Taylor Venz's clutch win at 184 pounds clinched Nebraska's victory over Northwestern.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Venz's Clutch Win Helps Huskers Defeat Wildcats by Criteria

By NU Athletic Communications

Evanston, Ill. - Seventh-ranked Taylor Venz's delivered a win in the final match of the night with the Huskers down three team points, and 18th-ranked Nebraska (5-3, 2-1 Big Ten) won by criteria over No. 20 Northwestern (7-2, 2-2 Big Ten) by a score of 19-18 on Friday night at Patten Gym.

With the match tied at 18-18 after 10 bouts, the Huskers won by Criteria 3.15.3 (total match points scored only from decisions, major decisions and technical falls) by a 68-66 margin. Friday marked Nebraska's first-ever win by criteria since tiebreaker rules in collegiate wrestling were changed in the mid-2000s, and flipped the script from the last time Nebraska visited the Land of Lincoln, as NU fell to Illinois by the third criteria, 18-17, two weeks ago.

Nebraska's effort was boosted by bonus-point wins from a pair of Chicago natives, as No. 11 Isaiah White won a technical fall at 165 pounds, while freshman Jason Renteria defeated a ranked opponent by a major decision at 133.

NU also won decisions by No. 12 Chad Red Jr. at 141 and No. 8 Tyler Berger at 157.

While Nebraska trailed the Wildcats, 18-15, entering the final match of the night at 184 pounds, NU led in total match points, 66-65. Venz and Mitch Sliga wrestled to a scoreless tie through two periods, and the Northwestern grappler escaped from Venz's grasp early in the third period to take a 1-0 lead, but the Husker scored a clutch takedown in the third period and rode Sliga out to clinch a victory in the bout and the match. With the win, Venz runs his record to 16-3 on the year.

Northwestern began the match on a 10-0 run, as the Wildcats won bouts at 197, heavyweight and 125 pounds, before Renteria notched a 15-5 win over No. 19 Colin Valdiviez. Renteria's win marked his first over a ranked opponent in just his second-career varsity match, as he moves to 2-0 on the season.

Red kept the Nebraska momentum rolling with a 6-2 win over Alec McKenna at 141 pounds, as Red improves to 13-6 on the year. After No. 4 Ryan Deakin of Northwestern won a 11-2 major decision over No. 10 Colton McCrystal at 141 pounds, Berger kept Nebraska within striking distance with a 3-1 decision over Shayne Oster, as NU trailed 14-10 heading into the 165-pound match.

White gave Nebraska its first lead of the match with a 21-6 technical fall over Michael Sepke, as he improves to 16-2 on the year and 7-0 in duals. He scored eight takedowns and a four-point nearfall on his way to his third technical fall of the season.

Northwestern re-took the lead with a win at 174 pounds, as No. 18 Johnny Sebastian won a major decision over Beau Breske, 11-3, before Venz clinched the match for the Big Red.

At 197 pounds, Eric Schultz fell to Zack Chakonis by a 10-9 decision, before Patrick Grayson dropped a 2-1 decision in the first tiebreaker session to Conan Jennings in his first-career dual meet. 10th-ranked Sebastian Rivera defeated Mitchell Maginnis by a score of 17-6.

Nebraska returns to action on Sunday afternoon, as the Huskers welcome 16th-ranked Rutgers to the Devaney Center. Sunday’s matinee is set to begin at 1 p.m. (CT), with a live stream available on BTN Plus and FloWrestling. Fans are reminded that the Rutgers dual starts one hour earlier than most other Sunday home duals this season, as the doors will open at noon. Tickets are available now at Huskers.com/Tickets or by calling 1-800-8-BIG-RED. The first 250 fans will receive a free Nebraska Carhartt stocking cap.

18 Nebraska 19, #20 Northwestern 18
Jan. 19, 2018
Evanston, Ill. (Patten Gym)

Match Results
197: Zack Chakonis (NW) dec. Eric Schultz (NEB), 10-9 (NW 3, NEB 0)
HWT: Conan Jennings (NW) tb-1 Patrick Grayson (NEB), 2-1 (NW 6, NEB 0)W)
125: #10 Sebastian Rivera (NW) major dec. Mitchell Maginnis (NEB), 17-6 (NW 10, NEB 0)
133: Jason Renteria (NEB) major dec. #19 Colin Valdiviez (NW), 15-5 (NW 10, NEB 4)
141: #12 Chad Red Jr. (NEB) dec. Alec McKenna (NW), 6-2 (NW 10, NEB 7)
149: #4 Ryan Deakin (NW) major dec. #10 Colton McCrystal (NEB), 11-2 (NW 14, NEB 7)
157: #8 Tyler Berger (NEB) dec. Shayne Oster (NW), 3-1 (NW 14, NEB 10)
165: #11 Isaiah White (NEB) tech. fall Michael Sepke (NW), 21-6 (NEB 15, NW 14)
174: #18 Johnny Sebastian (NW) major dec. Beau Breske (NEB), 11-3 (NW 18, NEB 15)
184: #7 Taylor Venz (NEB) dec. Mitch Sliga (NW), 2-1 (NEB 18, NW 18)
Note: Nebraska won by criteria 3.15.3 (total match points, 68-66) (NEB 19, NW 18)

MORE NEWS

More News Sponsor - First National Bank

TICKETS

Tickets Sponsor - StubHub