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Wrestling: Huskers Put on a Show in Downing Sun Devils

No. 7 Nebraska took out No. 18 Arizona State 25-15 on Senior Night

Lenny Pinto vs Jon Halvorsen
Nebraska’s No. 14 Lenny Pinto had one of the craziest exchanges you’ll ever see on a wrestling mat against Anthony Montalvo.
Dylan Guenther / Corn Nation

The 7th-ranked Huskers welcomed No. 18 Arizona State to town to close out their regular season and they look to be peaking with the postseason next. With a 25-15 win over the Sun Devils, Nebraska looks ready for Big Tens coming up.

Nebraska had a tough go at times at the beginning of the lineup where Arizona State is strongest, but the Huskers used the middle and upper-weights to build an insurmountable lead.

Match-By-Match Breakdown

*FloWrestling individual rankings used

125 pounds

In the most anticipated match of the dual, Nebraska’s No. 3 Liam Cronin took on former NCAA finalist and No. 7-ranked Brandon Courtney.

After a scoreless first period, Cronin started the scoring in the second with an escape. Courtney then tied things up to start the third period with an escape of his own. Despite Cronin nearly taking Courtney down at the end of regulation, things moved to sudden victory.

In the extra period, Courtney was able to get in on Cronin’s leg and elevated it. Cronin then rolled through and got a leg before working for the takedown, putting Courtney on his back to add four nearfall points to go with it, giving him a 7-1 decision win.

And I’d say it’s safe to say that new Husker football coach Matt Rhule is a fan of Husker wrestling and Liam Cronin in particular.

With the win, Cronin is now 18-3 on the year.

Team Score: Nebraska 3, Arizona St. 0

133 pounds

The Huskers went with Boo Dryden here against No. 4 Michael McGee.

McGee started the scoring with a takedown before Dryden was injured and needed injury time. After the break, McGee chose bottom and was able to catch Dryden in a reversal before putting him on his back for a first-period fall.

With the loss, Dryden is now 6-6 on the year.

Team Score: Arizona St. 6, Nebraska 3

141 pounds

Arizona State freshman Emilio Ysaguirre picked up a signature win Sunday afternoon as he took out Nebraska’s No. 4 Brock Hardy.

Ysaguirre started fast with a takedown before locking up a cradle and securing four nearfall points, going up 6-0 over Hardy. Hardy then scored an escape before getting a takedown of his own to cut the deficit to 6-3. Ysaguirre then added an escape of his own.

In the second, Hardy got an escape but still trailed by three. Hardy started the third period on top and gave up a reversal to Ysaguirre before getting ridden out the rest of the period, dropping the match 10-4.

With the loss, Hardy is now 24-4 on the year.

Team Score: Arizona St. 9, Nebraska 3

149 pounds

Facing another Top-10 opponent was Nebraska’s Dayne Morton as he faced No. 5 Kyle Parco.

After a scoreless first period, Morton showed again that he can hang in there against the top guys. Parco started the second period with an escape before Morton was able to get in on a single leg for a takedown and a 2-1 lead. Unfortunately, Parco immediately reversed Morton to go up 3-2. The Sun Devil eventually worked for and got the 5-2 decision win.

With the loss, Morton is 5-12.

Team Score: Arizona St. 12, Nebraska 3

157 pounds

Nebraska’s No. 1 Peyton Robb wasted little time getting the Huskers back into the dual as he worked over Arizona State’s Max Wilner.

Robb started with a fast takedown before cutting Wilner loose and getting another takedown to go up 4-1. Robb then scored two more nearfall points on a tilt before tilting Wilner twice more for four points each to take a 14-1 lead into the second period.

In the second, Robb scored a fast takedown to secure the 16-1 win via tech fall.

With the win, Robb is now 23-0 heading into the postseason.

Team Score: Arizona St. 12, Nebraska 8

165 pounds

Nebraska’s Bubba Wilson took on Arizona State’s Tony Negron here.

Wilson struck first with a first-period takedown before trading escapes with Negron, giving Wilson a 3-1 decision win, his fourth win in a row.

With the win, Wilson improves to 13-10 on the year.

Team Score: Arizona St. 12, Nebraska 11

174 pounds

Nebraska’s No. 2 Mikey Labriola was able to keep his perfect season alive with a win against Arizona State’s Cael Valencia, a redshirt freshman who’s following in his brothers’ footsteps as a Sun Devil. His older brother Zahid Valencia was a two-time NCAA champion for Arizona State.

Labriola was able to get a pair of first-period takedowns before pushing his lead to 5-2 with an escape to start the second period. Valencia then got a takedown of his own in the second. With a Labriola escape, it was 6-4 going into the final period.

In the third period, Labriola got a takedown but gave up two escapes. He also built up enough riding time for the extra point, giving him a 9-6 decision win.

With the win, Labriola is now 24-0 this year.

Team Score: Nebraska 14, Arizona St. 12

184 pounds

Nebraska’s most exciting wrestler to watch, No. 14 Lenny Pinto, just keeps giving us unbelievable highlights to work with.

Facing Arizona State’s Anthony Montalvo, Pinto wasted little time as he went for a takedown, throwing Montalvo over to his back. But the Sun Devil was able to get off his back and throw Pinto over onto his back.

After nearly getting pinned, Pinto reversed him back and put Montalvo on his back again, this time working for the pinfall win.

Honestly, you just have to watch it.

With the win, Pinto is now 19-7 on the year.

Team Score: Nebraska 20, Arizona St. 12

197 pounds

Next up for the Huskers was No. 10 Silas Allred facing Arizona State’s Josh Nummer.

Allred put on a takedown clinic in this one as he eventually worked for a win via technical fall.

Allred took a 6-2 lead in the first period with three takedowns before adding a reversal and three takedowns in the second to go up 14-5. In the final period, Allred added five takedowns and two nearfall points on the way to a 26-10 win.

With the win, Allred is now 23-5.

Team Score: Nebraska 25, Arizona St. 12

285 pounds

With the dual out of reach for Arizona State, Nebraska sent out senior Austin Emerson to take the mat against No. 5 Cohlton Schultz.

Having not been in the starting lineup much in his career, Emerson honestly did a good job just not giving up bonus points to Schultz, a Greco-Roman World Team member.

In the end, Emerson held Schultz to a 6-0 decision. Emerson is now 10-4 on the year.

Team Score: Nebraska 25, Arizona St. 15

What’s Next for Nebraska?

The Huskers will travel to Ann Arbor, Michigan to compete in the Big Ten Championships March 4-5.