Friday against Ohio State overshadowed by Penn State

David McCoy

Sometimes, a 13 point margin of victory just isn’t good enough.

That’s Minnesota wrestler Roger Kish’s point of view.

And why should it be, when Kish and his Gophers teammates know they could wrestle even better?

Coach J Robinson gave his team a “C’ for their performance seven days ago in the Gophers’ 24-11 win in their Big Ten opener against then-No. 16 Northwestern.

Even though Minnesota won, Robinson said he felt the team was looking ahead to Sunday’s matchup with then-No. 7 Iowa.

So when No. 1 Minnesota (14-0, 2-0 Big Ten) takes on unranked Ohio State (5-6, 0-1 Big Ten) tonight at 6 in Columbus, Ohio, Kish said the Gophers won’t be having any of that this time around.

“I’d say last week we had our heads set on Iowa and maybe looked past Northwestern a little bit, which we found out was a mistake,” Kish said. “And a few of us wrestled kind of flat and we lost a couple weight classes we could have won. But I think we kind of learned our lesson.”

Sunday’s meet at No. 9 Penn State (8-2, 2-0 Big Ten) is clearly the one requiring more preparation, and even though a win tonight over the struggling Buckeyes seems a near-guarantee, 133-pounder Mack Reiter said that isn’t the point.

Reiter recalled the fact that Minnesota was picked to lose to both Oklahoma State and Iowa so far this season but came out on top both times.

“We don’t want to be part of that where somebody’s going to sneak up on us,” Reiter said. “I think definitely we’re going to be ready to go this weekend.”

But 149-pounder Dustin Schlatter might not.

Robinson said Schlatter has had the flu the past few days and might take the night off to rest, especially given that Minnesota will likely have little trouble without him.

Whether Schlatter goes or not, Robinson still doesn’t share his wrestlers’ intensity about getting up for the Ohio State meet.

“You can’t keep a team up all the time, and when you do, you burn them out,” Robinson said. “So you kind of go into it with a more laid-back attitude, realizing that the big dual meet will be Sunday against Penn State.”

Because of the focus on the Nittany Lions, Travis Lang will wrestle at 125 and Mitch Kuhlman will wrestle at 197 on Sunday ” just as it was last weekend when Minnesota saved them for the tougher Iowa dual.

The meet against Penn State features a big matchup at 184 pounds between 13th-ranked Kish and top-ranked Eric Bradley, who beat Kish 3-2 last year at the Big Ten Championships.

But even with matchups like that on Sunday, Reiter said the Gophers don’t want to just coast through Columbus.

“We want to go out there and just dominate every match because that will show everybody in the Big Ten that we’re not just a one- or two-week team,” Reiter said. “We want every team to go home at night and look on the Internet and see the score that we put up against them and be scared to wrestle us.”