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Wrestling: Third top-five matchup in four dual meets for Ohio State

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Freshman Luke Pletcher is flipped by Penn State’s Jimmy Gulibon in OSU’s 32-12 loss to the Nittany Lions at the Schottenstein Center on Feb. 3, 2017. Credit: Nicholas McWilliams

Coming off a win against No. 13 Rutgers, the fourth-ranked Ohio State wrestling team is looking to finish the dual-meet season on a high note against No. 5 Nebraska.

After losses at No. 3 Iowa and at home to No. 2 Penn State, Ohio State got back on track with a 23-18 win over No. 13 Rutgers on Monday.

“In that match, you look to see how guys respond to a tough loss two nights earlier,” OSU coach Tom Ryan said. “The dual meet was about two matches: 141 was a big matchup, and 184 … and we got one, and we lost one.”

Ryan said that the big matchups against Nebraska will be No. 10 Myles Martin against No. 4 T.J Dudley at 184 pounds and No. 4 Kollin Moore against No. 6 Aaron Studebaker at 197 pounds.

Martin has faced a top five opponent in two of the past three weeks, and Dudley will make that three out of four. Martin lost against No. 5 Sammy Brooks (Iowa) on Jan. 27 and No. 2 Bo Nickal on Feb. 3.

“(Studebaker’s) a really tough guy, he always gives a real good fight to everyone,” Moore said. “So I’m just going to have to stay focused the entire match and be ready for anything.”

No. 5 149-pounder Micah Jordan got back on track with a win against No. 14 Ken Theobold of Rutgers, and this week at Nebraska marks the first time since Jan. 22 against Maryland that he will face an unranked opponent.

“I try to prepare the same for every matchup but there is nerves going into the matchup, like if you have the No. 1 guy, there’s some nerves, definitely,” Micah Jordan said. “But I try to train the same no matter who I have.”

Nebraska boasts wrestlers ranked in the top 10 at six different weight classes, and 125, 133, 157 and 184 pounds all feature a Cornhusker ranked in the top five.

“Both of these duals, you’re going to need to win a minimum of five,” Ryan said. “Kyle (Snyder) will be wrestling against Nebraska, but he will not be wrestling against Minnesota.”

Snyder will be traveling to Iran to participate in the Freestyle World Cup, representing the US. As heavyweight tends to be penciled in as a win when he is in the lineup, Minnesota might prove to be a tough matchup on Monday.

Last week, the Buckeyes were without starters at 125 pounds in redshirt freshman Jose Rodriguez, redshirt sophomore Jake Ryan at 157 pounds and redshirt junior Bo Jordan at 174 pounds. Ryan confirmed that both Rodriguez and Ryan will be out for the Friday matchup against Nebraska, while Bo Jordan is questionable. Ryan will be replaced by Anthony DeCarlo, who was also out against Rutgers.

The Buckeyes are favorites to win five matchups if Bo Jordan is in the lineup, and at 165, both teams will send out an unranked wrestler. OSU redshirt sophomore Cody Burcher picked up his 15th win of the year against Rutgers, and could be the difference maker if he picks up a win.

The dual gets under way at 8 p.m. on Friday in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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