The 10th-ranked Huskers were able to go on the road Friday night and put away No. 21 Illinois in a dual 27-19.
Nebraska won six of the ten matchups with four of those wins coming with bonus points. There were some interesting lineup wrinkles along with a Husker forfeit that made things interesting.
In fact, the Huskers sent out two backups to try their hands at weights that the Huskers have struggled at in 165 pounds and 285. Redshirt freshman Adam Thebeau wrestled at 165 instead of Bubba Wilson, while true freshman Harley Andrews got the nod at heavyweight over Cale Davidson
With the win, Nebraska improves to 8-3 on the year while Illinois is now 5-6.
*FloWrestling individual rankings used
The action started here with one of the wildest matches I’ve seen in awhile as No. 3 Liam Cronin took on Illinois’ Maximo Renteria. Cronin started the first period with a takedown before showing off some acrobatic defense later in the period.
In the second, Cronin started on bottom and a wild encounter ensued. There were nearfall points called for Renteria, then a challege brick was thrown by the Huskers before another exchange where there could have been back points called for Cronin. The referees went to the replay to figure it all out, and they called...no points. None at all.
Cronin then scored an escape before adding three takedowns and two nearfall points at the end of the period, taking an 11-3 lead to the third.
Cronin gave up an escape to start the third period but he tacked on three more takedowns to earn the 18-7 major decision.
With the win, Cronin improves to 15-3 on the year.
Team Score: Nebraska 4, Illinois 0
Nebraska’s Kyle Burwick struggled to score against No. 8 Lucas Byrd of Illinois, but he did do an admirable job at times defensively.
Burwick gave up a point on a stalling call in the first period before being ridden out the third period, giving Byrd the riding-tie point and a 2-0 win.
With the loss, Burwick is now 10-5 on the year.
Team Score: Nebraska 4, Illinois 3
Nebraska’s No. 4 Brock Hardy took on Illinois’ Danny Pucino.
Hardy got a late takedown in the first period before putting Pucino on his back for four nearfall points. In the second. Hardy got a fast takedown before adding two more points on nearfall to go up 10-0 as he rode out the period.
Hardy then started the third period with an escape before adding a pair of takedowns. With the riding-time point, Hardy picked up a 16-1 win via tech fall.
With the win, Hardy is now 21-3.
Team Score: Nebraska 9, Illinois 3
For reasons unknown at this time, Nebraska took a loss via forfeit here.
Team Score: Nebraska 9, Illinois 9
Facing unranked Anthony Federico, Nebraska’s No. 1 Peyton Robb actually gave up the first points as the young Illini took him down early in the first period.
After starting down 2-0, Robb then scored 10 unanswered points before sticking Federico for the pinfall win in the second period.
With the win, Robb is now 20-0
Team Score: Nebraska 15, Illinois 9
Nebraska sent out Adam Thebeau at this weight against No. 16 Dan Braunagel.
Thebeau fell behind 2-0 in the first period before giving up two more takedowns to Braunagel in the second. Down 7-3, Thebeau gave up two more takedowns in the third period, dropping the match 14-5 via major decision.
With the loss, Thebeau is now 10-4 on the year.
Team Score: Nebraska 15, Illinois 13
In one of the matchups of the dual, these two lived up to the billing.
Nebraska’s No. 2 Mikey Labriola struck first with a takedown out of a scramble in the first period. In the second period, Labriola added an escape and another crazy takedown (see below) off of a scramble to go up 5-1.
174 | After a scramble, Labs gets the ✌️ late in P2. pic.twitter.com/1F8fAoSfji— Husker Wrestling (@HuskerWrestling) February 4, 2023
Ruth then scored a quick escape in the third period before shooting a slick double-leg for a takedown, cutting Labriola’s lead to 5-4. With the escape, Labriola increased his lead to 6-4, but Ruth was able to take him down and ride him out the rest of the period to send the match to sudden-victory overtime.
In sudden victory, Ruth immediately shot in on Labriola who dove for Ruth’s foot and set up an extended scramble. Labriola eventually came out on top with a takedown for the 8-6 win.
Labriola is 20-0 with the win.
Team Score: Nebraska 18, Illinois 13
Next up for the Huskers was No. 15 Lenny Pinto against Dylan Connell of Illinois.
Pinto blew through Connell for a first-period takedown before adding another takedown in the second period. Pinto then tacked on an escape and a third takedown in the third period to secure the 7-1 decision.
With the win, Pinto is now 12-7 on the year.
Team Score: Nebraska 21, Illinois 13
Nebraska’s No. 12 Silas Allred was looking for his signature win and just may have gotten it Friday night against No. 9 Zac Braunagel.
After a scoreless first period, Allred struck first in the second period with an escape. Braunagel then caught Allred with a takedown before giving up the escape to the Husker, tying the match at 2-2.
In the third, Allred started on top and caught Braunagel in an attempted roll and put him on his back for the pinfall win.
With the win, Allred is now 18-5 on the year.
Team Score: Nebraska 27, Illinois 13
After struggling this year at heavyweight, the Huskers went with true freshman Harley Andrews over senior Cale Davidson. Andrews took on Illinois’ Matt Wroblewski.
After a scoreless first period with a lot of action, Andrews started the scoring with an escape before getting taken down by Wroblewski and ridden out the rest of the period.
In the third period, Wroblewski was able to reverse Andrews and get the Husker freshman on his back for the pinfall.
With the loss, Andrews falls to 19-2 on the year while he redshirts.
Team Score: Nebraska 27, Illinois 19
What’s Next for Nebraska?
Nebraska travels tomorrow (Saturday) to face Purdue at 5 p.m. The dual will air on B1G+ (subscription required)