Nebraska had a dominant weekend on the mat, downing Northwestern 39-3 on Friday before traveling to Madison this afternoon and beating #21 Wisconsin 28-9.
Against the Badgers, Nebraska won seven of the ten bouts with the only losses to higher ranked wrestlers. Led by top-ranked Ridge Lovett with his third straight stick, the Huskers look to be hitting their stride.
On top of that, Nebraska saw a wild 33-point match out of Nash Hutmacher at heavyweight as well as true freshman Ethan Stiles getting his first Big Ten win while spelling Peyton Robb.
The Huskers improved to 9-1 on the year with their win over Wisconsin. Nebraska has four duals left on its schedule before the postseason.
*FloWrestling individual rankings used
In another match against a top guy, Nebraska’s #10 Caleb Smith was able to get to his offense against #8 Eric Barnett but was unable to finish for takedowns, largely thanks to some nifty defense by the Badger, but also some help from the official due to a lazy non-escape call.
In the first period, Barnett scored an early takedown and rode Smith for over two minutes before an escape. Smith cut the deficit to 3-2 with an escape to start the second period before scoring what looked like a takedown to go up 5-2. Wisconsin challenged the call and it was wiped off. Smith again got in on a double-leg shot that ended with a scramble with no points scored as time expired.
In the third, Smith cut Barnett to start and shot right in for a takedown. It was never called an escape as it should have been as Barnett was cut and turned to face Smith, so no takedown was awarded to Smith. You be the judge here.
What’s crazy is how quick the escape point came on the 2nd cut https://t.co/lVmd1o4i5O— James Green (@WhoIsJamesG) January 29, 2024
Smith then got in on a couple more shots but was just unable to finish, giving Barnett the 5-2 decision win.
With the loss, Smith is now 15-5 on the year.
Team Score: Wisconsin 3, Nebraska 0
Notching his fourth win in a row (he’s 4-0 in Big Ten matches), Nebraska’s #26 Jacob Van Dee held off a late push from Wisconsin’s #32 Nicolar Rivera.
Van Dee scored a first-period takedown, taking his 3-1 lead into the second where he started on top and rode Rivera for the entire period, racking up 2:25 in riding time.
133 | Van Dee leads 3-1 after the first. pic.twitter.com/omLvmw5sRf— Nebraska Wrestling (@HuskerWrestling) January 28, 2024
In the third, Van Dee started on bottom and got an escape to go up 4-1. Rivera then scored a takedown on a duck-under to tie things at 4-4. Van Dee escaped to go up 5-4 before the two scrambled it out to end the period. With the riding-time point, Van Dee earned the 6-4 decision victory.
133 | Van Dee comes out on top for his fourth straight win.— Nebraska Wrestling (@HuskerWrestling) January 28, 2024
UW 3 pic.twitter.com/7jwIYggVo6
With the win, the Husker redshirt freshman is now 15-5 on the year.
Team Score: Nebraska 3, Wisconsin 3
After missing the past two duals when backup Blake Cushing more than held his own with a pair of Big Ten wins, Nebraska’s #7 Brock Hardy returned with a vengeance against Wisconsin redshirt freshman Felix Lettini.
Hardy scored a pair of takedowns in the first period, one off of a beautiful ankle pick to go up 6-1. In the second, Hardy added three more takedowns with another on a great ankle pick. The Husker sophomore then put Lettini on his back and scored four nearfall points to earn the 19-4 tech fall win.
141 | Hardy picks up his fourth tech fall of the season.— Nebraska Wrestling (@HuskerWrestling) January 28, 2024
Huskers up 8-3. pic.twitter.com/SqhqRwjZSj
With the win, Hardy improves to 12-5 on the year.
Team Score: Nebraska 8, Wisconsin 3
For the third match in a row, Nebraska’s #1 Ridge Lovett stuck his man to the mat, pinning freshman Julian George of Wisconsin in the first period.
Lovett collected two takedowns before slapping on the cradle on the edge and rolling George through for the pin.
With the win, Lovett stays perfect on the year at 19-0. With his third pin to go along with three tech falls and four major decisions, Lovett is one of the guys in the hunt for the Hodge Trophy.
Team Score: Nebraska 14, Wisconsin 3
Filling in for #12 Peyton Robb for the second dual in a row, true freshman Ethan Stiles took on Wisconsin sophomore Luke Mechler.
After a scoreless first period, Stiles scored first with a quick escape and appeared to scored a last-second takedown, but Wisconsin challenged again and won again, wiping the takedown off the board.
Mechler started the third with an escape to tie the match at 1-1, but Stiles used solid defense to fend off a late shot before cutting the corner to get the takedown himself (see below). Stiles rode the period out for the 4-1 win, his first career Big Ten win.
️ HE'S A FRESHMAN ️— Nebraska Wrestling (@HuskerWrestling) January 28, 2024
Stiles hangs on for the 4-1 dec. over Mechler.
Huskers on top 17-3 at the break. pic.twitter.com/8NuWyFcCxR
With the win, Stiles is now 15-2 this year (3-2 against DI) and has shown that he has a lot of promise as Nebraska preps for life next year after Robb graduates.
Team Score: Nebraska 17, Wisconsin 3
Facing his second ranked foe in three days, Nebraska’s #16 Antrell Taylor got to test himself Sunday against one of the best in the country in #5 Dean Hamiti of Wisconsin, a two-time All-American.
The redshirt freshman Husker started the match with an ankle pick and transitioned to a body lock, but Hamiti showed otherworldly defense throughout the match and was able to fend off Taylor’s finishes. Hamiti scored a takedown in the first before giving Taylor an escape. Hamiti then scored an escape to start the second.
After starting the third on bottom, Taylor was called for stalling and a point for Hamiti. The match ended with an escape by Taylor and a penalty point for Hamiti for hands to the face on Taylor. With the riding-time point for Hamiti, Taylor lost the match 7-2.
Facing a guy in Hamiti who’s scored bonus points in 16 of his 17 wins this year coming into Sunday, Taylor showed he’s capable of going with the top guys after holding Hamiti to just one takedown. He needs to finish his attacks though, as he was 90 percent of the way to a takedown multiple times throughout the match, but Hamiti was able to prevent the finishes.
With the loss, Taylor is now 14-4 on the year.
Team Score: Nebraska 17, Wisconsin 6
After recording a win on Friday night against Northwestern, #26 Bubba Wilson wasn’t able to pull off an upset against Wisconsin’s #15 Max Maylor.
Maylor scored a first-period takedown, but Wilson cut the deficit to 3-2 with a couple escapes. In the second period, Wilson got in deep on a shot but the period ended before he could collect the three points.
In the third, Wilson started on top and gave up an escape. Maylor was able to fend off Wilson’s late barrage, handing the Husker junior a 4-2 decision loss.
With the loss, Wilson is now 12-7 this season.
Team Score: Nebraska 17, Wisconsin 9
Nebraska’s #3 Lenny Pinto took on Wisconsin’s #20 Shane Liegel who won the Midlands Championship not too long ago.
Pinto shot first in the first period and eventually threw Liegel over for a takedown using pure horsepower. After giving up an escape, Pinto hit a duck-under for a late takedown to end the period up 6-1.
184 | Lenny leads 6-1 after the first pic.twitter.com/ZA3UVxnNJb— Nebraska Wrestling (@HuskerWrestling) January 28, 2024
The two then traded escapes in the second and third period with Pinto earning the 7-2 decision win, improving to 15-3 on the year.
Team Score: Nebraska 20, Nebraska 9
Nebraska’s #14 Silas Allred continues doing to unranked guys what he’s supposed to do — pouring on the points. After collecting a third-straight tech fall win, Allred has scored 57 points in his last four matches, winning all three by the score 19-4.
Against Wisconsin’s Josh Otto, Allred scored three takedowns in the first period before adding three more and an escape in the second for the 19-4 win in just five minutes of mat time.
With the win, Allred is now 17-4 with six tech falls this year.
Team Score: Nebraska 25, Wisconsin 9
With the dual already won, Nebraska’s Nash Hutmacher took the mat against Wisconsin’s Gannon Rosenfeld and the two put on one of the most entertaining heavyweight matches I think I’ve ever seen.
Rosenfeld started the scoring with an early takedown, but Hutmacher scored an escape before driving through on a double-leg takedown that I know more than a few Big Ten quarterbacks have fallen victim to.
Kinda like this...
Rosenfeld then scored a reversal, but Hutmacher tied things with an escape. Hutmacher hit another high-crotch takedown before giving up an escape, taking an 8-6 lead into the second period.
In the second, Hutmacher showed his rust and got out of position on top and gave up another reversal to Rosenfeld. After an escape by Hutmacher, Rosenfeld hit his own blast double on the Polar Bear, taking an 11-9 lead. Hutmacher then escaped and caught a Rosenfeld shot before spinning around for a takedown, taking the lead back at 13-11.
Hutmacher escaped to start the third, but Rosenfeld hit another double-leg for a takedown to tie the match at 14-14. Rosenfeld cut Hutmacher loose then, but the Polar Bear hit a nice single-leg takedown to go up 18-14. Hutmacher rode the period out and with the riding-time point, he earned a hard-fought 19-14 win.
With this performance from Hutmacher (now 3-1 on the year) and Friday night’s 15-0 tech fall by Harley Andrews (10-9 this season) over Northwestern, Nebraska has a big bear-sized question as to who its postseason starter will be. Both guys are progressing rapidly and each has made a solid case to be the starter come Big Tens and NCAAs.