No. 8 Boise State Heads to No. 4 Oklahoma State

BOISE, Idaho - The No. 8 ranked Boise State wrestling team will close out its 2010-11 dual schedule with its biggest test of the season, Friday (Feb. 11), as the Broncos are set to travel to Stillwater, Okla. for a showdown with No. 4 Oklahoma State at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Boise State (10-2-1 overall, 5-0-1 Pac-10 Conference) will square off against the Cowboys (12-2-1) at 7 p.m. (CST). Live stats and play-by-play will be available at www.okstate.com. Live video is also available by subscription through the Oklahoma State athletics website.

Friday's dual will mark the fifth meeting between the two wrestling programs, but the Broncos will be looking for their first ever win over the Cowboys. Oklahoma State is 4-0-0 in the series with the last meeting resulting in a 38-0 win over Boise State on Nov. 14, 2004.

The 2011 edition of the series will be the closest match-up of the two programs to date however, as eight of 10 matches are expected to feature two ranked wrestlers. In total, nine of 10 matches are projected to have at least one nationally ranked wrestler, making Friday's dual a good measuring stick for both teams as they prepare for runs at a NCAA team title.

Last time out...

The Broncos travel to Stillwater, Okla. riding a six dual winning streak following another pair of wins last week to close out their 2010-11 home schedule. Boise State wrapped up Pac-10 competition with a 34-9 win over Cal State Bakersfield on Wednesday (Feb. 2) before topping Utah Valley, 32-6, in the home finale on Friday (Feb. 4).

Against CSUB, the Broncos raced out to a big lead in the dual winning three of the first four matches by fall to garner a 22-0 lead over the Roadrunners. Andrew Hochstrasser (133 pounds), Levi Jones (141) and Adam Hall (157) all recorded pins to help Boise State conclude its third consecutive season without a conference loss (20-0-1).

On Friday the Broncos bid farewell to their eight seniors with a dominating performance against UVU as part of the 2011 Beauty and the Beast event. Boise State won eight of 10 matches, including two by forfeit, to race to a 32-6 win. Kirk Smith (184) and Hochstrasser each won their matches by major decision to help the Broncos earn the decisive victory.

National Rankings...

Following their pair of wins last week Boise State moved up one spot in the NWCA/USA Today Coaches' Poll to No. 8 to remain in the top 10 for the 13th consecutive poll. The Broncos reached as high as No. 2 in the coaches' poll and never fell lower than No. 10 this season.

Boise State also remained static at No. 2 in the intermatwrestle.com tournament power rankings, which project a team's finish at the NCAA championships based on individual wrestler's rankings. The Broncos are ranked second with 79.0 points, trailing only Cornell (87.0 points). This marks the second consecutive week, and eighth overall, that Boise State has been ranked No. 2 by InterMat.

The Broncos retain their No. 2 team ranking thanks to eight wrestlers that are currently ranked individually for their respective weight class, including four with top two rankings. Smith leads the way for Boise State once again as he is the nation's No. 1 ranked 184-pounder for the sixth consecutive week (11th overall). Smith is joined at the top of the individual rankings by Hochstrasser, Hall and Jason Chamberlain (149) who are all ranked No. 2 nationally this week.

Rounding out the group of Broncos currently ranked individually is Jake Swartz, Alan Bartelli, Levi Jones and Matt Casperson. Swartz enters this weekend ranked No. 15 at 174 pounds, while Bartelli is No. 16 at 125. Jones, meanwhile, is the No. 18 ranked 141-pounder and Casperson is No. 20 at 197.  

Looking at the Cowboys...

Oklahoma State heads into the home stretch of its dual schedule with a 12-2-1 overall record and a No. 4 ranking in the Feb. 8 coaches' poll. The Cowboys top five dual ranking comes thanks to a 7-2-1 record against ranked opponents, including a 17-16 win over then No. 3 Minnesota. Oklahoma State's only losses on the season came against No. 12 Virginia Tech, 18-16, and No. 13 Missouri, 21-19.

The Cowboys also enter this week ranked No. 5 nationally by InterMat with 61.5 total team points. Oklahoma State has nine wrestlers ranked individually by InterMat including five that are currently ranked in the top 10 for their respective weight class. The Cowboys are led by Jordan Oliver, who has been the No. 1 ranked 133-pound wrestler in the country since Nov. 23.

Oliver is joined in the top 10 by Clayton Foster, Jamal Parks, Jon Morrison and Chris Perry. Foster is currently ranked No. 3 at 197 pounds, while Parks is No. 7 at 149, Morrison is No. 8 at 125 and Perry is No. 10 at 184.

Rounding out the group of Oklahoma State wrestlers ranked in the top 20 is Dallas Bailey, Mike Benefiel, Neil Erisman and Josh Kindig. Bailey enters this week ranked No. 12 at 165 pounds, while Benefiel is No. 14 at 174, Erisman is No. 16 at 157 and Kindig is No. 17 at 141.

Hochstrasser-Oliver Meet Again...

Hochstrasser and Oliver will provide the feature match in Friday night's dual as the nation's top two 133-pound wrestlers will face off in a rematch of the NWCA All-Star Classic on Nov. 21. Oliver got the best of Hochstrasser, 8-7, in the first ever meeting between the two wrestlers. Because the match was an exhibition it did not count on their official records, however. On Friday Hochstrasser will look to avenge the loss, in which five of his seven points came off of escapes.

Solid against top opponents...

Boise State will look to build upon its success against ranked opponents this season as the Broncos enter this week with a 5-2-1 record against top 25 teams. Friday will be just the second match-up against a top 10 opponent though. Boise State fell to No. 5 Minnesota, 18-17, at the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals on Jan. 8. The Broncos only other loss of the season also came at the National Duals in a 21-12 loss to No. 13 Missouri.

The century mark...

The magic number for Boise State this season seems to be 100, as several Broncos have either reach or closed in on 100 wins for their careers this year. Hall and Smith have both already reached the century mark, while Hochstrasser and head coach Greg Randall are both closing in on the milestone. Hall currently boasts a 113-19 career record, while Smith is 102-10 at Boise State.

Hochstrasser has moved within striking distance of 100 wins as well as he now currently sits at 92-12 for his career. Hochstrasser will have the chance to reach the century mark at the NCAA tournament.

Randall will have the opportunity to move within one win of 100 for his career this Friday as he is currently 98-31-1 in nine seasons leading Boise State. Win or lose at Oklahoma State, Randall will have to wait until next season to reach his 100th win however, as the Broncos will conclude this dual schedule against the Cowboys.

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