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Nebraska grinds out win in top-10 battle with Minnesota

Eric Schultz notched a win at 197 pounds (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

LINCOLN, Neb. -- The No. 6 Nebraska Cornhuskers rebounded from Sunday's defeat against Iowa with a come-from-behind 21-18 win over seventh-ranked Minnesota.

The Gophers went up 14-0 early after a pin, tech. fall and decision in the first three matches, but the Huskers won the next six bouts to go up 21-14 to seal the win. Jordan Shearer (149) started the flurry of Husker victories with his best win of the year, a 10-2 major decision over All-American No. 19 Tommy Thorn of Minnesota.

The dual ended with a major decision victory at the heavyweight spot for Minnesota to cut the deficit to 21-18, but it was too little, too late as NU had given itself enough of a cushion to secure the victory.

"We just kept going and the energy stayed high," Huskers 165-pounder Isaiah White said. "(Jordan) Shearer came in and started us off, (Tyler) Berger pulled out a win, Mikey (Labriola) came up big for us. We had the momentum and just kept it rolling. This is a good win for us."

The dual started with a top-20 match at 125 pounds as NU's No. 16 Zeke Moisey grappled with No. 6 Sean Russell of Minnesota. Moisey came out aggressively against Russell, notching two takedowns in the first period to go up 4-1 as he tried to earn his first top-10 victory of the year. Moisey led 5-1 in the third period before Russell took the momentum and the match with a takedown and subsequent pin of Moisey (5:53) to put his team up 6-0.

Minnesota took the 133-pound match with a 17-2 tech. fall by No. 8 Ethan Lizak over Jevon Parrish to go up 11-0. NU's No. 19 Chad Red Jr. then dropped a 9-2 decision to No. 10 Mitch McKee as the Gophers built a 14-point cushion. That would be the last match Minnesota would win for a while, however, as the Huskers poured on 21 straight team points.

Jordan Shearer (149) had lost all four of his matches against top 20 opponents this year leading up to tonight's bout with No. 19 Tommy Thorn of Minnesota. Shearer went down 2-0 early in the first period after a takedown by Thorn, but reeled off 10-straight points on the way to his second major decision of the season.

For the second straight match, No. 2 Tyler Berger (157) found himself tied 1-1 after three periods. In an almost exact imitation of his match against Kaleb Young of Iowa, he took down Minnesota's No. 8 Steve Bleise less than 25 seconds into the first sudden victory period to earn his 20th victory of the season.

Mikey Labriola came from behind to defeat Devin Skatzka at 174 pounds (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

No. 6 Isaiah White (165) joined the fun with a 13-5 major decision of his own to bring NU back to within three points of the Gophers. In the 174-pound match, No. 9 Mikey Labriola battled No. 12 Devin Skatzka of Minnesota. Heading into the third period, the redshirt freshman from Easton, Pa., trailed 5-1. After starting on bottom to begin the third period, Labriola earned a reversal and a four-point nearfall to go up 7-5. Skatzka earned one more point on an escape, but Labriola was able to hold him off to win, 7-6.

"He (Skatzka) is a guy you're not going to be able to take down a lot, so you just have to stay after it," Labriola said. "I heard Coach Manning yelling at me in the third period, saying 'you can still do this!' and I just went out there and finished it off."

Taylor Venz cruised to a 7-0 shutout victory (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

No. 6 Taylor Venz (184) dominated Minnesota's Brandon Krone from start to finish, working a 7-0 decision to put his team up 17-14. No. 11 Eric Schultz closed out the dual for the Huskers with a stellar finish to his match against Gophers 197-pounder Dylan Anderson. Schultz led 2-1 heading into the third period before finishing with a flurry of five consecutive takedowns to go up 13-5. Accumulating 1:20 of riding time, the Tinley Park, Ill., native pushed the dual out of reach with a 14-5 major decision.

The consensus No. 1 285-pounder in the country, Minnesota heavyweight Gable Steveson came into tonight's match holding a perfect 24-0 record. That record remained unblemished tonight after he worked a hard-fought 13-5 major decision over NU's No. 10 David Jensen.

With the win tonight, the Huskers improve to 11-4 (5-3 Big Ten) and the Gophers fall to 12-3 (5-2 Big Ten). Minnesota will be right back in action against Maryland at Maturi Pavilion in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, while NU gets eight days to prepare for a road trip to No. 2 Ohio State.

Results:
125: #6 Sean Russell (MN) pinned #16 Zeke Moisey (NEB) (5:53) (MN 6, NEB 0)
133: #8 Ethan Lizak (MN) tech. fall Jevon Parrish (NEB), 17-2 (MN 10, NEB 0)
141: #10 Mitchell McKee (MN) dec. #19 Chad Red Jr. (NEB), 9-2 (MN 14, NEB 0)
149: Jordan Shearer (NEB) major dec. #19 Thomas Thorn (MN), 10-2 (MN 14, NEB 4)
157: #2 Tyler Berger (NEB) SV-1 over #8 Steve Bleise (MN), 3-1 (MN 14, NEB 7)
165: #6 Isaiah White (NEB) major dec. Carson Brolsma (MN), 13-5 (MN 14, NEB 11)
174: #9 Mikey Labriola (NEB) dec. #12 Devin Skatzka (MN), 7-6 (NEB 14, MN 14)
184: #6 Taylor Venz (NEB) dec. Brandon Krone (MN), 7-0 (NEB 17, MN 14)
197: #11 Eric Schultz (NEB) major dec. Dylan Anderson (MN), 14-5 (NEB 21, MN 14)
285: #1 Gable Steveson (MN) major dec. #10 David Jensen (NEB), 13-5 (NEB 21, MN 17)
Attendance: 1,322

Up Next:
The Huskers will go on the road next weekend to take on #2 Ohio State on Sunday, Feb. 17 at 1 p.m. CT. NU will have one more home dual against Stanford on Senior Night, Feb. 23. Tickets are on sale at Huskers.com/tickets or by phone at 800-8BIGRED.

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