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Illinois dominant in 31-6 win over Northwestern

EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 9 Illinois took down Northwestern in a dominant 31-6 victory in Evanston on Sunday afternoon, improving to 5-2 on the season. The Illini won eight of the ten matches against the Wildcats, including five-straight matches to wrap up the dual. At 133-pounds, Lucas Byrd picked up his second pin and team-high sixth match win of the season in Sunday's victory.

Justin Cardani found himself in another tight battle with Northwestern's Michael DeAugustino. The 125-pound bout to start the afternoon went down to the wire, as Cardani earned an escape with under 20 seconds to go in the third period, but DeAugustino would pick up a minute of riding time to earn the 2-1 decision.

Lucas Byrd continued his impressive 2021 campaign, improving to 5-1 on the season after defeating Dylan Utterback by fall (5:15). The redshirt freshman notched his second fall of the season in the third period, pushing the Illini in front of the Wildcats, 6-3.

Senior Dylan Duncan wrestled Colin Valdiviez for the eighth time in his career on Sunday afternoon. Duncan got off to a fast start, taking a 4-2 lead into the second period that he would quickly extend with several more takedowns. The senior notched his fourth victory of the season, a 14-4 major decision that extended the Illinois lead to 10-3.

Mike Carr and Yahya Thomas had an entertaining 149-pound bout which ended in a 3-2 decision for Carr. The match had only one takedown in the second period, which ended up being the difference-maker in the low-scoring bout which extended the Illinois lead, 13-3. Johnny Mologousis was defeated in an 8-2 decision, dropping the 157-pound bout to Northwestern's Maxx Mayfield.

Danny Braunagel returned to the mat after missing the last three duals as a result of a hand injury, and the redshirt sophomore did not miss a beat. Braunagel got off to a slow start in the first period, but ended up racking up 24 points in an impressive major decision victory for the Illini. Trey Sizemore impressed in his second start this season, earning a 4-3 decision and fifth win of the afternoon for the Illini. The tight 174-pound bout extended the Illinois lead to 20-6.

Zac Braunagel secured the third straight win for the Illini at 184-pounds with another major decision victory to add on to the Illini lead. Braunagel was aggressive throughout the bout, notching 12 points en route to another victory for the redshirt sophomore. Matt Wroblewski won another match for the Illini at 197-pounds, his fifth match win of the season. The 8-0 major decision victory for the redshirt junior gave Illinois a 30-6 edge over the Wildcats.

Luke Luffman and Jack Heyob wrapped up Sunday afternoon's dual with an exciting heavyweight bout, which Luffman would end up winning by decision, 7-2.

Results:
125: Michael DeAugustino (NW) over Justin Cardani (ILL) (Dec 2-1)
133: Lucas Byrd (ILL) over Dylan Utterback (NW) (Fall 5:15)
141: Dylan Duncan (ILL) over Colin Valdiviez (NW) (MD 14-4)
149: Michael Carr (ILL) over Yahya Thomas (NW) (Dec 3-2)
157: Maxx Mayfield (NW) over Johnny Mologousis (ILL) (Dec 8-2)
165: Dan Braunagel (ILL) over David Ferrante (NW) (MD 24-11)
174: Trey Sizemore (ILL) over Troy Fisher (NW) (Dec 4-3)
184: Zach Braunagel (ILL) over Jack Jessen (NW) (MD 12-2)
197: Matt Wroblewski (ILL) over Jon Halvorsen (NW) (MD 8-0)
HWT: Luke Luffman (ILL) over Jack Heyob (NW) (Dec 7-2)

Extra Matches:
141: We Rachal (ILL) over Matt Vinci (NW) (MD 15-3)
141: Danny Pucino (ILL) over Frankie Tal Shahar (NW) (Dec 6-2)
149: Trevor Chumbley (NW) over Christian Kanzler (ILL) (Dec 3-0)
165: Ankhaa Enkhmandakh (NW) over Luke Odom (ILL) (Dec)

Up Next:
No. 9 Illinois returns to State Farm Center for the final dual of the regular season, hosting No. 7 Nebraska on February 21. The dual meet will air on ESPNU, and the start time is to be announced.

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