LINCOLN — The No. 6 Nebraska wrestling team used a last-second, match-clinching pin from a hobbled No. 4 Isaiah White (165) to defeat No. 3 Ohio State 19-14 in front of 1,675 fans at the Devaney Center on Sunday afternoon. The Huskers (7-3, 2-3 Big Ten) won six of ten bouts overall to record their first victory over a top three-rated opponent since 2008.
No. 6 Mikey Labriola (174) set the tone for what would be a thrilling meet with a match-opening 3-1 victory. The returning All-American sophomore from Easton, Pa., battled No. 7 Kaleb Romero to a 1-1 tie as time was winding down in Period 3. Labriola was then able to get in on a shot and record a takedown before the buzzer sounded as Romero attempted to crawl away. Ohio State challenged the takedown, but officials confirmed the call on the mat following video review. Nebraska was, however, deducted one team point at the conclusion of the match for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Buckeye redshirt freshman Rocky Jordan was able to record an upset victory over No. 8 Taylor Venz (184) in the second match of the afternoon. Venz started Period 2 on bottom and recorded a reversal to go up 2-0, but Jordan scored a third-period takedown and added a point for riding time to earn a 3-2 decision and put the Buckeyes in front 3-2.
No. 6 Eric Schultz’s undefeated streak against dual meet competition came to an end on Sunday as No. 1 Collin Moore (197) tallied two takedowns and rolled up two minutes and 27 seconds of riding time to win 6-2.
David Jensen (HWT) got the nod at heavyweight for a second consecutive match and recorded a second straight win for the Huskers. Ohio State’s Gary Traub scored a takedown in the first period, but Jensen got one of his own following a scramble at the end of Period 2. Jensen then scored two takedowns in the third period, included one off of an attempted throw by Traub, to win 8-3.
Alex Thomsen (125) continued his streak of resurgent wrestling with a 5-2 decision over Malik Heinselman. Thomsen has now won three straight bouts following a four-match dual meet losing streak. The redshirt freshman from Neola, Iowa, scored a critical reversal after being taken down in Period 2 and used repeated mat returns and a takedown in Period 3 to clinch the match by a final score of 5-2.
No. 13 Ridge Lovett (133) added to the drama with a last-second reversal in his match against No. 19 Jordan Decatur. The true freshmen grapplers were knotted up at four with 15 seconds remaining, but Decatur had over one minute of riding time and thus, for all intents and purposes, had a one-point advantage . Facing a potentially crushing defeat, Lovett was able to get around Decatur and record a reversal with five seconds remaining to finish off an emphatic 6-5 decision.
The Buckeyes (8-3, 4-2 Big Ten) then posted back-to-back major decision victories. No. 1 Luke Pletcher ran his record to 21-0 with a 10-1 victory over No. 8 Chad Red Jr. and No. 2 Sammy Sasso scored eight of his 13 points in the third period to defeat No. 14 Collin Purinton by a final score of 13-4.
No. 16 Peyton Robb was able to even the team score at 14 with an 8-3 decision over Ohio State redshirt freshman Quinn Kinner. Robb scored a takedown and four near-fall points in the first period en route to victory.
With the match’s outcome hanging in the balance, No. 4 Isaiah White squared off against No. 14 Ethan Smith, who had revenge on his mind following a 4-1 semifinal tiebreaker loss at the Cliff Keen Invitational back in December. White sustained a left ankle injury following a first period scramble at the edge of the mat. After receiving attention from the medical training staff, White decided to gut it out and continue wrestling. The back-and-forth match was 4-3 in favor of Smith with 10 seconds remaining. White then threw Smith to his back and recorded a pin with two seconds on the clock. Nebraska was deducted one team point for losing control of the mat, but it did little to dampen the Huskers’ 19-14 victory.
“I’ve been on the [losing] side so many times, including last Friday night [against Penn State], but today we made it happen,” Head Coach Mark Manning said after the meet.
Next up, NU hits the road for a pair of conference meets, first battling the No. 13 Boilermakers of Purdue on Feb. 7 before making the short trek to Bloomington, Ind., to face Indiana on Feb. 9.
#6 Nebraska 19, #3 Ohio State 14
174: No. 6 Mikey Labriola (NEB) dec. No. 7 Kaleb Romero (OSU), 3-1 (NEB 2, OSU 0)*
184: Rocky Jordan (OSU) dec. No. 8 Taylor Venz (NEB), 3-2 (OSU 3, NEB 2)
197: No. 1 Kollin Moore (OSU) dec. No. 6 Eric Schultz (NEB), 5-2 (OSU 6, NEB 2)
285: David Jensen (NEB) dec. Gary Traub (OSU), 8-3 (OSU 6, NEB 5)
125: Alex Thomsen (NEB) dec. Malik Heinselman (OSU), 5-2 (NEB 8, OSU 6)
133: No. 13 Ridge Lovett (NEB) dec. No. 19 Jordan Decatur (OSU), 6-4 (NEB 11, OSU 6)
141: No. 1 Luke Pletcher (OSU) major dec. No. 8 Chad Red Jr. (NEB), 10-1 (NEB 11, OSU 10)
149: No. 2 Sammy Sasso (OSU) major dec. No. 14 Collin Purinton (NEB), 12-4 (OSU 14, NEB 11)
157: No. 16 Peyton Robb (NEB) dec. Quinn Kinner (OSU), 8-3 (NEB 14, OSU 14)
165: No. 4 Isaiah White (NEB) pinned No. 14 Ethan Smith (OSU), 6:58 (NEB 19, OSU 14)**
*Following the 174-pound match, Nebraska was deducted one team point for unsportsmanlike conduct
**Nebraska was deducted one team point for losing control of the mat area