Kent State wrestling to take on Buffalo Bulls Feb. 6

Alex Atkinson

Matching up against Buffalo could pose a problem for the Kent State wrestlers as they travel to face the Bulls this Sunday at 1 p.m.

Freshman Tyler Small, ranked No. 32 at 133 pounds by, will face Buffalo’s No. 27 junior Kevin Smith.

No. 31 junior Marcel Clopton takes on Buffalo’s No. 15 Desi Green at 149 pounds.

Sophomore Casey Newburg matches up against Buffalo senior Jimmy Hamel, the Mid-American Conference’s No. 33 in the 184-weight class.

“I think we have the better wrestlers, but we don’t match up with them the best,” said Jim Andrassy, Kent State wrestling coach.

Small defeated Smith 15-8 when the two met Nov. 20 at the Body Bar Invitational, but both Andrassy and Small said they think this rematch will be closer.

“(Small) caught him in a few big moves, and I’m not sure if he’s going to be able to get those again, so that should be a tough match,” Andrassy said.

Small said the earlier matchup gives him confidence for this rematch.

“Usually when you wrestle someone more than once it gets closer each match,” Small said. “You just have to go out there like you’ve wrestled him before. I’ve already beaten him before, so you just have to keep going after and keep your offense up.”

For the 149-match, Clopton said he plans to use his athleticism and endurance against Green.

“I want to edge it out with him,” Clopton said. “I want to push the hand fighting pace and take a lot of shots to tire him out so when I finally do get a good shot, he’ll be tired out and it’ll lead to a takedown.”

Andrassy said he believes the 184-match between Newburg and Hamel may be the most important for the Flashes.

“I think we’re going to be the number one seed in the MAC tournament if we win at 184,” Andrassy said. “It’s real important for (Newburg) to go out and wrestle his way. It’s going to go into overtime—mark that down—it’s going to be an overtime match just because of how they both wrestle, and it’s going to be the guy who goes out and takes a chance and makes something happen.”

Newburg said he plans to make this happen by being very aggressive.

“I know he’s defensive, so I think I’m going to have to work pretty hard to score offensive takedowns,” Newburg said. “I’m going to have to work a little harder this match.”

The Flashes have escaped close losses in conference play the past two seasons. Andrassy said he hopes the team stays focused and does not allow Buffalo to make this match close.

“It seems like every year we have a letdown,” he said. “We’ve been able to squeak through the last couple letdowns.

“Last year was Ohio, two years ago it was against Eastern Michigan. Why not Buffalo? We just need to need to make sure we’re ready.”

Andrassy’s solution?

“Go in there, kick their butts and come home as quick as we can. That’s our game plan,” he said.

Contact Alex Atkinson at [email protected].