NEB WRES: Huskers Look to Bounce Back in First Conference Duals

Posted By: Sports

Courtesy: UNL Media Relations

No. 20 Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-2, 0-0 Big Ten) at No. 12 Illinois Fighting Illini (1-2, 0-1 Big Ten)
Friday, Jan. 5 – 8 p.m. (CT) – Champaign, Ill. (Huff Hall)

TV: BTN (Tim Johnson, Play-by-Play; Jim Gibbons, Analyst)

No. 20 Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-2, 0-0 Big Ten) vs. Maryland Terrapins (3-4, 0-4 Big Ten)
Sunday, Jan. 7 – 2 p.m. (CT) – Lincoln, Neb. (Devaney Center)

Stream: BTN Plus and FloWrestling (Subscription Required)

Huskers Look to Bounce Back in First Conference Duals

No. 20 Nebraska is gearing up to start Big Ten action this weekend, as the Huskers visit 12th-ranked Illinois on Friday night before returning home to host Maryland Sunday afternoon.

Friday night’s dual at Illinois is set to begin at 8 p.m. (CT) with national television coverage on BTN and a stream available on BTN2Go.

Sunday’s matinee is set to begin at 2 p.m. (CT), with a live stream available on BTN Plus and FloWrestling (subscription required). Tickets are available at or by calling the Nebraska Athletic Ticketing & Engagement Office at 1-800-8-BIG-RED.

Last Time Out: The Huskers are looking to bounce back after dropping a pair of duals in mid-December. Sixth-ranked NC State defeated the Huskers, 29-3, on Dec. 15, before NU fell by a 22-14 decision to North Carolina on Dec. 17.

Up Next: Nebraska will host No. 24 Purdue next Friday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Devaney Center. Tickets are available at or by calling the Nebraska Athletic Ticketing & Engagement Office at 1-800-8-BIG-RED. A live stream will be available on BTN Plus and FloWrestling (subscription required). Prior to Nebraska’s dual, two high school duals will take place on two mats at the Devaney Center beginning at 5 p.m. The duals will be contested between Kearney and Omaha Skutt Catholic and Bennington and David City.

Quick Notes

  • Nebraska has been outscored by its four dual opponents by a combined score of 74-70
  • Nebraska has won 18 of 40 individual matches in dual competition
  • Five starters have surpassed the 10-win plateau, with Taylor Venz (184) and Isaiah White (165) leading the way with 13 wins
  • Isaiah White (165) is 4-0 in duals this season, while Kris Williams (125) is 1-0
  • White (165) has scored the most dual points for Nebraska (13) this season
  • Venz (184) leads all starters in pins (7) this season
  • White (165), Venz (184) and David Jensen (HWT) lead starters with two technical falls a piece this season
  • Tyler Berger (157) leads all starters in major decisions (3) this season

White Shows Consistency in First Season as a Husker

Sophomore Isaiah White (165) is proving his place as one of the top wrestlers at his weight in the country in his first season in a Nebraska singlet. White is the only Husker to have won his match in each of NU’s first four duals this season.

White also leads NU starters in dual points (13) and dual takedowns (15) and has been taken down just once in dual competition. He has outscored his four dual opponents by a combined score of 43-19.

White has four wins by bonus points on the season, including two technical falls and two major decisions. He finished second at the Daktronics Open in November and defeated four ranked opponents to finish third at the Cliff Keen Invitational in December. His only losses are to top-11 opponents Nick Wanzek of Minnesota and Te’Shan Campbell of Ohio State.

White won the NCAA Division II title at 165 pounds last season for Notre Dame College (Ohio) before transferring to Nebraska last summer. He went 28-2 overall as a freshman.

Venz Dominating During Redshirt Freshman Campaign

Taylor Venz (184) has a team leading seven pins this season and has two technical falls and one major decision on the year.

At the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, Venz burst on the scene with four pins on the first day of competition, including a pair in under 15 seconds and two more over top-eight opponents. Venz finished third at the tournament, as the previously unranked wrestler jumped to sixth in the next week’s InterMat rankings.

Two of Venz’s three wins in dual matches have come by bonus points, as he has a technical fall and a major decision.

In a 28-4 redshirt season last year, Venz pinned eight opponents, defeated seven by tech fall and won six major decisions.

Experienced Pair Looks to Bounce Back

Tyler Berger (157) and Colton McCrystal (149) are Nebraska’s two returning NCAA qualifiers from last season, but the pair is looking to bounce back after going a combined 0-3 against NC State and North Carolina in NU’s last two duals.

Berger, an All-American at 157 pounds a season ago, is 10-4 this season with half of his wins against ranked wrestlers. He won the Daktronics Open and finished fourth at the Cliff Keen Invitational.

McCrystal, who qualified for the NCAA Championships at 141 pounds last season, moved up to 149 this year and is 9-2 on the year with a pair of wins over ranked opponents. He is 2-1 in duals this season.

Redshirt Freshmen Stepping Up

Four redshirt freshmen, Chad Red Jr. (141), Beau Breske (174), Taylor Venz (184) and Eric Schultz (197) have become strong forces in Nebraska’s starting lineup this season.

Red, ranked eighth at 141, is 11-4 on the season after finishing fourth at the Cliff Keen Invitational. Three of his four losses have come to No. 2 Bryce Meredith of Wyoming and No. 4 Kevin Jack of NC State, all by decision.

Venz leads starters in pins (7) and has defeated four top-11 opponents.

Schultz is 7-5 on the year with four of his losses coming to top-10 opponents. He did not place at the Cliff Keen Invitational, but gained valuable experience as he took top-ranked Kollin Moore of Ohio State right to the end in a 3-2 loss.

Beau Breske has also been featured in the lineup as of late, as he is 7-3 on the year with a win over a ranked opponent at the Cliff Keen Invitational. He notched his first dual win over Adis Radoncic of North Carolina.

Huskers Working Through Tough Schedule

Nebraska will face seven teams in dual action in 2017-18 that finished in the top 25 at the NCAA Championships last season: Michigan (10th), Illinois (11th), Wisconsin (13th), NC State (17th), Rutgers (19th), Wyoming (21st) and Stanford (24th).

In addition, NU has seven teams on the slate currently ranked in the USA Today/NWCA Coaches Poll: NC State (5th), Michigan (8th), Illinois (12th), Rutgers (17th), Wisconsin (16th), North Carolina (19th) and Purdue (24th).

Scouting Illinois

2017-18 Dual Record: 1-2 (0-1 Big Ten)
Win (1): Fresno State (33-10)
Losses (2): #5 Missouri (20-17), #7 Iowa (18-17)

  • Travis Piotrowski (125) and Kyle Langenderfer (157) won individual titles at the Roadrunner Open.
  • Illinois finished 10th at the Midlands Championships, led by an individual title by Emery Parker (184).
  • Five Illini wrestlers are ranked by InterMat, including one top-five wrestler.

Illinois is coached by Jim Heffernan (Ninth season at Illinois/Overall)

  • Record at Illinois/Overall: 84-46-2

All-Time Against Illinois
Nebraska is 6-3 all-time against Illinois in a series that dates back to 1939. Nebraska has won the last five meetings against the Illini, and each of the four meetings as Big Ten foes.

Scouting Maryland
2017-18 Dual Record: 3-4 (0-4 Big Ten)
Wins (3): Campbell (20-19), George Mason (28-9), Stanford (18-15)
Losses (4): #12 Rutgers (27-9), Northwestern (34-12), #20 Wisconsin (32-6), #7 Iowa (40-6)

  • Youssif Hemida (HWT) won an individual title at the Roadrunner Open.
  • Alfred Bannister (149) won an individual title at the Wilkes Open.
  • Maryland finished 13th at the Midlands Championships, led by a third-place finish by Hemida.
  • One Terrapin is ranked by InterMat.

Maryland is coached by Kerry McCoy (10th season at Maryland/13th season overall).

  • Record at Maryland: 97-81-1/Record overall: 127-100-1

All-Time Against Maryland
Nebraska is 5-1-1 all-time against Maryland. NU has won both of the meetings between the two programs as Big Ten opponents.