Wrestling doesn't get many home matches, and in this year's schedule, they only get one before a flurry in the last weeks of the year, taking on Gardner Webb in Alumni Arena tonight. UB will be broadcasting the match on ESPN3, so whether you're in town or just free, consider watching this evening - it's a much more exciting sport than maybe you think. We'll have a gamethread up once the time gets nearer.
Gardner Webb (2-2)
All-Time Series: UB leads 3-1
Last Meeting: UB lost 7-32; 2 November 2014
2015 Common Opponents: Appalachian State, Davidson
Key Matchup: (184) Joe Ariola vs. #27 Hunter Gamble
Gamble's numbers from last season don't look great, but he's a onetime national qualifier at 174 during his freshman year. This season he's 6-2 overall, including a 3-1 duals record that includes a major decision, a technical fall, and a fall, only blemished by loss in a one-point decision to UNC. If UB has a hope of making up 25 points in one year, it's unlikely the match is sealed before Ariola, and this could be a big swing match.
Key Matchup: (149) Colt Cotten vs. Ryan Mosley
Mosley is another former national qualifier and another grappler boasting a 3-1 duals record (7-3 overall) for the Bulldogs, and has totaled 49 wins over his first two seasons. Across him will be the always-exciting Colt "Major" Cotten for Buffalo. Gardner Webb is strongest at 133, 149, 184, and 285, so if UB can steal a decision at one of those weights, especially earlier from Cotten, it would change the whole tone of the match.
Key Matchup: (285) #26 Jake Gunning vs. Boyce Cornwell
I could just as easily go with Bryan Lantry vs Tyler Ziegler at 133 here, but in Cornwell Gardner Webb has a closer at the end of the lineup just like UB has found in Gunning. Jake is 5-1 in duals, 8-2 overall, while Cornwell is 4-0 and 7-2. Gunning is the Buffalo team leader in takedowns, with one more than Ariola and Tyler Rill, and he doesn't give up escapes easily. This should be a good one.
I am not John, so I have little to offer in terms of a general prediction, especially after what I thought was a winnable dual against EMU ended even more lopsided against the Bulls than last year. Looking through G-W's lineup and who each individual has beaten, however, I wouldn't be surprised to see UB pull together enough points to have a close one going into Ariola, Benjamin, and Gunning at the end.