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Michigan State Wrestling: Spartans take split over the weekend against Rutgers and Penn State

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MSU is now off for 13 days before facing Maryland on the road.

Big Ten Championship Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

The No. 21-ranked Michigan State wrestling team surprised many pundits on Friday night after an upset of No. 14 Rutgers, despite falling to No. 1 Penn State two days later.

It was quite the setback for Rutgers, which is off to the program’s best start in history. The Scarlet Knights (12-3) led for most of the match, but the Spartans (8-2) came away with a 20-17 victory.

A key turning point was when fifth-ranked John Poznanski of Rutgers fell to Michigan State redshirt junior Layne Malczewski. MSU redshirt senior Rayvon Foley scored a 1-0 decision against No. 21 Joseph Olivieri, and third-ranked Sebastian Rivera of the Scarlet Knights stayed undefeated after an 18-2 technical fall over MSU redshirt sophomore Jordan Hamdan.

Rutgers’ Greg Bulsak — ranked No. 6 in the country — lost by a 12-4 major decision against No. 15 Cameron Caffey. His comeback gave MSU a 20-14 lead, and eventually, the win.

“It’s taken a long time to get to this point,” Michigan State head coach Roger Chandler said following the win. “Our guys have learned how to compete as a unit in dual meets, and I get really excited about that.”

The excitement did not last long, however, as Michigan State was dominated by No. 1 Penn State on Sunday.

Caffey upset No. 2 Max Dean in the 197-pound bout, but it was not enough for MSU to overcome the top-seed Nittany Lions. Penn State took the 28-9 victory, and remains undefeated. The Nittany Lions are now 13-0 overall this season.

After wrestling four times in nine days, the Spartans are now in the middle of a two-week break. Michigan State will return to face Maryland on the road on Friday, Feb. 4 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The match will stream live on B1G+.