Two weeks after losing a dual by criteria, the 18th-ranked Nebraska wrestling team finished on the winning end of the pendulum in a 19-18 victory against No. 20 Northwestern Friday night in Evanston, Illinois.
The Huskers (5-3, 3-1) won the final match of the dual against the Wildcats (7-2, 2-2) giving them the edge in the third criteria (total match points scored), 68-66.
In its most recent trip to the state of Illinois on Jan. 5, Nebraska lost by criteria 18-17 against No. 12 Illinois.
Friday’s win for the Huskers marked their first-ever win by criteria since tiebreaker rules in collegiate wrestling were changed in the mid-2000s.
Heading into the final match of the night at 184 pounds, Nebraska trailed 18-15 in the team score.
Redshirt freshman Taylor Venz, ranked seventh in his weight class for Nebraska, and Mitch Sliga of Northwestern were scoreless at the start of the third period.
Sliga got on the board first with an escape, but Venz came through in the clutch with a match-winning and dual-winning takedown.
Venz’ victory also capped-off a comeback for the Huskers, who trailed 10-0 after three matches.
Nebraska picked up its first victory of the contest at 133 pounds from its true-freshman Jason Renteria. In just his second career match, Renteria earned his first victory over a ranked opponent with a 15-5 major decision against No. 19 Colin Valdiviez.
The Huskers again cut into their deficit with a decision-win at 141 pounds, setting up the dual’s marque match at 149 pounds.
Northwestern’s highest ranked wrestler No. 4 Ryan Deakin won a top-10 battle against Nebraska’s Colton McCrystal, ranked tenth in the class, by major decision 11-2.
Nebraska got its first lead of the dual after winning by decision at 157 pounds and technical fall at 165.
Sophomore Isaiah White earned eight takedowns and a four-point near fall in his dominant victory.
The Wildcats got one last push for a dual victory with an 11-3 major-decision win from No. 18 Johnny Sebastian. The win gave Northwestern an 18-15 lead, before the 184-pound match.
Nebraska returns home for its third consecutive top-25 Big Ten dual when it faces No. 16 Rutgers Sunday at 1 p.m. inside the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
197: Zack Chakonis (NW) dec. Eric Schultz (NEB), 10-9 (NW 3, NEB 0)
HWT: Conan Jennings (NW) tb-1 Patrick Grayson (NEB), 2-1 (NW 6, NEB 0)
125: #10 Sebastian Rivera (NW) major dec. Mitchell Maginnis (NEB), 17-6 (NW 10, NEB 0)
133: Jason Renteria (NEB) major dec. #19 Colin Valdiviez (NW), 15-5 (NW 10, NEB 4)
141: #12 Chad Red Jr. (NEB) dec. Alec McKenna (NW), 6-2 (NW 10, NEB 7)
149: #4 Ryan Deakin (NW) major dec. #10 Colton McCrystal (NEB), 11-2 (NW 14, NEB 7)
157: #8 Tyler Berger (NEB) dec. Shayne Oster (NW), 3-1 (NW 14, NEB 10)
165: #11 Isaiah White (NEB) tech. fall Michael Sepke (NW), 21-6 (NEB 15, NW 14)
174: #18 Johnny Sebastian (NW) major dec. Beau Breske (NEB), 11-3 (NW 18, NEB 15)
184: #7 Taylor Venz (NEB) dec. Mitch Sliga (NW), 2-1 (NEB 18, NW 18)
Note: Nebraska won by criteria 3.15.3 (total match points, 68-66) (NEB 19, NW 18)