The Huskers and Hawkeyes will battle at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Hit the Road for Showdown with Iowa

By NU Athletic Communications
No. 13 Nebraska (10-4, 4-3) vs. No. 2 Iowa (16-1, 6-0)
Carver-Hawkeye Arena • Iowa City, Iowa • Sunday, Feb. 10 • 2 p.m.
Series History: Nebraska trails, 8-22-2
Last Meeting: Iowa won, 24-9, on Jan. 13, 2012, in Lincoln, Neb.
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Following a dramatic win in the final match at the NU Coliseum, the No. 13 Nebraska wrestling team travels to Iowa City, Iowa to face the No. 2 Hawkeyes on Sunday at 2 p.m. 

The match will take place at Carver-Hawkeye Arena and will be available through online streaming on the Big Ten Digital Network. A video subscription to BTDN is required to view the match through the link above. Live stats are on Twitter updates will also be available throughout the meet by following @HuskerWrestling.

Last Friday night, the Huskers jumped out to an early 11-0 lead over Michigan State before the Spartans responded to take a 19-17 lead into the final match. Redshirt freshman Austin Wilson (165) delivered for NU by pinning Nick Proctor in 3:45. Wilson’s second pin of the season gave the Huskers a 23-19 victory, their 10th of the 2012-13 campaign.

The Huskers and Hawkeyes have faced off 32 times in their histories, with Iowa holding a 22-8-2 advantage. Nebraska lost the most recent meeting on Jan. 13, 2012 in Lincoln, Neb., by a 24-9 margin.

Following the road trip to Iowa City, the Huskers will compete at the NWCA National Duals, Feb. 17 and 24, with the site to be determined. On March 9-10, Nebraska will make its second appearance at the Big Ten Championships in Champaign, Ill. The 2012-13 season will conclude at the NCAA Championships, March 21-23, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Wilson will start at 165 pounds for the Huskers following his clutch performance against the Spartans. He is 24-9 on the season and will be making his 11th dual start. 

Seniors Josh Ihnen (184) and Ridge Kiley (141), who were honored as part of Senior Night festivities last Friday night, will appear in the NU lineup. Both wrestlers won their matches against Michigan State.

Juniors Shawn Nagel (133) and Caleb Kolb (197) are expected to start against Iowa in their respective weight classes. The Huskers forfeited at 133 pounds against the Spartans, but Kolb picked up his 14th win of the season at 197 pounds. 

Four sophomores will start for Nebraska on Sunday afternoon: Jake Sueflohn (149), James Green (157), Robert Kokesh (174) and Spencer Johnson (HWT). Sueflohn and Johnson will look to bounce back following losses, while Green and Kokesh seek to take down top-five opponents.

Freshman Eric Coufal will make his 12th start of the season at 125 pounds. 

A full recap will be available on following the dual.

Last Time Out: Wilson’s Pin Caps Final Dual at Coliseum
No. 13 Nebraska trailed heading into the final match on Friday, Feb. 1 at the NU Coliseum against Michigan State, 19-17, before redshirt freshman Austin Wilson pinned Nick Proctor. Wilson’s fall gave the Huskers a 23-19 victory over Michigan State.

Nebraska improves to 10-4 on the season, with a 4-3 record in Big Ten duals. The Spartans fall to 4-10 and 0-6 in Big Ten competition.

Wilson (165) faced a 2-0 deficit in the second period against Proctor before a takedown that led to the pin in 3:45. The NU Coliseum crowd of 1,742 erupted following the win, which propelled the Huskers to victory. Wilson improves to 24-9 with a 7-3 record in duals. He picked up his seventh consecutive win dating back to last weekend’s third-place finish at the Grand View Open.

Sophomore Robert Kokesh (174) extended his winning streak to 22 with a 19-3 technical fall over Michigan State’s Jordan Wohlfert. Kokesh, who is ranked No. 3 by InterMat, improves to 27-1 with the win and 13-1 in dual competition. The technical fall was his fifth of the 2012-13 campaign.

Josh Ihnen, who was one of five Huskers honored as part of the Senior Night festivities, continued the NU momentum with a 6-1 decision over John Rizqallah at 184 pounds. Ihnen, who is ranked eighth by InterMat, moves to 19-3 on the season. He picked up the 92nd victory of his career with the win.

Junior Caleb Kolb extended the Nebraska lead to 11-0 with his 4-1 decision over the Spartans’ Nick McDiarmid at 197 pounds. Kolb snapped a five-match losing streak and improves to 10-14 overall and 5-9 in duals.

The Huskers suffered three consecutive losses at heavyweight, 125 and 133 en route to a 13-11 Spartan lead. Sophomore Spencer Johnson (HWT) was tied with No. 7 Michael McClure, 2-2, in the third period before a McClure takedown. The Spartan junior added a point for riding time en route to a 5-2 decision for his 26th win of the season. Johnson drops to 2-3 with the loss.

Freshman Eric Coufal fell by a 14-1 major decision at 125 pounds to Brennan Lyon. The Huskers took an 11-7 lead into intermission, where gold medalist Jordan Burroughs and Athletic Director Emeritus Tom Osborne were honored. The Huskers forfeited the first match following the break at 133 pounds, giving Michigan State a slim 13-11 lead.

Senior Ridge Kiley (141) responded with an 8-2 decision over Nick Trimble to regain the lead in the dual, 14-13. The Spartans struck back at 149 pounds as Dan Osterman pinned No. 7 Jake Sueflohn in 2:55. Sueflohn, a sophomore, suffered his fourth loss of the season and drops to 8-3 in duals. Michigan State took a 19-14 lead into the final two matches.

No. 6 James Green (157) won a 5-2 decision over Ryan Watts to give the Huskers hope before Wilson’s pin ultimately secured the win. Green improves to 16-2 on the season and 9-1 in duals.

Scouting the Iowa Hawkeyes
No. 2 Iowa is 16-1 on the season with a 6-0 record in Big Ten duals. In their most recent outing, the Hawkeyes took down then-No. 1 Penn State at home, 22-16, on Friday, Feb. 1. Iowa has won four consecutive matches dating back to an 18-12 loss at then-No. 2 Oklahoma State on Jan. 13. The Hawkeyes will face No. 8 Illinois on Friday night before their dual against the Huskers in Iowa City on Sunday.

Iowa has two top-ranked wrestlers and an additional undefeated grappler ranked No. 2. Senior Matt McDonough (125) and junior Derek St. John (157) are a combined 31-0 and both ranked first in their respective weight classes. Junior Tony Ramos (133) is 17-0 and ranked second by InterMat. No. 4 Mike Evans (174), No. 6 Bobby Telford (HWT) and No. 8 Mark Ballweg (141) round out the top 10 wrestlers for the Hawkeyes. Additional ranked competitors for Iowa include No. 13 Nick Moore (165), No. 14 Ethen Lofthouse (184) and No. 19 Nathan Burak (197). 

Iowa is coached by Tom Brands, who is in his seventh year as head coach of the Hawkeyes. He holds a 127-11-1 record at the school and a 144-31-1 record in more than eight years overall.

Kokesh at 22 Straight Wins and Counting
Sophomore Robert Kokesh (174) has won 22 consecutive matches heading into Sunday afternoon’s dual against No. 2 Iowa. In seven of his last eight matches, Kokesh has faced top-20 opponents, including No. 3 Matt Brown of Penn State, who he took down in a 10-7 decision. Kokesh has defeated four additional ranked opponents during the stretch. Against the Hawkeyes, Kokesh will face No. 4 Mike Evans, who is 12-2 on the season.

Kokesh captured the Midlands Invitational title and Cliff Keen Invitational crown during his run. His last loss came on Nov. 16 against Logan Storley of Minnesota. 

Kokesh is 27-1 on the season with a 13-1 record in duals. He leads all starters with eight pins. The Wagner, S.D. native also has five technical falls and six major decisions. Kokesh was named Big Ten Co-Wrestler of the Week on Jan. 2. 

Kiley Emerging at 141
Senior Ridge Kiley has started the last nine duals at 141 pounds after sophomore Skylar Galloway started four of the first five. Kiley appeared in the NU lineup for the opening match of the season against Northern Colorado on Nov. 10. He also wrestled at 149 pounds against Wyoming on Nov. 11.

Kiley is 13-7 on the season with an 8-3 mark in dual competition. He holds a 3-4 record against ranked opponents and has appeared in InterMat’s top 20 several times this season. Kiley posted a seventh-place finish at the Cliff Keen Invitational, Nov. 30-Dec. 1, compiling a 4-2 record in the process. 

Galloway is 7-5 with a 2-3 dual record. Kiley is expected to start at 141 pounds on Sunday afternoon against Iowa.

Johnson Stepping In at Heavyweight
Sophomore Spencer Johnson moved up from 197 pounds to heavyweight this season and has competed for the Huskers in their last five duals. Johnson is 4-4 with a 2-3 dual record. 

Following a 1-1 showing against Michigan and Northwestern, Jan. 11-12, Johnson won a crucial 3-1 decision over Illinois’ Chris Lopez en route to a Nebraska victory on Jan. 18. Last Friday, Johnson fell by a 5-2 decision to No. 7 Michael McClure of Michigan State.

Manning Closing In On 200 Career Victories
Nebraska Head Coach Mark Manning is three wins shy of the 200th of his career. Manning, who is in his 16th year as a head coach, holds a 197-93-5 record. He has spent over 12 seasons with Nebraska, where he is 174-69-3. Prior to coaching the Huskers, Manning spent three seasons with Northern Iowa, compiling a 23-24-2 record with the Panthers. 

The Huskers have three duals remaining in the 2012-13 season, including Sunday afternoon’s matchup with Iowa.

Ihnen Climbing Up Wins List
Senior Josh Ihnen (184) is eight wins shy of the 100th of his career at Nebraska. Ihnen holds a 92-36 record in more than three years with the Huskers. He is 50-21 in dual competition. This season Ihnen is 19-3 overall with first-place showings at the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open and the Cliff Keen Invitational. He has an 11-3 record in duals and a 7-3 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 four wrestlers ranked in the top 15 of the latest InterMat poll, released on Feb. 5. Sophomore Robert Kokesh achieved the highest ranking on the team. He is second at 174 pounds following a 19-3 technical fall over Michigan State’s Jordan Wohlfert. Fellow sophomore James Green is No. 6 at 157 pounds after his 5-2 win over Ryan Watts. Jake Sueflohn dropped four spots to 11th at 149 pounds after being pinned by Dan Osterman of Michigan State. Senior Josh Ihnen is eighth at 184 pounds. He posted a 6-1 decision last Friday night. 

The WIN Magazine rankings were released on Feb. 4 and feature the same four Huskers in its poll. Kokesh leads the way at third, but Green is not far behind at No. 6 in his weight class. Ihnen rounds out the top 10 at seventh, while Sueflohn is No. 12.

In the Amateur Wrestling News poll, released on Feb. 5, all four Huskers achieved top 10 rankings. Kokesh jumped to No. 2 after being third last week. Green held his No. 6 position from a week ago. Ihnen held on to the No. 7 ranking and Sueflohn dropped to 10th after being No. 8.

As a team, Nebraska is ranked in the top 15 of the InterMat, WIN Magazine and NWCA/USA Today Coaches rankings. The Huskers are 13th in the InterMat poll, 12th in WIN Magazine and 13th in the NWCA poll.

Kokesh Earns Weekly Big Ten Honor, Jan. 2
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 16-2 on the season with a 9-1 mark in dual competition. Kokesh is 27-1 and leads all starters with eight pins this season. He is 13-1 in duals and has won 22 consecutive matches. Sueflohn has a 17-4 record in 2012-13, which includes an 8-3 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 4-4 with a 2-3 record in dual competition.

The sophomore class leads the team with 36 individual dual victories from six different starters. The seniors are 20-10 on the season with four different Huskers appearing in the lineup. The two juniors who have competed have compiled an 11-16 record. The redshirt freshmen have started two different wrestlers and have won nine matches. Three freshmen have started and earned one victory.

Against the Spartans, the seniors led the way with a 2-0 record. The juniors and redshirt freshmen each went 1-0, while the sophomores compiled a 2-2 record. The freshmen went 0-1. NU forfeited its match at 133 pounds.

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 Working Through Challenging Schedule
Nebraska has faced a rigorous schedule this season with three duals remaining as well as the Big Ten Championships and NCAA Championships. The Huskers have wrestled against six teams that are currently ranked in the NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll, released on Feb. 5. Nebraska will face its seventh ranked opponent on Sunday at No. 2 Iowa.

NU has already wrestled against No. 3 Penn State, No. 4 Minnesota, No. 8 Illinois, No. 18 Wisconsin, No. 19 Michigan and No. 21 Wyoming. The Huskers have victories over the Fighting Illini, Wolverines and Cowboys, but have losses against the Nittany Lions, Golden Gophers and Badgers.

In addition, Maryland and Northwestern were ranked when Nebraska faced them earlier this season. NU lost to then-No. 18 Maryland on Dec. 16 at the Grapple at the Garden, but took down then-No. 18 Northwestern in Evanston, Ill., on Jan. 12.

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 on Big Ten Digital Network for the final time this season in Sunday afternoon’s showdown against No. 2 Iowa. 

The Huskers were featured on BTDN for their home matches against Minnesota, Arizona State, Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan State as well as their road matches against Northwestern and Penn State. 

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.

For information on the BTN and BTDN wrestling schedules, go to the BTN/BTN2Go/BTDN Olympic Sports TV schedule page.


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