Despite a valiant effort by the No. 6 Nebraska Cornhuskers in front of a raucous crowd of 4,306 at the Devaney Center on Sunday afternoon, the Huskers fell 20-13 to the No. 3 Iowa Hawkeyes.
NU won four of the 10 matches as Chad Red Jr. (141), Tyler Berger (157) and David Jensen (285) took victories by decision while Mikey Labriola (174) earned a major decision, his sixth of the year.
“Small things caught up to us today,” Nebraska Head Coach Mark Manning said. “We have to have everyone clicking. We have some opportunities coming up in these next four duals and we’ll need to make those adjustments, because it all matters in March.”
The match was back-and-forth throughout the first eight duals, with each team taking four matches apiece. Trailing 13-12 heading into the final two bouts, the Hawkeyes took two bonus-point victories to finish the dual.
Today’s dual started with the 141-pound bout between NU’s #19 Chad Red Jr. and Iowa’s Vince Turk. Red Jr. grinded out his second consecutive victory and 14th of the season to put his team up 3-0 early. A late takedown with five seconds remaining in the third period secured the victory.
Nebraska’s Jordan Shearer (149) hung tough with #13 Pat Lugo throughout their match, but ultimately dropped an 8-4 decision.
#2 Tyler Berger, a senior from Prineville, Ore., found himself in a low scoring match today against #7 Kaleb Young of Iowa. The bout was tied 1-1 as the third period expired and the two went to a sudden victory period. It took Berger just 19 seconds to takedown Young and earn his 19th victory of the year (13-1 in duals).
“It always feels good getting a win over a tough opponent, especially when it’s your rival,” Berger said. “We still have a ways to go as a team but I’m excited to see where we are in a few weeks. We’re going to be a dangerous team come March.”
The Hawkeyes evened up the dual at six apiece when #2 Alex Marinelli outlasted NU’s #6 Isaiah White, 3-0, in the 165-pound bout. #9 Mikey Labriola quickly put the Huskers back on top with a 14-4 major decision over Keegan Shaw. Labriola had four third period takedowns to help him pull away from Shaw after a scoreless first period between the two.
At 184 pounds, #4 Taylor Venz dropped his first match of 2019 in a grind-it-out, low-scoring affair to #13 Cash Wilcke. Tied 2-2 heading into the third period, Wilcke went up 3-2 with an escape and finished the bout with a takedown in the final seconds.
Iowa took the 197-pound match as well, putting them up 12-10 in the team score. #5 Jacob Warner was able to slow down NU’s #11 Eric Schultz, who has been potent on the attack lately. Coming into the match, Schultz had scored 20 or more points in two of his past four bouts. This time, he fell in a 4-1 decision to Warner.
With three matches remaining in the dual, the Huskers needed a spark from somewhere. That’s just what #14 David Jensen (285) gave them. The junior from Mobridge, S.D., pulled off the best win of his career at Nebraska, accumulating 4:00 of riding time in a 3-0 upset of the undefeated #3 Sam Stoll of Iowa. The win was Jensen’s third of the year against a top-20 ranked opponent and his first career win over a top-five opponent.
“I just followed the game plan coming into the week, I wrestled hard and did what I do best,” Jensen said. “As long as I kept working I knew I could stay on top and finish the match.”
#2 Spencer Lee took an 18-4 major decision over NU’s #16 Zeke Moisey at 125 pounds to put the Hawkeyes in the lead at 16-13. Sophomore #3 Austin DeSanto defeated Huskers senior Brian Peska (133) in the final match of the day, 25-10. The Hawkeyes only gained four team points on the tech. fall win because of an unsportsmanlike conduct call on DeSanto.
With the loss, the Huskers drop to 10-4 (4-3 B1G) on the season and Iowa moves to 11-0 (6-0 B1G).