Coming off of a dominating 30-6 victory over Gardner-Webb on Friday the Bulls will have a quick turn around as they hit the road today to take on nationally ranked Kent State in their second MAC dual of the season. Although Kent State doesn't have their wrestling matches broadcasted on ESPN 3 like UB does it does seem the Golden Flashes will have some in-house video that will be available.
#20 Kent State (4-1)
All-Time Series: Kent State leads 24-7
Last Meeting: UB lost 30-10, 6 December 2014
2015 Common Opponents: The MAC
Key Matchup: (125) Kyle Akins vs. Del Vinas
I preached building momentum in the leadup to Friday's home opener against Gardner-Webb and it all starts with Kyle Akins. Akins came out against GW and posted a dominant 9-0 decision to give UB momentum early in the meet. Against a nationally ranked opponent UB will need to build momentum and again, it starts with Akins. Last season, Max Soria downed Vinas in a 12-2 major decision victory and if Akins is able echo Soria's performance from last season that would go a long way. Vinas currently sits at 5-5 on the season and is 2-1 in dual action while Akins is 8-3 overall and 4-3 in dual action.
Key Matchup: (149) "Major" Colt Cotten vs. #13 Mike DePalma
If UB is going to pull the upset on Kent, that means several individuals will need to upset ranked opponents and one guy that I know will be hungry for a win is Colt Cotten. Coming off of his second straight loss in an overtime bout against Gardner-Webb Cotten will take on #13 Mike DePalma who is boasting a 13-2 record on the season and is a two-time national qualifier. Cotten is no slouch himself and wrestles with a trademark reckless abandon that can give him highlight reel wins and DePalma will be on upset alert going against the man we call 'Major'.
Key Matchup: (184) Joe Ariola vs. #25 Cole Baxter
Ariola is coming off of a big upset victory over #27 Hunter Gamble of Gardner-Webb in a 11-3 major decision and he will look to avenge a loss to Baxter from a year a go when Baxter pinned Ariola after he caught Ariola out of position last season. This season, however, Ariola is much improved and has proven to be a takedown machine and will look to get the upper hand with his trademark double leg takedowns.
This will likely be an excellent matchup to watch especially with the momentum and confidence that UB has built after demolishing Gardner-Webb. It is a quick turnaround for UB and fatigue may be an issue, but Kent hasn't wrestled in a dual in nearly a month so there is some rust there for them. If UB were to upset Kent it would be their first upset of a nationally ranked opponent since they beat Nebraska a few years back.