Penn State Wrestling: Matchups, How to watch, and Prediction for Nittany Lions vs Nebraska dual meet

Penn State Wrestling
Greg Kerkvliet in action for Penn State Wrestling during the 2023 season.

No. 1 Penn State Wrestling is back in the cozy confines of Rec Hall to host their final big test of the regular season against Nebraska.

Even though the Nittany Lions have traveled to both Ann Arbor and Iowa City, this home dual against the Cornhuskers may represent their toughest challenge to date. But then again when you look at the well oiled machine that is the Penn State Wrestling team, the definition of the word “challenge” changes slightly.

And just as the Penn State faithful saw in the Rutgers dual meet in the Bryce Jordan Center, I’m guessing there may be a backup or two in the starting lineup.

But before we look at the possible starting lineup and predictions, let’s take a look at how you can tune into Sunday’s action.

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How to watch Penn State Wrestling vs. Nebraska

<< The Best Way to Watch PSU Wrestling vs. Nebraska is By Signing up For a FREE Trial of FuboTV >>

Date: Sunday, February 18th

Time: 4:00 p.m. EST

Where: Rec Hall (University Park)

TV: B1G

How to Watch Online: FuboTV (FREE Trial)

Listen: Free via Lionvision at GoPSUsports.com

Now let’s turn to the potential matchups.

Potential matchups Penn State vs. Nebraska Matchups

No. 1 Penn State (10-0) vs. No. 4 Nebraska (11-1)

125 – No. 6 Braeden Davis (PSU) vs No. 12 Caleb Smith (NEB)

133 – No. 11 Aaron Nagao (PSU) vs No. 17 Jacob Van Dee (NEB)

141 – No. 1 Beau Bartlett (PSU) vs No. 7 Brock Hardy (NEB)

149 – No. 10 Tyler Kasak or David Evans (PSU) vs No. 1 Ridge Lovett (NEB)

157 – No. 1 Levi Haines (PSU) vs No. 7 Peyton Robb (NEB)

165 – No. 6 Mitchell Mesenbrink (PSU) vs No. 15 Antrell Taylor (NEB)

174 – No. 1 Carter Starocci or Terrell Barraclough (PSU) vs No. 33 Bubba Wilson (NEB)

184 – No. 6 Bernie Truax (PSU) vs No. 3 Lenny Pinto (NEB)

197 – No. 1 Aaron Brooks or Lucas Cochran (PSU) vs No. 13 Silas Allred (NEB)

285 – No. 1 Greg Kerkvliet or Lucas Cochran (PSU) vs Nash Hutmacher or Harley Andrews (NEB)

Prediction

Right out of the gate I have the first three matches of this dual circled as “Matches of Interest”. And I have a question for each one of them.

125 – Will Braeden Davis be more aggressive and open up his offense more?

Since dusting Maryland’s Tommy Capul 15-0 back on January 28th, Davis has appeared to be very tentative on the mat. And the guy who took the 125 group by storm early in the year will have a good test in No. 12 Caleb Smith.

133 – Can Aaron Nagao control the pace of the match and finish his shots against a competitive guy?

Upon first glance, Nebraska’s Jacob Van Dee doesn’t look like he’s on the same level as Ryan Crookham, Dylan Shawver, and Nic Bouzakis. However, the redshirt freshman did just hand No. 5 Dylan Ragusin his first loss of the season. The main factor I see in this match is that Van Dee doesn’t typically open up a ton with his offense. Which should play more into Nagao’s strengths.

141 – Will Penn State’s most improved wrestler keep his foot on the gas against a formidable opponent?

Brock Hardy and Beau Bartlett locked horns in last year’s Big Ten Championships. And the outcome wasn’t really that close as Hardy rolled with a 7-3 decision. But as everyone knows, Bartlett is vastly improved from last year and it’s like a light switch clicked “on” at some point in the 2023 NCAA Championships. The main thing I want to see from Beau is whether or not he will take command from the get go (See: Woods, Real match) or if he will go into full on “don’t lose” mode (See: Hermes, Max match).

The other two matches I have my eye on are Levi Haines/Peyton Robb and Bernie Truax/Lenny Pinto.

As a true freshman, Levi Haines narrowly edged out Peyton Robb in the finals the Big Ten Championships and then again in the 2023 NCAA Championships. However Levi is currently wrestling at an insane level. So the main thing I’m looking for in this match is to see if Peyton Robb can flip a switch when he needs it.

For obvious reasons Robb is not wrestling at the same level that Cornhuskers fans are accustomed to. But he’s still very, very good.

As much as I would like to predict a win for Bernie at 197, I just don’t see it against Lenny Pinto.

Pinto split a two match series against Oklahoma State’s No. 2 ranked Dustin Plott (11-7 L & 12-10 W) in the 2023 CKLV’s. And he wrestled Northern Iowa’s No. 1 ranked Parker Keckeisen (8-4 L) fairly close in the same tournament. However Lenny dropped his only match in the Big Ten dual season against No. 6 Isaiah Salazar (4-1 L).

Pinto gets to his offense quick, and this will come down to how well Traux will be able to defend and counter.

125 – No. 6 Braeden Davis (PSU) dec. over No. 12 Caleb Smith (NEB) 7-3

133 – No. 11 Aaron Nagao (PSU) dec. over No. 17 Jacob Van Dee (NEB) 10-4

141 – No. 1 Beau Bartlett (PSU) dec. over No. 7 Brock Hardy (NEB) 4-1

149 – No. 1 Ridge Lovett (NEB) major dec. over David Evans (PSU) 10-2

157 – No. 1 Levi Haines (PSU) dec. over No. 7 Peyton Robb (NEB) 10-5

165 – No. 6 Mitchell Mesenbrink (PSU) major dec. over No. 15 Antrell Taylor (NEB) 14-5

174 – No. 1 Carter Starocci (PSU) major dec. over No. 33 Bubba Wilson (NEB) 14-3

184 – No. 3 Lenny Pinto (NEB) dec. over No. 6 Bernie Truax (PSU) 7-4

197 – No. 1 Aaron Brooks (PSU) major dec. over No. 13 Silas Allred (NEB) 10-1

285 – No. 1 Greg Kerkvliet (PSU) tech. fall over Nash Hutmacher (NEB) 19-4

Penn State 29 Nebraska 7

MORE: Beau Bartlett Brings Home More Hardware

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Chris Snyder
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Chris Snyder

Expertise: College Wrestling, College Football, Lays Chips Education: Penn State University Location: State College, PA Even though he had no prior journalism experience, Chris has now covered Penn State Wrestling and Penn State Football for the past three years, including as the Penn State Wrestling Beat Writer for VictoryBellRings.com, part of the FanSided network. And it's clear he also likes constant torture as he's been a PSU Basketball fan for way too long. Several years back, Chris made the seamless transition from PGA Professional to computer programmer and thoroughly enjoys following and writing about all things related to Penn State sports during his spare time.