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Wrestling: Huskers Upset by Bison in Season Opener

No. 8 Nebraska opened its season on Jordan Burroughs night, only to fall to North Dakota State

Nebraska’s No. 2 Peyton Robb (right), seen here in a dual against Illinois in February, picked up a big win over No. 6 Jared Franek of NDSU Friday night.
Dylan Guenther / CORN NATION

Well, that’s not how the season was supposed to start...

On a night when Nebraska honored Jordan Burroughs as well as a slew of other alumni, it was a combination of missing starters and Bison bonus points that doomed the Huskers as they fell to North Dakota State 20-16 at the Devaney Sports Center.

After rumors circulated that Ridge Lovett, last year’s NCAA finalist for Nebraska at 149 pounds, was going to redshirt this season, his absence in the lineup on Friday night only reinforces those rumors. Also absent from the lineup was Nebraska’s top two guys at 184 pounds, which may have cost the team points and the dual.

There were some really good performances by Nebraska, but overall the Huskers kind of underwhelmed on the way to the upset loss.

Match-By-Match Breakdown

*FloWrestling individual rankings used

125 pounds

Liam Cronin started things off for Nebraska as he returned to the mat for the first time in almost a year.

After a scoreless opening period, Cronin took a 1-0 lead with a quick escape in the second. He then added another point on a second stalling call on freshman Carlos Negrete Jr.

In the third, Cronin gave up an escape to start, cutting his lead to 2-1. Cronin then scored a go-behind for a takedown to go up 4-1 and rode out the period to earn the riding-time point and the 5-1 decision win.

Team Score: Nebraska 3, North Dakota St. 0

133 pounds

Wrestling varsity for the first time as a Husker, senior Boo Dryden started off slow with a scoreless first period with not much offense to speak of.

In the second, Dryden picked up a quick escape before scoring a takedown where he shot a single-leg, elevated it and dumped McGwire Midkiff back for a 3-0 lead. Midkiff did get an escape to make it 3-1 to end the second.

In the final period, Dryden started on top and built his riding time over a minute before an escape by Midkiff, cutting Dryden’s lead to 3-2. Dryden shot late in the match and after an extended scramble he secured the takedown to go up 5-2, winning the match 6-2 with the riding-time point.

Team Score: Nebraska 6, North Dakota St. 0

141 pounds

Nebraska’s redshirt freshman Brock Hardy took the mat here and started off strong against No. 13 Dylan Droegemueller. Hardy quickly picked Droegemueller’s ankle and converted it into a takedown and a 2-0 lead.

Droegemueller then escaped, cutting the score to 2-1. The Bison senior then got a takedown to go up but wasn’t done there as he rolled Hardy over for a tilt and four nearfall points to go up 7-2. Hardy did get the escape before the end of the period but he found himself in a 7-3 hole after the first.

In the second, Hardy started on top and gave up an escape. Droegemueller then scored another takedown and rode the period out to go up 10-3. Hardy recorded an escape to start the third period but wasn’t able to get any offense going and dropped the match via 10-4 decision.

Team Score: Nebraska 6, North Dakota St. 3

149 pounds

Normally we’d see Ridge Lovett here in the lineup, but it appears that the rumors of a Lovett redshirt are true, so the Huskers sent out senior transfer Dayne Morton. The former Division II wrestler, Morton started his match against Michael Weber with a scoreless first period without much action

The Bison junior started on top in the second period and put on a punishing ride, riding out the period for a full two minutes of riding time.

In the third, Morton started on top but cut Weber right away, giving him the escape and a 1-0 lead. With little offense from Morton, the Husker pulled off the improbable and secured a takedown with less than a second left in the period, giving him a 2-1 lead. With the riding-time point, the match was 2-all and went to overtime.

These two wrestled a scoreless two minutes of overtime with neither wrestler really committing to a shot. That sent things to sudden victory. Morton started on top in the first sudden victory, giving up an escape. In the second sudden victory period, Morton chose neutral, opting to try to win the match with a takedown rather than tying things up with an escape. Morton never really got close to a takedown as time expired, dropping the match 3-2.

Team Score: Nebraska 6, North Dakota St. 6

157 pounds

In the most anticipated match of the dual, Nebraska’s No. 2 Peyton Robb took on No. 6 Jared Franek of NDSU.

Robb started things off with a big takedown early in the first period before putting on a pretty hard ride. Franek then got an escape, but Robb scored another takedown with 15 seconds left in the period, giving him a 4-1 lead and 1:39 riding time going into the second.

Robb started the second frame on top and again put on a hard ride, racking up over three minutes of total riding time before conceding the escape.

Up 4-2 going into the third, Robb chose bottom and earned another point for an escape. Facing a late surge by Franek, Robb gave up a takedown but was immediately cut loose and held on for the 7-4 decision win with riding time.

Team Score: Nebraska 9, North Dakota St. 6

165 pounds

Nebraska sent out redshirt freshman Jagger Condomitti here for his first varsity start, and things started off strong for the former Pennsylvania state champion, but it didn’t end that way.

Condomitti was able to get behind No. 21-ranked Michael Caliendo early and lift him for a takedown to go up 2-0. After scoring an escape, Caliendo was able to put Condomitti on his back as he locked up a cradle, securing the pinfall just 1:19 into the match to score some big-time bonus points for the team.

Team Score: North Dakota St. 12, Nebraska 9

174 pounds

With his team trailing, No. 3-ranked Mikey Labriola looked like a guy who was hunting for bonus points in his match against Gaven Sax, a guy who wrestled at 149 pounds just last year.

In the first period, Labriola secured two takedowns while giving up two escapes to go up 4-2. Then in the second, Labriola scored a pair of points while on bottom, one for stalling on Sax and another for locked hands on the Bison sophomore. Labriola then scored a reversal before cutting Sax again, taking an 8-3 lead into the third period.

In the final period, Labriola started on top but decided to cut Sax loose. Labriola then was able to get in on Sax’s leg for a takedown before catching him on his back for four nearfall points, going up 14-4. Labriola scored again on a stalling call before giving up a last-second takedown. Nonetheless, he scored an extra team point with the 15-7 major decision win.

Team Score: Nebraska 13, North Dakota St. 12

184 pounds

After redshirt freshman Lenny Pinto beat out fellow redshirt freshman Nathan Haas last weekend at Nebraska’s wrestle-offs, neither took the mat for Nebraska on Friday night. Instead, the Huskers sent out sophomore Brandynn Van Tassell, and it may have cost them the dual.

After a scoreless opening period, Van Tassell started on the bottom to begin the second period against sophomore DJ Parker. Parker was able to lock in a cradle against Van Tassell, securing four nearfall points while nearly sticking the Husker on the mat. Van Tassell was able to break the grip and got an escape before the end of the period.

In the third, Van Tassell started on top, but Parker got an immediate reversal to go up 8-2. Parker then rolled Van Tassell through twice on trap-arm tilts to collect a total of eight back points to go up 16-2. With his riding-time point, Parker secured the 17-2 win via tech fall, giving SDSU two valuable bonus team points.

Team Score: North Dakota St. 17, Nebraska 13

197 pounds

With the Huskers trailing, they needed redshirt freshman Silas Allred to get an upset win over No. 17 Owen Pentz.

The first period was action-packed but nearly ended scoreless before Allred scored a late takedown to go up 2-0. The second period saw Allred give up a quick escape, cutting his lead to 2-1.

In the final period, Allred started on bottom but Pentz put on a hard ride on top and was able to build up his riding time over a minute before riding the period out. With the riding-time point for Pentz, the match was tied 2-2 and went to overtime.

In the extra period, Allred wasted little time as he shot early and was able to secure a takedown after a crazy scramble (see it below), giving him the 4-2 decision win.

Team Score: North Dakota St. 17, Nebraska 16

285 pounds

With the dual going to the winner at this weight, it came down to Cale Davidson of Nebraska against Juan Mora of NDSU.

After a scoreless first period, Davidson got on the board first with a quick escape to start the second. Davidson was able to show off his quickness in fending off Mora’s offense throughout the period.

In the third, Mora chose neutral rather than trying to tie things up from the bottom position. It turned out to be a good move, as Mora was able to secure a takedown with 35 seconds left to go up 2-1. Mora held on and rode out Davidson for the 2-1 decision win.

Team Score: North Dakota St. 20, Nebraska 16

What’s Next for Nebraska?

Nebraska travels to take part in the Journeyman Wranglemania on Nov. 12, a triangular against No. 9 NC State and Army. Nebraska will face Army at noon and NC State at 4 p.m.