Colton McCrystal is 4-1 in duals this season, including a pin in his last match against Maryland.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Hope to Keep Momentum Rolling Against Purdue

By NU Athletic Communications

 Friday, Jan. 12  7 p.m. (CT)  Lincoln, Neb. (Bob Devaney Sports Center)
 #19 Nebraska Cornhuskers  3-3 (1-1 Big Ten)  Nebraska Match Notes | @HuskerWrestling
 #22 Purdue Boilermakers  5-2 (0-1 Big Ten)  Purdue Match Notes | @PurdueWrestling
 High School Duals  Tickets  BTN Plus | FloWrestling

No. 19 Nebraska continues its short homestand this Friday, as the Huskers (3-3, 1-1) are set to welcome No. 22 Purdue to the Devaney Center for NU’s only dual of the weekend.

Friday night’s action is set to begin at 7 p.m. (CT), with a live stream available on BTN Plus and FloWrestling.

Prior to NU’s dual at 7, four Nebraska high schools will square off in a pair of duals on two mats on the Devaney Center floor. Kearney will face Omaha Skutt Catholic, while Bennington and David City will grapple beginning at 5 p.m.

Tickets are available and on sale now at, or by calling 1-800-8-BIG-RED.

Five Huskers enter the weekend ranked in the latest InterMat poll, and all are in the top-10 at their weight classes. Taylor Venz is the highest ranked Husker at seventh at 184 pounds. Tyler Berger jumped one spot to eighth at 157 pounds, while Chad Red Jr. and Colton McCrystal are ranked ninth at 141 and 149, respectively. Isaiah White is ranked 10th at 165.

Purdue is 5-2 on the season on the season and 0-1 in Big Ten action after falling to No. 8 Michigan last Sunday. The Boilermaker lineup features three wrestlers ranked in InterMat’s top 20 rankings, led by No. 12 Dylan Lydy, who is 22-8 on the year at 174 pounds. The Huskers have won each of the last six matchups between the two teams and all four as Big Ten foes in a series that dates back to 1929.

Last Time Out

The Huskers snapped a three-match losing streak in impressive fashion, as the Huskers won six matches by bonus points in a 48-3 win over Maryland last Sunday. NU earned four pins over Terrapin wrestlers, as well as a technical fall and a major decision. The Huskers won nine of the 10 matches, and produced its largest dual scoring output since the 2008 season.

Up Next

Nebraska will travel No. 25 Northwestern next Friday, Jan. 19, before returning home to host No. 17 Rutgers on Sunday, Jan. 21 at 2 p.m

Quick Notes

  • Nebraska has outscored its four dual opponents by a combined score of 135-100
  • Nebraska has won 32 of 60 individual matches in dual competition
  • Seven starters have surpassed the 10-win plateau, with Johnny Blankenship (165) leading the way with 18 wins. Mitchell Maginnis has 15 wins, while Taylor Venz (184) and Isaiah White (165) both have 14.
  • Isaiah White (165) is 5-0 in duals this season, while Kris Williams (125) and Jason Renteria (133) are 1-0
  • White (165) has scored the most dual points for Nebraska (19) this season
  • Venz (184) leads all starters in pins (7) this season
  • Blankenship (165) and Venz (184) lead starters with three technical falls a piece this season
  • Tyler Berger (157) leads all starters in major decisions (4) this season

White Shows Consistency in First Season as a Husker

Sophomore Isaiah White (165) is proving his place as one of the top wrestlers at his weight in the country in his first season in a Nebraska singlet. White, who is 5-0 in duals, is the only wrestler to have wrestled in multiple duals to have an undefeated record.

White also leads NU starters in dual points (19) and is second in dual takedowns (16) and has been taken down just once in dual competition. He has outscored his five dual opponents by a combined score of 43-19, not including a pin in his last match.

White has five wins by bonus points on the season, including a pin, two technical falls and two major decisions. He finished second at the Daktronics Open in November and defeated four ranked opponents to finish third at the Cliff Keen Invitational in December. His only losses are to top-11 opponents Nick Wanzek of Minnesota and Te’Shan Campbell of Ohio State.

White won the NCAA Division II title at 165 pounds last season for Notre Dame College (Ohio) before transferring to Nebraska last summer. He went 28-2 overall as a freshman.

Venz Dominating During Redshirt Freshman Campaign

Taylor Venz (184) has a team leading seven pins this season and has three technical falls and one major decision on the year.

At the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, Venz burst on the scene with four pins on the first day of competition, including a pair in under 15 seconds and two more over top-eight opponents. Venz finished third at the tournament, as the previously unranked wrestler jumped to sixth in the next week’s InterMat rankings.

Three of Venz’s four wins in dual matches have come by bonus points, as he has a pin, a technical fall and a major decision.

In a 28-4 redshirt season last year, Venz pinned eight opponents, defeated seven by tech fall and won six major decisions.

Experienced Pair Back to Business

Tyler Berger (157) and Colton McCrystal (149) are Nebraska’s two returning NCAA qualifiers from last season, and the pair bounced back from a combined 0-3 weekend in mid-December with a 4-0 weekend with a pin and a pair of major decisions against Illinois and Maryland.

Berger, an All-American at 157 pounds a season ago, is 12-4 this season with six of his wins against ranked wrestlers. He won the Daktronics Open and finished fourth at the Cliff Keen Invitational.

McCrystal, who qualified for the NCAA Championships at 141 pounds last season, moved up to 149 this year and is 11-2 on the year with a pair of wins over ranked opponents. He is 4-1 in duals this season.

Redshirt Freshmen Stepping Up

Four redshirt freshmen, Chad Red Jr. (141), Beau Breske (174), Taylor Venz (184) and Eric Schultz (197) have become strong forces in Nebraska’s starting lineup this season.

Red, ranked ninth at 141, is 12-5 on the season after finishing fourth at the Cliff Keen Invitational. Three of his five losses have come to No. 2 Bryce Meredith of Wyoming and No. 4 Kevin Jack of NC State, all by decision.

Venz leads starters in pins (7) and has defeated four top-11 opponents.

Schultz is 9-5 on the year with four of his losses coming to top-10 opponents. He did not place at the Cliff Keen Invitational, but gained valuable experience as he took top-ranked Kollin Moore of Ohio State right to the end in a 3-2 loss.

Beau Breske has also been featured in the lineup as of late, as he is 9-3 on the year with a win over a ranked opponent at the Cliff Keen Invitational. He notched his first dual win over Adis Radoncic of North Carolina, and followed it up with a win over David Riojas of Illinois on Friday.

Huskers Working Through Tough Schedule

Nebraska will face seven teams in dual action in 2017-18 that finished in the top 25 at the NCAA Championships last season: Michigan (10th), Illinois (11th), Wisconsin (13th), NC State (17th), Rutgers (19th), Wyoming (21st) and Stanford (24th).

In addition, NU has nine teams on the slate currently ranked in the USA Today/NWCA Coaches Poll: NC State (5th), Michigan (8th), Illinois (12th), Wisconsin (16th), Rutgers (17th), Purdue (22nd), Wyoming (23rd), North Carolina (24th) and Northwestern (25th).

Scouting Purdue

2017-18 Dual Record: 5-2 (0-1 Big Ten)

  • Wins (5): LIU Post (49-0), #22 North Carolina (31-6), Hofstra (33-7), SIU Edwardsville (31-9), Princeton (29-17)
  • Losses (2): #23 Central Michigan (24-10), #8 Michigan (25-14)

Purdue finished 20th at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational with 42 points, led by a fifth-place finish by Shawn Streck (HWT) and an eighth-place finish by Dylan Lydy (174)

The Boilermakers placed seventh at the Midlands Championships with 84 points, as seven Boilermakers placed, led by third-place finishes by Lydy (147) and Christian Brunner (197)

Purdue is coached by Tony Ersland (fourth season at Purdue/overall)

  • Record at Purdue/overall: 33-25

Ersland was an assistant coach at Nebraska for eight seasons from 2006-14. Ersland helped the Huskers to a 102-41-2 dual record in Lincoln with seven top-20 NCAA finishes, and helped 17 NU wrestlers to All-America honors.

Purdue’s volunteer assistant coach is Jake Sueflohn, a four-time NCAA qualifier for Nebraska from 2012-16. Sueflohn was 109-32 in his career in a Husker singlet.

Nebraska assistant coach Kendric Maple was an assistant coach for Purdue in 2016-17. Maple helped three Boilermakers to the NCAA Championships last season.

All-Time Against Purdue

Nebraska is 9-1 all-time against Purdue. NU has won the last six meetings in the series, which dates back to 1929. The Huskers have won each of the four meetings as Big Ten opponents. Purdue’s lone win in the series came in 1985.

Last Time: Nebraska 28, Purdue 9, Jan. 27, 2017, West Lafayette, Ind.

The Huskers jumped out to an early 9-0 lead by winning each of the first three bouts against the Boilermakers. Fifth-ranked Tim Lambert (125) downed Ben Thornton, 9-4, in the opening match.

At 133 pounds, No. 5 Eric Montoya notched a 7-2 decision over Luke Welch to earn his 20th win of the season. No. 10 Colton McCrystal (141) defeated Kyle Ayersman by an 8-2 decision.

Collin Purinton (149) fell by a 7-3 decision in the following match, but No. 3 Tyler Berger (157) responded with a 17-0 technical fall over Cole Wysocki. Berger achieved his sixth technical fall of the season in 4:35 to give NU a 14-3 advantage at the halfway point of the dual.

Nebraska suffered back-to-back overtime losses at 165 and 174 pounds, but bounced back by winning each of the last three bouts by bonus points. Two-time All-American TJ Dudley, the No. 3-ranked wrestler at 184 pounds, won a 9-0 major decision over Tanner Lynde. At 197 pounds, No. 6 Aaron Studebaker continued NU’s momentum with an 11-1 major decision over Christian Brunner.

In the final match of the night, No. 13 Collin Jensen pinned Jacob Aven in 3:36 to complete the 14-0 run to end the dual for Nebraska.


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