The No. 6 Nebraska Cornhuskers rebounded from Sunday’s defeat against Iowa with a come-from-behind 21-18 win over seventh-ranked Minnesota.
The Gophers went up 14-0 early after a pin, tech. fall and decision in the first three matches, but the Huskers won the next six bouts to go up 21-14 to seal the win. Jordan Shearer (149) started the flurry of Husker victories with his best win of the year, a 10-2 major decision over All-American #19 Tommy Thorn of Minnesota.
The dual ended with a major decision victory at the heavyweight spot for Minnesota to cut the deficit to 21-18, but it was too little, too late as NU had given itself enough of a cushion to secure the victory.
“We just kept going and the energy stayed high,” Huskers 165-pounder Isaiah White said. “(Jordan) Shearer came in and started us off, (Tyler) Berger pulled out a win, Mikey (Labriola) came up big for us. We had the momentum and just kept it rolling. This is a good win for us.”
The dual started with a top-20 match at 125 pounds as NU’s #16 Zeke Moisey grappled with #6 Sean Russell of Minnesota. Moisey came out aggressively against Russell, notching two takedowns in the first period to go up 4-1 as he tried to earn his first top-10 victory of the year. Moisey led 5-1 in the third period before Russell took the momentum and the match with a takedown and subsequent pin of Moisey (5:53) to put his team up 6-0.
Minnesota took the 133-pound match with a 17-2 tech. fall by #8 Ethan Lizak over Jevon Parrish to go up 11-0. NU’s #19 Chad Red Jr. then dropped a 9-2 decision to #10 Mitch McKee as the Gophers built a 14-point cushion. That would be the last match Minnesota would win for a while, however, as the Huskers poured on 21 straight team points.
Jordan Shearer (149) had lost all four of his matches against top 20 opponents this year leading up to tonight’s bout with #19 Tommy Thorn of Minnesota. Shearer went down 2-0 early in the first period after a takedown by Thorn, but reeled off 10-straight points on the way to his second major decision of the season.
For the second straight match, #2 Tyler Berger (157) found himself tied 1-1 after three periods. In an almost exact imitation of his match against Kaleb Young of Iowa, he took down Minnesota’s #8 Steve Bleise less than 25 seconds into the first sudden victory period to earn his 20th victory of the season.
#6 Isaiah White (165) joined the fun with a 13-5 major decision of his own to bring NU back to within three points of the Gophers. In the 174-pound match, #9 Mikey Labriola battled #12 Devin Skatzka of Minnesota. Heading into the third period, the redshirt freshman from Easton, Pa., trailed 5-1. After starting on bottom to begin the third period, Labriola earned a reversal and a four-point nearfall to go up 7-5. Skatzka earned one more point on an escape, but Labriola was able to hold him off to win, 7-6.
“He (Skatzka) is a guy you’re not going to be able to take down a lot, so you just have to stay after it,” Labriola said. “I heard Coach Manning yelling at me in the third period, saying ‘you can still do this!’ and I just went out there and finished it off.”
#6 Taylor Venz (184) dominated Minnesota’s Brandon Krone from start to finish, working a 7-0 decision to put his team up 17-14. #11 Eric Schultz closed out the dual for the Huskers with a stellar finish to his match against Gophers 197-pounder Dylan Anderson. Schultz led 2-1 heading into the third period before finishing with a flurry of five consecutive takedowns to go up 13-5. Accumulating 1:20 of riding time, the Tinley Park, Ill., native pushed the dual out of reach with a 14-5 major decision.
The consensus No. 1 285-pounder in the country, Minnesota heavyweight Gable Steveson came into tonight’s match holding a perfect 24-0 record. That record remained unblemished tonight after he worked a hard-fought 13-5 major decision over NU’s #10 David Jensen.
With the win tonight, the Huskers improve to 11-4 (5-3 Big Ten) and the Gophers fall to 12-3 (5-2 Big Ten). Minnesota will be right back in action against Maryland at Maturi Pavilion in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, while NU gets eight days to prepare for a road trip to #2 Ohio State.