No. 13 Nebraska (9-3, 3-2) vs. No. 1 Penn State (7-0, 4-0)
Rec Hall • University Park, Pa. • Sunday, Jan. 27 • 1 p.m.
Series History: NU trails, 5-8-1
Last Meeting: Penn State won, 31-6, on Feb. 3, 2012, in Lincoln, Neb.
Video (subscription required): http://video.btn.com/allaccess/
Fresh off three consecutive wins over ranked Big Ten opponents, the No. 13 Nebraska wrestling team travels to Rec Hall in University Park, Pa. to face No. 1 Penn State on Sunday at 1 p.m. The dual will be streamed online on the Big Ten Digital Network. A link is provided above to BTDN and a subscription is required to view the match.
In their most recent outing, the Huskers upset No. 5 Illinois at home, 18-15, on Friday, Jan. 18. The victory marked NU’s first win over a top-five opponent since 2008 as it won its third consecutive dual over a ranked opponent. Nebraska went on the road Jan. 11-12 and took down No. 11 Michigan and No. 18 Northwestern in their respective home facilities.
The Huskers and Nittany Lions have faced off 14 times in their histories, with Penn State holding an 8-5-1 advantage. The Nittany Lions won the most recent meeting with the Huskers, 31-6, on Feb. 3, 2012, in Lincoln, Neb.
At 165 pounds, the Huskers will start either Austin Wilson or Tyler Koehn. Koehn, a senior, started last weekend against Illinois, falling by a 10-4 decision to No. 8 Conrad Polz. Koehn is 4-2 on the season with a 1-1 mark in dual competition. Wilson, a redshirt freshman, did not compete last weekend but holds a 16-8 record on the season. He is 6-3 in duals in 2012-13.
Following a crucial victory against the Illini last Friday night, sophomore Spencer Johnson will start for the Huskers at heavyweight against Penn State. Johnson is 2-1 on the season, which includes his 3-1 decision over Chris Lopez of Illinois.
Sophomore Robert Kokesh will look to continue his streak of 20 consecutive victories at 174 pounds on Sunday afternoon. Kokesh is 25-1 with six straight wins over ranked opponents, including his 8-3 decision over No. 8 Jordan Blanton of Illinois in his most recent outing.
Fellow sophomores James Green (157) and Jake Sueflohn (149) also won their matches last weekend and will get the start against the Nittany Lions this weekend. Green is 15-1 with an 8-0 dual mark, while Sueflohn is 16-3 with a 7-2 dual record in 2012-13.
Senior Josh Ihnen (184) defeated No. 18 Tony Dallago of Illinois last Friday night and will look to keep his momentum going against No. 1 Ed Ruth of Penn State on Sunday. Ihnen is 18-2 this season and 10-2 in dual competition. He leads the team with six technical falls this season.
Fellow senior Ridge Kiley will start for Nebraska at 141 pounds. The No. 19 wrestler in InterMat’s poll is 12-6 on the season with a 7-2 dual mark.
Junior Shawn Nagel will get his 13th dual start of the season against Penn State and looks to continue his recent success. Nagel lost a 10-8 decision to No. 11 Daryl Thomas last weekend, but went 2-0 against nationally ranked Michigan and Northwestern two weeks ago.
Freshman Eric Coufal (125) and junior Caleb Kolb (197) will also start for the Huskers against PSU. Kolb is 9-13 this season, while Coufal has two victories.
Last Time Out: Huskers Upset No. 5 Illinois, 18-15
All five of No. 14 Nebraska’s nationally ranked wrestlers won their matches on Friday, Jan. 18, to lead the Huskers to an 18-15 upset of No. 5 Illinois at the NU Coliseum.
Junior Shawn Nagel (133) opened the dual with a back-and-forth battle against No. 11 Daryl Thomas of Illinois. Nagel, however, couldn’t keep his momentum going from last weekend’s success as he fell by a 10-8 decision. With the loss, he drops to 12-10 on the season and 6-6 in duals.
The Huskers won the next three matches by decision to build an early 9-3 lead against the Illini. No. 19 Ridge Kiley (141) earned the first win by a 4-0 margin over Logan Arlis. The senior from Eagle Grove, Iowa moves to 12-6 on the season and 7-2 in dual competition.
At 149 pounds, No. 12 Jake Sueflohn won an 8-1 decision over Illinois’ Caleb Ervin. The victory marked the sophomore’s 16th of the season as he goes to 7-2 in duals. Fellow sophomore James Green continued the NU momentum with his 9-4 decision over Matt Nora. Green is 3-0 since returning from injury.
Senior Tyler Koehn earned the start at 165 pounds for the second time this season in duals. He lost a 10-4 decision to No. 8 Conrad Polz to cut the NU lead to 9-6. Koehn falls to 4-2 on the season and 1-1 in duals.
No. 4 Robert Kokesh (174) and No. 8 Josh Ihnen (184) responded with wins in the next two weight classes to give the Huskers a 15-6 lead. Kokesh, a sophomore, won an 8-3 decision over No. 8 Jordan Blanton. The victory marks Kokesh’s 20th straight of the season as he improves to 25-1 overall and 11-1 in duals. He also earned his sixth consecutive victory over a ranked opponent as he improves to 10-1 against ranked foes in 2012-13.
Ihnen, a senior, battled in a back-and-forth match against No. 18 Tony Dallago. Ihnen trailed 4-3 in the third period before a technical violation by Dallago followed by an escape that secured a 5-4 win. Ihnen earned his 91st collegiate victory on Friday night as he improves to 18-2 and 10-2 in duals.
At 197 pounds, the Illini bounced back as No. 11 Mario Gonzalez took down Nebraska’s Caleb Kolb in a 4-3 decision. The match cut the Husker lead to 15-9 with two matches to go. Kolb trailed 3-0 in the first period, but a takedown in the second period and an escape in the third period kept him in the match before Gonzalez held on. Kolb drops to 9-13 on the season and 4-8 in duals.
Sophomore Spencer Johnson made his third appearance of the season at heavyweight following a 1-1 weekend against the Wolverines and Wildcats. The crowd of 1,365 roared as Johnson defeated Illinois’ Chris Lopez, 3-1, to give the Huskers an 18-9 advantage heading into the final match.
At 125 pounds, freshman Eric Coufal was pinned by No. 5 Jesse Delgado of Illinois in 6:55, but it wasn’t enough as Nebraska held on for an 18-15 victory.
Scouting the Penn State Nittany Lions
No. 1 Penn State is 7-0 on the season with a 4-0 record in Big Ten duals. The Nittany Lions opened their season with a 29-6 victory over Lehigh at home. Penn State has road wins at West Virginia and Purdue. In addition, the Nittany Lions have shut out conference foes Indiana and Michigan State. No team has scored more than six points against PSU in 2012-13 as the Nittany Lions have outscored their seven opponents 279-21.
Penn State has three wrestlers with perfect records on the season: Andrew Alton (149), Ed Ruth (184) and Quentin Wright (197). Ruth is first in the country in InterMat’s most recent poll, while Alton and Wright are each No. 3 in their respective weight class. In addition to the trio, the Nittany Lions have three other wrestlers in the top five of their weight class. Nico Megaludis (125) and David Taylor (165) are each No. 2, while Matt Brown is third at 174. Dylan Alton is No. 6 at 157 to round out the top 10. At heavyweight, Jon Gingrich is 17th.
The Nittany Lions are coached by Cael Sanderson, who is in his fourth year as head coach. He holds a 50-8-2 record in his time at Penn State. Sanderson’s career record is 92-18-2 in six years as head coach.
Nebraska Looks to Continue Success on the Road
Nebraska is 4-0 in true road duals this season, with three of those victories coming over ranked opponents. The Huskers opened their dual season with a 28-9 win over Northern Colorado on Nov. 10. The following day, NU defeated No. 19 Wyoming, 22-15, in Laramie, Wyo.
Two weeks ago, the Huskers took down a pair of Big Ten ranked opponents on the road. On Jan. 11, Nebraska outlasted No. 11 Michigan, 20-19, in Ann Arbor, Mich., before prevailing over No. 18 Northwestern, 25-12, the following day in Evanston, Ill.
In home duals, the Huskers have a 4-2 record, which includes last weekend’s 18-15 win over No. 5 Illinois. At neutral sites, the Huskers are 1-1 with both of those matches taking place at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 16.
The Huskers will look to continue their road success at No. 1 Penn State on Sunday.
Manning Closing In On 200 Career Victories
Nebraska Head Coach Mark Manning is four wins shy of the 200th of his career. Manning, who is in his 16th year as head coach, holds a 196-92-5 record. He has spent over 12 seasons with Nebraska, where he holds a 173-68-3 record. Prior to coaching the Huskers, Manning spent three seasons with Northern Iowa, compiling a 23-24-2 record with the Panthers.
The Huskers have five duals remaining in the 2012-13 season, including Sunday’s matchup with No. 1 Penn State.
Ihnen Climbing Up Wins List
Senior Josh Ihnen (184) is nine wins shy of the 100th of his career at Nebraska. Ihnen holds a 91-35 record in more than three years with the Huskers. He is 49-20 in dual competition. This season Ihnen is 18-2 overall with first-place showings at the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open and the Cliff Keen Invitational. He has a 9-2 record in duals and 6-2 mark against ranked opponents.
Last season Ihnen earned All-America accolades following a 26-8 record. He went 16-3 in duals and posted eight major decisions in his junior season. As a sophomore in 2010-11, Ihnen went 28-10 with a 14-5 dual record. During his redshirt-freshman season, he compiled a 19-15 record, going 10-10 in duals. In both 2010 and 2011, Ihnen fell one match short of a top-eight finish at the NCAA Championships before finishing eighth in 2012.
Huskers in the Rankings
Nebraska has five wrestlers ranked in the latest InterMat poll, released on Jan. 22. Sophomores Robert Kokesh and James Green each achieved the highest ranking on the team in their respective weight classes. Kokesh is fourth at 174 pounds and Green is fourth at 157. Josh Ihnen rounds out the Huskers in the top 10. The senior is No. 8 at 184 pounds following a win over No. 18 Tony Dallago of Illinois last Friday night. Sophomore Jake Sueflohn remained 12th at 149 pounds after a victory over Illinois’ Caleb Ervin. Senior Ridge Kiley is 19th at 141 pounds after a 4-0 victory over Logan Arlis.
The WIN Magazine rankings were released on Jan. 21 and feature four Huskers in its top 15. Kokesh leads the way at third, but Green is not far behind at fifth in his weight class. Ihnen is seventh and Sueflohn is 14th.
In the Amateur Wrestling News poll, released on Jan. 22, three Huskers are in the top 10 and two others are in the top 20. Green and Kokesh retained their rankings from last week. Green is No. 2 and Kokesh is third. Ihnen is the third wrestler in the top 10 at seventh. Sueflohn earned the No. 13 ranking and Kiley is 18th.
As a team, Nebraska is ranked in the top 15 of the InterMat, WIN Magazine and NWCA/USA Today Coaches rankings. The Huskers are 12th in the InterMat poll, 13th in WIN Magazine and 13th in the NWCA poll.
Kokesh Earns Weekly Big Ten Honor
Sophomore Robert Kokesh earned Big Ten Co-Wrestler-of-the-Week accolades with Northwestern’s Jason Welch, the conference announced on Wednesday, Jan. 2.
Kokesh took home the Midlands Invitational title at 174 pounds on Sunday, Dec. 30, winning six matches to extend his winning streak to 17 and improve his record to 22-1 on the season. The Wagner, S.D. native outscored his opponents 46-7 and added two pins to extend his number to eight on the season. He won two more of his matches by major decision and one by technical fall in addition to his pins.
Kokesh earned the 50th win of his collegiate career in Saturday’s quarterfinals and now has 52 as a Husker. He led the Nebraska wrestling team to a tie-for-15th place finish at the Midlands Invitational with the individual crown.
Kokesh was the last Husker to win Big Ten Wrestler of the Week when he took home the honor on Dec. 13, 2011.
Sophomores Showing Leadership
Sophomores James Green (157), Robert Kokesh (174) and Jake Sueflohn (149) are three of Nebraska’s four nationally ranked starters in InterMat’s latest poll. The trio of sophomores are all in the top 15 of their respective weight classes and all qualified for the NCAA Championships last season.
Green is 15-1 on the season with an 8-0 mark in dual competition after taking down Illinois’ Matt Nora last Friday night. Kokesh is 25-1 and leads all starters with eight pins this season. He is 11-1 in duals and has won 20 consecutive matches. Sueflohn has a 16-3 record in 2012-13, which includes a 7-2 mark in duals.
Fellow sophomores Skylar Galloway (141), Brandon Wilbourn (157) and Spencer Johnson (HWT) have also appeared in the NU lineup this season. Galloway is 7-5 with a 2-3 dual mark, while Wilbourn is 11-3 with a 2-1 dual record and Johnson is 2-1 with a pivotal 3-1 decision last Friday night against Illinois.
The sophomore class leads the team with 32 individual dual victories from six different starters. The seniors are 18-7 on the season with four different Huskers appearing in the lineup. The two juniors who have competed have compiled a 10-14 record. The redshirt freshmen have started two different wrestlers and have won eight matches. Three freshman have started and earned one victory.
Against the Fighting Illini, the sophomores went 4-0, the seniors compiled a 2-1 record, while the juniors went 0-2 and the freshmen 0-1.
Wilson Stepping Up at 165
Redshirt freshman Austin Wilson has started nine of Nebraska’s 12 duals this season and could appear in the lineup this weekend against No. 1 Penn State at 165 pounds.
Wilson has stepped up in one of the most competitive weight classes on the team with a 6-3 dual mark. All three of his dual losses came against ranked conference opponents. Wilson is 16-8 on the season, which includes a 4-2 showing at the Midlands Invitational, Dec. 29-30.
Senior Tyler Koehn and sophomore Brandon Wilbourn have also started for the Huskers at 165 this season. Koehn is 4-2 with a 1-1 mark in dual competition, while Wilbourn is 11-3 with a 2-1 dual mark. Wilbourn has also competed at 157 this season.
Wilson or Koehn will start for the Huskers at 165 on Sunday afternoon against the Nittany Lions.
Huskers Add Three Wrestlers for 2013-14
Nebraska Head Coach Mark Manning announced the signing of three wrestlers on Wednesday, Nov. 21, who will join the Huskers in 2013-14.
Anthony Abidin, Dix Hills, N.Y. (Nassau/Half Hollow Hills East/Calhoun) - 133/141
Abidin joins the Huskers after winning the NJCAA national title at 133 pounds as a freshman in 2012. Wrestling for Nassau Community College, Abidin finished the season ranked 12th following a 28-4 season before making a run to the championship match where he won a 7-4 decision over Iowa Central’s Brandon Wright. Abidin will redshirt this season at Nassau and have three years of eligibility left with Nebraska.
Before Nassau, Abidin wrestled at Half Hollow Hills East High School in Dix Hills, N.Y. As a senior, he went 36-1 en route to the state crown at 125 pounds. Abidin recorded 21 pins, five major decisions and four technical falls during 2011. Abidin also wrestled at Calhoun High School.
Colton McCrystal, Sergeant Bluff, Iowa (Sergeant Bluff-Luton) - 133
McCrystal comes to Nebraska with experience at Sergeant Bluff-Luton in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, where he won the Class 2A state title at 126 pounds as a junior last season. McCrystal compiled a 22-1 record during the season with 11 pins. He is currently ranked No. 20 in the InterMat national rankings at 132 pounds with a 143-8 mark entering his senior season. McCrystal earned a pair of runner-up finishes at the state championship as a freshman and sophomore, competing at 103 pounds in 2010 and 112 in 2011.
Pat Downey, Baltimore, Md. (Oviedo/North County/Loch Raven/Mount St. Joseph) - 184
Downey is a two-time Maryland state champion who is set to join the Huskers in 2013-14. He won his first state title as a sophomore at 160 pounds for Loch Raven, capping an undefeated 35-0 season. As a junior, he compiled a perfect 34-0 record en route a second consecutive state title, this time for North County at 171 pounds. As a freshman, Downey earned a sixth-place finish at 145 pounds while wrestling at Mount St. Joseph.
In addition, Downey won the silver medal at the 2012 FILA Junior World Championships in September. He has spent the last two years at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. He will have four years of eligibility at Nebraska.
Huskers Face Challenging Schedule
Nebraska faces a challenging schedule this season, with eight matches against teams that are currently ranked in the NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll, released on Jan. 22.
The Huskers have already wrestled against No. 3 Minnesota, No. 6 Illinois, No. 14 Wyoming, No. 18 Michigan, No. 20 Wisconsin and No. 23 Northwestern.
Nebraska has victories over Illinois, Wyoming, Michigan and Northwestern. The Huskers’ losses against ranked opponents came while facing Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The Huskers travel to face No. 1 Penn State on Sunday at 1 p.m. Nebraska will also go on the road to wrestle against No. 4 Iowa on Feb. 10 at 2 p.m.
On March 9-10, Nebraska will make its second appearance in the Big Ten Championships in Champaign, Ill. Last season the Huskers produced four top-five finishers. The 2012-13 season concludes March 21-23 at the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. Last year Nebraska finished 21st with 28 points. James Green (157) and Josh Ihnen (184) earned All-America honors, as eight Huskers qualified for the 2012 NCAA Championships.
BTDN to Feature Huskers Eight Times
Nebraska will be featured three more times on Big Ten Digital Network in 2012-13, including Sunday afternoon’s showdown with No. 1 Penn State.
The Huskers will also be on BTDN for their Feb. 1 home dual against Michigan State as well as their road dual on Feb. 10 against Iowa.
The Huskers were featured on BTDN for their home matches against Minnesota, Arizona State, Wisconsin and Illinois as well as their road match against Northwestern. Nebraska was televised on Big Ten Network for its 20-19 victory over Michigan on Jan. 11. The second day of the Big Ten Championships, March 10, will also be televised on BTN.
Throughout the season, go to the BTN/BTN2Go/BTDN Olympic Sports TV schedule page for the most up-to-date information on the BTN and BTDN wrestling schedules.