Clash of the Titans

No. 1 Penn State looks to put an end to traditional power Iowa's 72-match unbeaten streak when the two teams square off at Rec Hall Sunday.

When the three-time defending national champion Iowa Hawkeyes take their 72-match unbeaten streak into Rec Hall Sunday afternoon, a sold-out, White Out crowd will be awaiting them.

In past years, Penn State wrestling fans would attend the match to see the Hawkeyes' dominance in action. This year, however, fans will be there to watch the No. 1 team in the country: the Nittany Lions.

Penn State (13-0, 2-0) will host No. 8 Iowa (10-0-1, 3-0) Sunday at 2 p.m. in one of the most anticipated Nittany Lion regular season wrestling matches in recent history. Although Iowa's last road loss came in Happy Valley on Feb. 4, 2007, the Hawkeyes have dominated the PSU the past three seasons, including a 29-6 rout last year in Iowa City, a loss that still haunts redshirt junior Frank Molinaro.

“For me, I never really had a problem with Iowa until (we went there) and saw what their fans and attitude were like,” Molinaro told The Daily Collegian. “It's a huge rivalry and a huge deal beating them, there is a lot on the line.”

In order to reverse Iowa's recent string of success, Cael Sanderson's Nittany Lions feel they must impose their will on the Hawkeyes by not only beating them on the mat, but in their minds, as well.

“Before it was like everything was about Iowa,” redshirt sophomore Justin Ortega told The Collegian. “People were like, 'Oh man, we have to wrestle against Iowa.' Now people feel that way about Penn State. We want them to be afraid of us, and it's happening.”

The Hawkeyes are led by defending national 125-pound champion Matt McDonough. McDonough (15-1) enters the weekend ranked No. 2 in the nation. He will face Penn State's lone senior, Brian Pataky (7-2).

Other key matchups include the 133-pound dual between No. 5 Penn State sophomore Andrew Long (6-0) and No. 10 Iowa freshman Tony Ramos (12-3). The 157-pound battle will feature a pair of fantastic freshmen, as the Nittany Lions will send No. 2 David Taylor (25-0) against No. 14 Derek St. John (12-2). And in another freshmen clash, the 174-pound battle will see Penn State dispatch No. 2 Ed Ruth (23-1) against No. 13 Ethen Lofthouse (13-4).

In total, the match will feature six duals of ranked wrestlers.

The match will not be televised live. But FOS will be posting live updates from Rec Hall.


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