Husker Comeback Falls Short Against Buckeyes

By: COURTESY: NU Media Relations
By: COURTESY: NU Media Relations

Stillwater, Okla.- A string of four consecutive victories against the No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes wasn’t enough to pull the No. 8 Nebraska wrestling team out of an 18-0 hole in the second round of the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals in Stillwater, Okla., falling 21-18 on Sunday afternoon.

The Huskers, who defeated Ohio State earlier in the season, dropped to 14-4 on the year, while Ohio State improved to 13-3 and will take on No. 1 Oklahoma State in the regional final tonight.

Trailing by 18 points after dropping the first four matches of the dual, true freshman James Green (157) began a furious Husker rally with his 5-3 decision over No. 20 Josh Demas (OSU). Green recorded a takedown in each of the first two periods and only allowed three escape points in the victory.

With the win, seventh-ranked Green moved into a tie for No. 10 on the all-time single season victories list for a freshman in school history with Justin Ruiz, who also recorded 27 wins in 2001-02. Green is now 27-4 on the year and has defeated five nationally ranked opponents.

Redshirt freshman Robert Kokesh (165) gave the Huskers two consecutive victories after taking down Derek Garcia (OSU) by decision, 7-2. No. 6 Kokesh fell behind 2-0 after surrendering an early takedown, but was dominant from that point on, recording two takedowns of his own and shutting Garcia out.

Tyler Koehn cut the Buckeye lead in half, 18-9, in dramatic fashion by upsetting No. 7 Nick Heflin (OSU) by decision, 3-1. No. 20 Koehn and Heflin entered the final period tied at 1-1 after trading escape points in the first two periods. The Pittsburg, Kan., native was able to record a takedown with just 25 seconds remaining in the match to secure his third victory over a ranked opponent this season.

No. 8 Josh Ihnen (184) pulled the Huskers within striking distance of OSU, shutting out No. 11 Cody Magrum (OSU), 5-0. The junior took down Magrum just over 50 seconds into the first period and also gained a stalling point on Magrum to earn a 3-0 advantage and cruised to the victory.

The Huskers string of four consecutive victories was broken when No. 20 Andrew Campolattano (OSU) defeated redshirt freshman Spencer Johnson (197), who was wrestling in the second varsity dual of his career. Johnson and Campolattano entered the third period tied at 2-2, before the Buckeye wrestler was able to earn a reversal and pull ahead 4-2 and held on for the win after a stalling point was awarded to Johnson. The loss put the dual out of reach for the Huskers, who now trailed by nine points at 21-12.

The Huskers last victory came from senior Tucker Lane, who record NU’s only bonus-point victory of the day with his pin against Peter Capone (OSU) in 2:02. With the victory, Lane now sits one victory away from becoming the 20th member the 100-win club at Nebraska.

Ohio State opened the dual with three bonus-point victories in the first four duals. No. 16 Johnni Dijulius (OSU) defeated NU’s Shawn Nagal (125) by technical fall, 20-5, before No. 3 Logan Stieber (OSU) was victorious against No. 18 Ridge Kiley (NU), 16-3. No. 9 Jake Sueflohn (141) wasn’t able to overcome an early 4-0 deficit and fell to No. 5 Hunter Stieber (OSU), while Brandon Wilbourn was pinned by No. 15 Cam Tessari (OSU).

The Huskers return to the mat for their last regular-season dual against the Northern Iowa Panthers on Sunday, Feb. 19, at the NU Coliseum. The start time for next Sunday’s dual will be announced on Monday.

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