After an opening weekend that saw head coach John Stutzman's squad go undefeated at the Terrapin Duals with a victory over host Maryland, the wrestling team will travel to Albany this weekend looking to keep their perfect record intact. The Bulls will head to the Northeast Duals for the third season in a row and will face a trio of opponents on Saturday. The Northeast Duals is labeled as "the toughest wrestling east of the Mississippi" and for good reason: The field of teams will feature a multitude of All-Americans and several defending national champions.
Springfield College (0-0)
All-Time Series: UB leads 1-0
Last Meeting: UB won 25-13; 1995-1996 season
2015 Common Opponents: None
Matchup to Watch: #31 Jake Gunning (UB) vs. Jake Benedict (SC)
Springfield is only a Division III program, but they have quite the impressive history with over 900 wins as a program, a feat only achieved by Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Oregon State. They have a youth laden roster with 25 freshmen and sophomores, but they shouldn't be taken lightly. They finished third at the Ithaca Invitational as sophomore heavyweight Jake Benedict took home an individual championship. He looks to be their strongest grappler and Jake Gunning, who jumped into wrestlingreport.com's national rankings, will be a strong end to UB's dual. This should be a fairly easy win for UB.
#20 West Virginia (3-0, 0-0 Big XII)
All-Time Series: West Virginia leads 2-0
Last Meeting: WVU win 26-6; 2001-2002 season
2015 Common Opponents: Lock Haven
Matchups to Watch: Kyle Akins (UB) vs. #3 Zeke Moisey (WVU); James Benjamin (UB) vs. #8 Jake Smith (WVU)
While taking down a B1G foe in Maryland opening weekend was impressive, an even bigger feat for the young squad would be taking down their first ranked opponent since the 2009-2010 season. West Virginia has a solid roster from top to bottom with national runner-up and current #3 at 125 Zeke Moisey leading the charge. In addition to Moisey, WVU has ranked grapplers at 157, 184, and 197. The key to a UB victory will be another solid, grind-it-out style much like we saw against Maryland; only this time UB will need to pull a few upsets in the process. Kyle Akins was a highly regarded recruit out of high school and is currently 2-0 on the season, but facing the reigning national runner-up in #3 Zeke Moisey will be a tough test.
James Benjamin will need to continue his early season momentum and look for an upset on #8 Jake Smith. Benjamin will need to use his unique style of wrestling to his advantage, but keep an eye out for a possible sleeper upset here. Consistency throughout the lineup is key for Buffalo, and that doesn't just mean victories. Even in losses the Bulls will need to be strategic and make sure to not give WVU any opportunities for bonus points.
Lock Haven (0-0, 0-0 EWL)
All-Time Series: Lock Haven leads 6-4
Last Meeting: Lock Haven win 17-16; 2011-2012 season
2015 Common Opponents: Clarion, West Virginia
Matchup to Watch: Jason Estevez (UB) vs. Dan Neff (LHU)
UB's final opponent on Saturday will be a school that Coach Stutzman is quite familiar with in the Lock Haven Bald Eagles. Lock Haven competes in the EWL, the same league as Stuzman's former team, Bloomsburg. Lock Haven is a consistent and well-coached program with solid guys from top to bottom and will match up well with UB. The key matchup will be Jason Estevez taking on #12 Dan Neff, Lock Haven's lone ranked wrestler inside the top 15. Neff is a former All-American, placing 8th at 149 pounds and moved back down to 141 pounds for his senior season. Estevez battled hard with Maryland's Alfred Bannister, who is ranked similarly to Neff, and I would expect Estevez to look for an upset here. Lock Haven will be a tough matchup the whole way for UB, but I think Stutzman will get the best of his old foe and UB will finish the weekend 2-1.