Champaign, Ill. – No. 8 Nebraska (11-1, 5-1 Big Ten) built a 15-4 lead at the halfway point and held off an Illinois comeback in a 22-13 triumph at Huff Hall on Saturday evening.
The dual started at 149 pounds, where junior Jake Sueflohn came from behind to defeat Illinois' Caleb Ervin. Sueflohn, the fifth-ranked wrestler by InterMat, gave up a first-period takedown before earning an escape later in the opening stanza. In the second period, Ervin earned an escape after starting in the down position. Entering the third period trailing 3-1, Sueflohn earned a takedown and tacked on a point for riding time in a 4-3 decision.
No. 1 James Green (157) continued his undefeated season in the second bout of the dual, notching a 10-3 decision over No. 13 Zac Brunson. Green managed four takedowns in the match and added an additional point for riding time. The two-time All-American picked up his 25th win of the season.
Nebraska suffered its first loss of the dual at 165 pounds as sophomore Austin Wilson fell to No. 13 Jackson Morse by a 17-4 major decision. Wilson drops to 17-9 on the season, with a 6-6 record in duals.
At 174 pounds, No. 4 Robert Kokesh won his 13th consecutive match and earned his fourth technical fall with an 18-2 triumph over Tony Dallago. Kokesh, a junior, earned three takedowns in the match to give Nebraska an 11-4 lead.
No. 9 TJ Dudley (184) continued the momentum for the Huskers heading into the halfway break with a 10-1 major decision over Nikko Reyes. In the first period, Dudley managed a last-second takedown to build a 2-0 lead. He added an additional takedown in the second period before a late one in the third period and added near fall points at the end.
At 197 pounds, Caleb Kolb battled No. 4 Mario Gonzalez to extra time before falling by a 3-2 margin. After a scoreless first period, the pair traded escapes in the second and third periods. After a scoreless minute of sudden victory, Gonzalez earned a reversal in the first 30-second overtime period to take a 3-1 advantage. Kolb managed an escape in the second 30-second period but it wasn't enough.
Heavyweight Collin Jensen responded in the next match with a 3-1 decision over Chris Lopez. After a scoreless opening stanza, Lopez earned a second-period escape before Jensen answered with one of his own in the third period. With time winding down, Jensen took down Lopez at the buzzer to emerge with a victory and give NU an 18-7 lead.
Nebraska suffered back-to-back losses in the next two matches before 141-pounder Colton McCrystal closed out the dual with a victory. At 125 pounds, No. 9 Tim Lambert lost to defending national champion Jesse Delgado in overtime, 3-1. In the following bout, senior Shawn Nagel (133) fell by a 4-2 margin to No. 11 Zane Richards.
At 141 pounds, McCrystal took down John Fahy by a 12-3 major decision to cap the Husker victory.
The Huskers return home next weekend for their final dual of the season at the Devaney Center. Nebraska will honor Caleb Kolb, Shawn Nagel and Adam Joseph as part of its Senior Night activities prior to its dual against Michigan at 7 p.m. CT. The matchup will be streamed on the Big Ten Digital Network.
149: #5 Jake Sueflohn (NEB) by dec. over Caleb Ervin (ILL), 4-3 (NEB 3, ILL 0)
157: #1 James Green (NEB) by dec. over #13 Zac Brunson (ILL), 10-3 (NEB 6, ILL 0)
165: #13 Jackson Morse (ILL) by major dec. over Austin Wilson (NEB), 17-4 (NEB 6, ILL 4)
174: #4 Robert Kokesh (NEB) by tech. fall over Tony Dallago (ILL), 18-2 (NEB 11, ILL 4)
184: #9 TJ Dudley (NEB) by major dec. over Nikko Reyes (ILL), 10-1 (NEB 15, ILL 4)
197: #4 Mario Gonzalez (ILL) by overtime dec. over #20 Caleb Kolb (NEB), 3-2 (NEB 15, ILL 7)
HWT: Collin Jensen (NEB) by dec. over Chris Lopez (ILL), 3-1 (NEB 18, ILL 7)
125: #3 Jesse Delgado (ILL) by overtime dec. over #9 Tim Lambert (NEB), 3-1 (NEB 18, ILL 10)
133: #11 Zane Richards (ILL) by dec. over Shawn Nagel (NEB), 4-2 (NEB 18, ILL 13)
141: Colton McCrystal (NEB) by major dec. over John Fahy (ILL), 12-3 (NEB 22, ILL 13)