After avenging its only loss of last season by defeating Michigan 20-19 at the Sports Pavilion on Friday night, No. 1 Minnesota will head east for its first road dual of the Big Ten season, an 11 a.m. CT dual on Sunday against Big Ten newcomer, No. 24 Rutgers. The Gophers bring a perfect 7-0 record, which includes a 3-0 start in Big Ten competition, to Piscataway. The Scarlet Knights, after setting a school record by beginning their season 9-0, have lost their first two Big Ten duals, dropping their overall mark to 9-2.
Sunday will be the first-ever meeting between the Gophers and the Scarlet Knights. The match will conclude a trio of duals to begin Rutgers’ inaugural Big Ten season in which the team has faced a Big Ten opponent for the first time in its history, having already taken on Iowa (a 27-9 loss) on Jan. 3 and then Illinois (a 24-9 loss) on Friday night. The dual also marks the second time this season the Gophers have wrestled an opponent for the first time ever. Minnesota defeated Grand Canyon 36-8 on Nov. 20 at the Sports Pavilion.
In running its record to 7-0 this season, Minnesota has now won 26 of its last 27 duals dating back two years to January, 2013. The Gophers have also won 14 straight duals heading into Sunday’s meet, the team’s longest dual-match winning streak since the 2007 National Championships team won 20 straight.
Until recently, Rutgers also sported an undefeated record. The Scarlet Knights opened the season by sandwiching a victory over Hofstra between a pair of quad sweeps – the Rutgers Dual, during which the hosts defeated Centenary (N.J.), Delaware Valley and Stevens Tech, and the Asics/Journeymen Northeast Duals, where RU defeated Oklahoma, West Virginia and Buffalo – before dropping their first two conference matches.
Though the two have never wrestled head-to-head, Minnesota and Rutgers both competed in the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas earlier this season. The Gophers brought home the team title and a pair of individual titles (No. 1 Chris Dardanes at 133, No.1 Dylan Ness at 157) from the tournament, while the Scarlet Knights placed 11th in the desert, with their best finishes coming from No. 17 Anthony Perrotti (157), who placed third, and No. 7 Anthony Ashnault (141), who placed fourth.
Looking at the probable starters for Sunday’s meet, it’s likely there will be two ranked-versus-ranked matches on the card. At 157, Ness will put his 20-0 record on the line when he takes on Perrotti in a matchup between a pair of All-Americans from last year – Ness finished second at 157, while Perrotti finished eighth to become Rutgers’ first All-American since 2002. At 285, No. 13 Michael Kroells will take on No. 9 Billy Smith.
In addition to those matches, the bout between No. 1 Scott Schiller and Andrew Campolattano at 197 has a bit of history. In the 2012-13, while Campolattano was wrestling for Ohio State and ranked No. 9, then-No. 14 Schiller defeated him 5-3 in Columbus. Outside of that match, every bout in Sunday’s dual will be the first-ever collegiate matchup between the two competing wrestlers.
The dual will be available to stream live on BTN Plus beginning at 11 a.m. CT. BTN Plus requires a user subscription to stream live events. Live updates from throughout the dual will be provided on the Gopher Wrestling Twitter feed. Following the conclusion of the event, a full recap will be available on GopherSports.com.