Wrestlers whip Huskers, 22-9

Sarah Mitchell

Nebraska’s fourth-ranked wrestling team had an impressive week with two big upsets. The Huskers defeated Big XII foes Iowa State 19-18 and Oklahoma 18-17, leaving their fans with visions of an upset as the Huskers prepared for second-ranked Minnesota (16-2 overall, 7-0 in Big Ten) at home on Sunday.
The Gophers blew through Nebraska (16-6, 2-3 in the Big 12) however, winning 22-9 and ending the Nebraska string of miracle wins.
“Half the guys wrestled like they were protecting their motherland while half the guys wrestled like they could have cared less,” Huskers coach Tim Neumann said.
Up 10-6 at the midway point, the Gophers — who recorded two home wins on Friday over St. Cloud State and 24th-ranked Northern Iowa — claimed four of the five remaining matches.
Minnesota senior Troy Marr started the second half on an up-note. The Gophers’ 149-pounder upset No. 4 Tony Davis from Northern Iowa Friday, and took the mat as an underdog Sunday against the Huskers’ ninth-ranked Joe Henson.
After a scoreless first period, the Gophers grappler coasted through the second before hitting the scoreboard first in the third. Marr escaped 15-seconds into the third period and added two more points on a takedown 30 seconds later.
With a 3-1 lead, Marr attacked again and finished the job with another takedown. Marr released Henson, leaving the Huskers freshman only 18 seconds to overcome a four-point deficit.
“It’s real simple. Marr just keeps getting better every time he goes out there,” Gophers assistant coach Mark Schwab said. “He’s limiting his mistakes. He’s learning not to get caught in certain positions.
While Marr tallied an upset for the Gophers, giving them a 13-6 lead, the Huskers’ Brad Bering returned the favor. In the last match of the meet the seventh-ranked 184-pounder defeated Minnesota’s previously undefeated Brandon Eggum (No. 1) in two overtimes.
The pair wrestled through a scoreless first period. As a defensive wrestler, Bering struck first with an escape in the second period. Eggum would do the same in the third, tying the match at 1-1 — a score that would hold until the second overtime.
As a defensive wrestler, Eggum found himself in a favorable position. He had to escape Bering’s grasp, an attack the Huskers’ sophomore said should have been simple.
“If you are on the bottom all you have to do is go crazy and get out. The guy on the top has the hard job, trying to contain,” Bering said. “There’s much more control for the top guy than explosion for the bottom guy.”
Although Bering’s victory did not boost his team to another upset — the Huskers were already out of it when Bering took to the mat — the sophomore said the importance of beating Eggum was not lessened.
“I didn’t envision it this way,” Bering said. “I thought I’d win either 10-0 or being down in the end and needing to come back by five points.”
Minnesota will continue to strive toward an undefeated Big Ten season with two dual meets this weekend. The Gophers face 15th-ranked Purdue on Friday before heading to 18th-ranked Northwestern on Sunday.