We have a saying in Guns N’ Roses: ‘When somebody’s gonna get yelled at, they’re gonna get the corn.’
-Axl Rose, greatest lead singer of GNR ever
I don’t have another good corn comeback otherwise there would be one. Any help?
So we’re nearly a week removed from our hostile takeover in Illinois and we find ourselves on the road once again, this time traveling to the opposite border of our state. We’re venturing westerly and into the nasty lands of Nebraska and its
majestic capital, Lincoln, to face the #6 ranked Cornhuskers, on Sunday, February 3rd at 12PM CT.
Iowa is facing some pretty heavy criticism after last week (which I plan to dive into in another post) with the supposed ducking of Spencer Lee and Kaleb Young. So perhaps it’s fair to raise the question here as well: Will Lee and Young go against more top ranked opponents? What about our five other wrestlers that are facing ranked guys? Will they all duck? Will we have five backups in and still win? Probably.
Per usual, our Iowa Hawkeyes have dominated the Candy Cornhuskers over the years and amassed an overall record of 31-10-1. You have to venture back to the Jim Zalesky era to find the last time we lost to them, which was 24-13 in 2005.
Furthermore, Tom Brands has a perfect record against our border rival, going 9-0. Nebraska offers an incredibly tough match up, in fact, they’re a tough match up for just about anyone, but we should handle them and push Brands’ record to a perfect 10-0 lifetime.
These guys have an incredibly tough dual team and are a nightmare match up for nearly everyone, though whether or not the entire team shows up is another question all together. Regardless, they have the talent to contend for a team trophy this year, so let’s hope they don’t piece it all together, especially starting Sunday, because over the past few weeks it looks like they’re trending that direction.
As a team they’re 9-3 with no bad loses. They’ve knocked off #18 Wyoming, #12 North Carolina, #14 Northern Iowa, and placed 3rd at the Cliff Keen Invitational to name a few. They took an early season loss to #17 Wisconsin 21-22, #7 NC State 17-18, and more recently to Penn State 6-25. More impressively against PSU, they only lost one match by bonus point, which was at 133lbs. Nebraska held all of PSU’s heavy hitters to decision and quite honestly, gave them a run for their money. It was much closer than the final score indicated.
They have seven wrestlers appearing in the Flowrestling rankings and it would be eight, but Chad Red (141lbs) recently dropped out after a rough January stretch, though he is still ranked #19 on Intermat and #16 on Trackwrestling. Four are in the top ten and two are in the top five led by #2 Tyler Berger (157lbs) and #3 Taylor Venz (184lbs).
To top it off they have four returning All-Americans, Zeke Moisey, Tyler Berger, Taylor Venz, and Chad Red. Moisey and Berger are both 2x AA’s.
Nebraska last wrestled on January 27 and beat up on #12 Illinois 30-9. We beat the same team two days earlier 31-8. Nebby lost their first three matches then stormed back and won seven straight: four by bonus, including three pins. That was fresh off the competitive PSU dual, so it goes without saying that these guys are starting to peak and we need to be ready for them.
First and foremost, I want to give Austin DeSanto some recognition, he’s been on a tear lately and now finds himself sitting at #3 in the rankings at 133lbs, which is a career high.
We’re putting our undefeated record on the line when we step into the Bob Devaney Sports Center. After the back-to-back wins over Illinois and Northwestern we’ve had a solid week to recover so hopefully our lineup will be back to full strength with the welcome returns of Spencer Lee and Kaleb Young. Oh wait… it appears that dreams DO come true.
On paper we’re favored in seven of the ten matches and I say this every week because there ain’t nuthin’ truer, but this dual will be decided by bonus points. We’re heavily favored in three of those matches, so we need our guys to deliver some extra goodies, here’s looking at you Austin DeSanto, Pat Lugo, and Spencer Lee (if you go).
After our lightweights take care of business, we’re going to run into a Nebraska gauntlet because they’re ranked in each weight from 157-285. In fact, we’re only favored in three of the final six bouts, which would be Alex Marinelli, Jacob Warner, and Sam Stoll.
That leaves Kaleb Young, whoever goes at 174lbs, and Cash Wilcke as underdogs. This seems like a prime time opportunity for these guys to step up and knock off higher ranked opponents and start working on building their resumes for B1G/ NCAA seeding purposes.
As I mentioned, on paper, we’re favored in seven, but there are definitely a couple toss ups that could swing this dual in the wrong direction. In my opinion Murin and Warner are both in that category and could go either way.
This is a BIG TIME dual that isn’t getting nearly enough attention so far. There’re seven ranked bouts with two of them being top ten match ups: #7 Kaleb Young vs #2 Tyler Berger and #2 Alex Marinelli vs #6 Isaiah White. Currently Wrestlestat has us projected to win, 26-9, which would be nice.
KEY MATCH UPS:
125: #2 Spencer Lee // Perez Perez vs #14 Zeke Moisey. This bout could have some serious ramifications on the dual. It could literally be a ten-point swing if Lee doesn’t step onto the mat, but I do think we see him. Hopefully Lee is on the mend because he needs more mat time and Moisey is a 2x AA. Let’s put these “ducking” rumors to bed and get out there and shut up all the naysayers. If Lee comes out and dominates Moisey like he should I think it’s safe to say he’s back. We’ll find out soon enough though.
141: #19 Max Murin vs Chad Red: As I mentioned, Red is still ranked in a few other polls and with Murin sitting at #19, this definitely qualifies as a toss-up. Murin has been right there with the top guys in this weight, narrowly losing to #4 Mike Carr (Illinois), #9 Mitch McKee (Minn), and keeping it close against #6 Josh Alber (UNI) at the Midlands. If I remember correctly, he led in two of those matches before falling late, now he needs to learn from his mistakes and get it done. Red is a gamer who has been struggling as of late. I fully expect him to come in and prove that he’s a candidate to repeat as an AA. If Murin takes care of business and Red goes on a roll over his last three duals, this could have a big impact on seeding for both of them.
157: # 7 Kaleb Young vs #2 Tyler Berger. KY struggled to find his offense in his last match against #8 Eric Barone, a match he’d go on to lose 1-3 in SV1. Berger happened pin Barone two days later. Berger is 17-2, with one of those losses coming to #1 Jason Nolf (PSU), 10-4, and the other earlier in the year to #11 Griffith Parriott in SV1, 4-2. Outside of those loses he’s been as dominate as anybody and even handled then ranked #5 Hayden Hidlay (NC State) 5-2, then immediately upset then #2 Ryan Deakin (NW), 6-3. This would be a perfect time for Young to find his offense again and pull off the biggest upset of his career. He has the talent and skill set to keep this match close, now he needs to round the corner and actually pull off the damn win.
165: #2 Alex Marinelli vs #6 Isaiah White. The Bull is putting his perfect 15-0 record on the line against the up and coming Isaiah White. This is going to be the first time these guys have matched up and it’s going to be an all-out slugfest. I’m super stoked for this match! They recently had a common opponent in ex-Hawk, Joey Gunther (Illinois). The Bull DQ’d him thanks to an obscene amount of stall calls and White handled him easily, 7-2. Recently, White also had an 0-2 loss to #1 Vincenzo Joseph (PSU). Anytime you hold Joseph to two-points, it’s noteworthy. I fully expect The Bull to win this match, but don’t expect him to blow White out of the water with his usual power half or ¾ Nelson. This will be workmanlike, similar to a 12 round boxing match. The heavy hands are going to fly.
174: Mitch Bowman // Keegan Shaw vs #9 Mikey Labriola. Labriola is a redshirt freshman and was heavily recruited coming out of Bethlehem, PA. He debuted this year at #11 and now finds himself up to #9. He kicked off the year with a big win over #11 Devin Skatzka (Minn), 10-5. He’s built his record to an impressive 17-4 with no bad losses. In fact, every loss is to a ranked opponent with the most recent being 3-5 to #1 Mark Hall (PSU). This kid is the real deal. Now we still don’t know who is going to go for us between Bowman and Shaw. Allegedly Bowman has been struggling with his weight and is a bit dinged up and that’s what opened the door for Shaw, but it was Shaw that absolutely kicked it in. Will he go again against Labriola? I don’t know, but either way this can be a big time win if we can pull it off. This can go a long way to helping with seeding come March and that right now is the endgame.
184: #16 Cash Wilcke vs #3 Taylor Venz. Venz is a returning AA having placed 4th as a redshirt freshman. He’s 15-3 this year and looking on track for another AA finish, which is exactly where Wilcke wants to be. Cash Money has shown he can hang with the elite at this class. He’s quick enough, fast enough, and dogummit, he’s athletic enough. Now he just needs to be confident in his own skills to get it done. He can’t sit idle through the 1st and 2nd period and pray for the best in the 3rd. He needs to open it up and attack early and often, whether or not he will is the big question. If Cash can knock of Venz he’ll shoot up the rankings and this will give him the big quality win on the season he desperately needs for seeding next month. He really, really needs this victory not only for his resume, but more importantly, for his confidence.
125: #2 Spencer Lee (12-1) vs #14 Zeke Moisey (9-6)
133: #3 Austin DeSanto (13-1) vs Jevon Parrish (13-6) // Tucker Sjomeling (11-5)
141: #19 Max Murin (11-4) vs Chad Red (13-8)
149: #16 Pat Lugo (10-6) vs Jordan Shearer (7-5) // Collin Purinton (8-6)
157: #7 Kaleb Young (13-2) vs #2 Tyler Berger (17-2)
165: #2 Alex Marinelli (15-0) vs #6 Isaiah White (12-4)
174: Keegan Shaw (2-0 dual) // Mitch Bowman (4-4) vs #9 Mikey Labriola (17-4)
184: #16 Cash Wilcke (13-3) vs #3 Taylor Venz (15-3)
197: #5 Jacob Warner (9-2) vs #11 Eric Schultz (16-6)
285: #5 Sam Stoll (6-0) vs #14 David Jensen (12-2)