Tyler Berger defeated No. 13 Kyle Langenderfer by an 11-2 major decision on Friday night.
Photo by Allyssa Hynes/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Fall by Criteria to Illinois in Big Ten Opener

By NU Athletic Communications

Champaign, Ill. - No. 20 Nebraska's losing streak hit three as the Huskers fell by criteria in their Big Ten opener to 12th-ranked Illinois, 18-17, on Friday night at Huff Hall.

After all 10 matches, the teams were tied at 17-17, but the Fighting Illini won on criteria 3.15.3 (total match points scored only from decisions, major decisions and technical falls), 51-49. The Huskers fall to 2-3 on the year and 0-1 in Big Ten action, while Illinois improves to 2-2 and 1-1 in Big Ten competition.

The Huskers were aided by bonus-point wins from NU's two returning NCAA qualifiers, Colton McCrystal and Tyler Berger, as the pair recorded back-to-back major decisions at 149 pounds and 157 pounds, respectively. NU also got decisions from Beau Breske (174), Eric Schultz (197) and David Jensen (HWT).

With the match tied at 14-14 following Schultz's 4-2 win over Andre Lee in the second sudden-victory period, NU's Jensen put the Huskers on top, 17-14, with a 7-2 decision over Deuce Rachal. With total match points tied at 47-47 following the heavyweight match, the Huskers needed an outright win at 125 pounds to claim victory, but Mitchell Maginnis fell in a hard-fought match by a score of 4-2 to 15th-ranked Travis Piotrowski.

The match opened with a pair of Illinois victories at 133 and 141, before McCrystal and Berger put NU on top with a pair of wins. Eighth-ranked McCrystal improved to 10-2 on the season with a 8-0 victory over Eric Barone, while the All-American Berger took down his sixth ranked opponent of the season in a 11-2 victory over No. 13 Kyle Langenderfer. Berger, the ninth-ranked wrestler at 157 pounds according to InterMat, improves to 11-4 on the season with his fourth major decision, a mark that leads NU starters.

Following a technical fall from two-time NCAA champion Isaiah Martinez for Illinois at 165 pounds, Beau Breske won his second consecutive dual match with a 4-2 win over David Riojas.

Sixth-ranked Taylor Venz held a 7-1 third-period lead over 12th-ranked Emery Parker, but the Illinois grappler reeled off eight straight points with a takedown and a pair of nearfalls to clinch a 9-7 victory at 184 pounds.

Friday marked Nebraska's first match decided by criteria since a 17-16 loss at Rutgers on Dec. 12, 2015.

The Huskers will return home to host Maryland on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Devaney Center. Tickets are on sale now at Huskers.com/Tickets or by calling 1-800-8-BIG-RED. The match will be streamed live on BTN Plus and FloWrestling.

#12 Illinois 18, #20 Nebraska 17
Jan. 5, 2018
Champaign, Ill. (Huff Hall)

Match Results
133:  #20 Dylan Duncan (ILL) dec. Brian Peska (NEB), 6-1 (ILL 3, NEB 0)
141:  Mike Carr (ILL) dec. #8 Chad Red Jr. (NEB), 6-3 (ILL 6, NEB 0)
149: #8 Colton McCrystal (NEB) major dec. Eric Barone (ILL), 8-0 (ILL 6, NEB 4)
157: #9 Tyler Berger (NEB) major dec. #13 Kyle Langenderfer (ILL), 11-2 (NEB 8, ILL 6)
165: #2 Isaiah Martinez (ILL) tech. fall Johnny Blankenship (NEB), 18-2 (ILL 11, NEB 8)
174: Beau Breske (NEB) dec. David Riojas (ILL), 4-2 (NEB 11, ILL 11)
184: #12 Emery Parker (ILL) dec. #6 Taylor Venz (NEB), 9-7 (ILL 14, NEB 11)
197: Eric Schultz (NEB) sv-2 Andre Lee (ILL), 4-2 (NEB 14, ILL 14)
HWT: David Jensen (NEB) dec. Deuce Rachal (ILL), 7-2 (NEB 17, ILL 14)
125: #15 Travis Piotrowski (ILL) dec. Mitchell Maginnis (NEB), 4-2 (ILL 17, NEB 17)
Note: Illinois won by criteria 3.15.3 (total match points, 51-49) (ILL 18, NEB 17)


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