, including wins in five of the last six years. Last season, MSU defeated EMU in Ypsilanti, 25-11.

"Eastern Michigan has a solid team this year," said MSU head coach Tom Minkel. "It will be fun and we're looking forward to it. We're going to need a solid performance from everybody in the lineup, and we're going to need everybody to be fundamentally sound. We are also going to need to win some close matches. For us, it's about our tasks to be really fundamental and really aggressive."

Although it's early in the season, Minkel believes last weekend went a long way in helping the team as it wrestled in four duals as opposed to an all-day, open tournament.

"Dual meets are so different from tournaments in that one guy is out there and everybody is watching him, which creates a lot more pressure because now you have to focus on your match, as well as the team," he said. "We have to be a little bit more cognizant of what we are doing, how it affects our team, and we have to put a little more pressure on their feet than we did. I think for the most part we wrestled fairly well."



Several Spartans performed well at the EMU Duals, including red-shirt freshman Garth Yenter, who went 4-0 at 133 pounds. Yenter will be starting in his first career dual against EMU.

"Garth has really stepped up," said Minkel. "I was definitely surprised at how well he wrestled (last weekend). He really got after it and he hustled. As a red-shirt freshman, it's easy to be intimidated by that environment and those schools, but Garth did an outstanding job."

Junior John Rizqallah also went 4-0 last weekend at 184 pounds.

"John has a really unique style and he works very hard," Minkel said. "We have to make sure that he is fundamentally sound, and that is against his nature because he has it in him to just kind of be wild and see what happens. As he has grown, as he has matured, he has gotten better and better. We expect big things from him this year."

Thursday's home opener will be streamed live for purchase on the Big Ten Digital Network, which is available at and

Michigan State vs. Eastern Michigan: Probable Starting Lineups
 125 MSU: Hermilo Esquivel (R-Fr., 1-2) vs.
EMU: Jared Germaine (Sr.-5) OR Shayne Wireman (Fr.)
 133 MSU: Garth Yenter (R-Fr., 6-2) vs.
EMU: Vincent Pizzuto (So.) OR Jake Byers (Jr.)
 141 MSU: Brian Gibbs (So., 3-6) vs.
EMU: Nicholas Barber (R-Fr.)
 149 MSU: Joe Johnson (So., 4-4) vs.
EMU: Matt VanCuren (Fr.) OR Mike Shaw (So.)
 157 MSU: No. 20 Ryan Watts (Jr., 4-2) vs.
EMU: Brandon Zeerip (Sr.-5)
 165 MSU: Robert Nash (Sr., 3-4) vs.
EMU: Jacob Davis (So.)
 174 MSU: Kevin Nash (Jr., 3-2) vs.
EMU: Mike Curby (Jr.)
 184 MSU: John Rizqallah (Jr., 7-1) vs.
EMU: No. 16 Phillip Joseph (Sr.-5)
 197 MSU: Nick McDiarmid (Jr., 4-1) vs.
EMU: No. 15 Nick Whitenburg (Sr.-5)
 Hwt. MSU: No. 12 Michael McClure (Sr.-5, 6-2) vs.
EMU: Khodor Hoballah (Sr.-5)

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