#1 vs. #2

No. 1 OSU Prepares for No. 2 Nebraska Oklahoma State's wrestling team hosts the University of Nebraska Saturday night inside Gallagher-Iba Arena at 7 p.m. The dual will feature the country's top two collegiate wrestling teams, according to the National Wrestling Coaches Association poll.

The Cowboys improved to 4-1 in conference and 14-1 overall with a 27-6 victory over the Iowa State Cyclones last weekend. The Huskers are 15-1 overall and 1-0 in the conference, but will wrestle ISU Feb. 5 before coming to Stillwater. OSU and Nebraska have met 47 times previously, with the Cowboys winning 44 of the matches. There has been one tie in the series, which came during the 1995-96 season at the National Duals.

On Nebraska Nebraksa returns six NCAA qualifiers, including All-American Jason Powell, from a team that placed 13th a year ago. The Huskers enter the dual with nine wrestlers ranked in the top 20 of their respective weight classes. Leading the way is Jason Powell at 125 pounds. The top-ranked senior from Midwest City, Okla., is currently 16-1 on the year. Head Coach Mark Manning returns for his fourth season at the helm of Husker wrestling. Manning has built up a 50-23 record in the three season at NU, including this years record.

The Marquee Matchups During the dual this Saturday, there will be a pair of top five matchups at 149 and 184 pounds. At 149 pounds, OSU's Zack Esposito enters the dual with a 24-1 record and a is ranked second, while Travis Schufelt is ranked third with a 23-1 record. Jake Rosholt and Travis Pascoe both enter the dual ranked third and fourth, respectively, at 184 pounds. Rosholt is currently 14-2 on the season, while Pascoe is yet to see defeat in 23 matches. Also, at 133 pounds is a top 10 matchup featuring fifth-ranked Johnny Thompson and ninth-ranked Matt Keller. Thompson is coming off an 8-3 upset over then second-ranked Zach Roberson to improve to 19-5 on the year. Keller is a redshirt-freshman from McDonald, Tenn., and is 23-7 on the year.

Lewis, Pendleton Record Victories at NWCA All-Star Match Oklahoma State's Tyrone Lewis and Chris Pendleton each recorded a pair of victories at the 38th annual NWCA All-Star match in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, at the University of Northern Iowa. Lewis, who is ranked second at 165 pounds, avenged a loss in last year's NCAA tournament to Edinboro's third-ranked Matt King. The El Reno, Okla., native scored the only takedown of the match in the first period, and held off to win 3-2. Top-ranked Pendleton squared off with Purdue's Ryan Lange at 174 pounds. The two traded escapes in the second and third period to send it into overtime. Lange went in deep on a shot but Pendleton countered to score the takedown, and lock the victory.

Esposito vs. Ranked Opponents Zack Esposito may be ranked second in the nation, but it hasn't come easy for the sophomore. The Three Bridges, N.J., native has defeated 10 consecutive ranked wrestlers to bring his total to 15 on the year. He will once again face a pair of ranked wrestlers this weekend. When the Cowboys face the Huskers Saturday, Esposito will face off with third-ranked Travis Schufelt. The two athletes have one loss each and will vie for the top spot in the conference tournament. Sunday, the Cowboys travel to Norman to battle Oklahoma. Esposito will face Jeff Ecklof, who is ranked in the top 15 at 149 pounds.

On the air Oklahoma State wrestling is carried live by Stillwater Radio KSPI 93.7 FM. J. Carl Guymon is the play-by-play voice of the Cowboys in 2003-04. Fans unable to pick up the over-the-air broadcast will be able to listen to the games via the Internet at www.okstate.com.

Last Time Out In one of the two top five matchups of the afternoon, Johnny Thompson recorded a pair of takedowns and a reversal en route to an 8-3 decision over Zach Roberson. After a scoreless first period, Thompson recorded the first points with a reversal in the second period. The Oklahoma City, Okla., native then added a takedown at the 34 second mark to extend his lead to 4-1. Roberson cut the lead to 4-3 with a reversal of his own in the third period, but Thompson then added another takedown to secure the victory, and knock off the second-ranked Roberson. In the second top five matchup, Zack Esposito and Trent Paulson battled at 149 pounds. Esposito scored five takedowns to Paulsons zero en route to a 14-5 major decision over the Cyclone freshman. Esposito only had a 2-1 lead after the first period, but built a 9-2 lead after two periods. The Three Bridges, N.J., native then reeled off a pair of takedowns to secure the major decision. The dual started at 157 pounds with Johny Hendricks facing off with Travis Paulson. Hendricks was the aggresser from the beginning, but couldn't record a takedown until the third period. The Edmond, Okla., native lifted Paulson over his shoulder, slamming him to the mat for two plus a pair of near fall points. He tallied three points off of a second-period ride out, an escape and a warning point to make the final 7-1. Tyrone Lewis avenged his loss in last year's conference tournament with a 7-3 decision over Nick Passolano, giving the Cowboys a 6-0 advantage. Chris Pendleton added a technical fall over Grant Turner to increase the OSU lead to 11-0. Jake Rosholt's decision over Kurt Backes gave the Cowboys the 14-0 lead. The Cyclones then got on the board after Trevor Smith used a second period ride out to secure a 4-2 decision over Rusty Blackmon. Will Gruenwald and Cody Stites added decisions for the Cowboys to extend the team lead to 20-3. The Cyclones added a decision at 141 pounds after Nate Gallick used a takedown with seconds remaining to defeat Ronnie Delk, 3-1, to make the score 20-6. The Cowboys return to action Saturday, Feb. 7 in Gallagher-Iba Arena with a 7 p.m. tilt against Nebraska.

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