Besides its first win against a nationally ranked program this season, Nebraska wrestling has something it didn’t have prior to its dual Friday night.
“In this sport, you got to have an edge,” Nebraska coach Mark Manning said after the dual. “We have an edge now.”
No. 19 Nebraska (4-3, 2-1) defeated No. 22 Purdue (5-2, 0-2) 20-15, winning five of 10 matches. The Huskers edged the Boilermakers with three key bonus-points victories.
One of those bonus-point wins came from Nebraska’s senior captain Colton McCrystal, ranked ninth nationally at 149 pounds. With four matches to go, McCrystal gave the Huskers the go-ahead lead in the team score with a 21-6 technical fall against Koby Reyes of Purdue.
McCrystal said the dual win is big for the team as it continues through the grueling Big Ten schedule. Nebraska will face its second and third straight ranked opponents next weekend.
“These are stepping stones to that big test,” McCrystal said. “We kind of missed some opportunities with some home duals already this year. It’d be great to hopefully get a big crowd, wrestle a good team and pull out a ‘W.’”
With 184 pounds as the starting weight class, the Huskers opened their dual against the Boilermakers with back-to-back victories.
Redshirt freshman Eric Schultz gave Nebraska an early 9-0 lead with a pin fall against Kobe Woods of Purdue. Schultz pinned Woods in 4:50.
Schultz has now won three straight dual matches dating back to Jan. 5 at Illinois. His most recent wins have both come by way of bonus points.
Manning said the work ethic Schultz has is starting to pay off.
“He’s been really focused in on the little things,” he said. “Those little things add up to big wins, big moments where he can win that position. He’s a goer. He’s got a big gas tank on him.”
Trailing early in the dual, Purdue rattled off four straight victories to take a 12-8 lead through six matches.
Redshirt freshman Nate Limmex of Purdue extended the Boilermakers lead with an upset victory against No. 9 Chad Red Jr. of Nebraska at 141 pounds.
Purdue’s lead was short-lived following the technical fall from Nebraska’s McCrystal in the next match.
Another leader and captain for the Huskers, junior Tyler Berger, continued the comeback for Nebraska with a 7-2 decision victory against Griffin Parriott of Purdue.
Manning said it’s important to have those upperclassmen leaders with such a young lineup, adding McCrystal and Berger are stepping up.
“Obviously their performances—you can’t lead unless you’re doing things right,” Manning said. “One of the hardest working guys on the team—in Tyler and Colton. They lead by example. They’re doing a really good job.”
Nebraska clinched the dual win with a 13-2 major decision victory from sophomore Isaiah White, ranked No. 10 at 165 pounds.
The Huskers look to continue their momentum with a pair of top-25 Big Ten duals next weekend. Nebraska will wrestle at No. 25 Northwestern on Friday before returning home for a matchup against No. 17 Rutgers inside the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Sunday.
184: #7 Taylor Venz (NEB) dec. Max Lyon (PUR), 5-3 (NEB 3, PUR 0)
197: Eric Schultz (NEB) pin Kobe Woods (PUR), 4:50 (NEB 9, PUR 0)
HWT: #15 Shawn Streck (PUR) dec. David Jensen (NEB), 12-5 (NEB 9, PUR 3)
125: Devin Schroder (PUR) dec. Mitchell Maginnis (NEB), 7-5 (NEB 8, PUR 6)*
133: Ben Thornton (PUR) dec. Brian Peska (NEB), 6-0 (PUR 9, NEB 8)
141: Nate Limmex (PUR) dec. #9 Chad Red Jr. (NEB), 5-3 (PUR 12, NEB 8)
149: #9 Colton McCrystal (NEB) tech. fall Koby Reyes (PUR), 21-6 (NEB 13, PUR 12)
157: #8 Tyler Berger (NEB) dec. Griffin Parriott (PUR), 7-2 (NEB 16, PUR 12)
165: #10 Isaiah White (NEB) major dec. Jacob Morrissey (PUR), 13-2 (NEB 20, PUR 12)
174: #12 Dylan Lydy (PUR) sv-1 Beau Breske (NEB), 3-1 (NEB 20, PUR 15)
*Nebraska penalized one team point for unsportsmanlike conduct following the 125-pound match
Cody is a senior journalism major at UNL. He grew up in Fairview, SD, a town of less than 70 people. Cody has covered a variety of Husker athletics, ranging from bowling to football. He has a passion for sports and an interest in telling stories and has developed a knack for sports data and looking deeper into statistics. He’s a fan of all Colorado sports teams. Cody and his fiancée Kaitlyn are engaged to be married in July 2018.