Huskers Welcome Wolfpack, Tar Heels This Weekend

Huskers Welcome Wolfpack, Tar Heels This Weekend

 Friday, Dec. 15  7 p.m. (CT)  Lincoln, Neb. (Bob Devaney Sports Center)
 Nebraska Cornhuskers  2-0 (0-0 Big Ten)  Nebraska Match Notes | @HuskerWrestling
 NC State Wolfpack  9-0 (0-0 ACC)  NC State Match Notes | @PackWrestle
 Pepsi Pack The House  Tickets  BTN/

 Sunday, Dec. 17  2 p.m. (CT)  Lincoln, Neb. (Bob Devaney Sports Center)
 Nebraska Cornhuskers  2-0 (0-0 Big Ten)  Nebraska Match Notes | @HuskerWrestling
 North Carolina Tar Heels  1-2 (0-0 ACC)  North Carolina Match Notes | @UNCWrestling
   Tickets  BTN Plus | FloWrestling

No. 12 Nebraska is back home this weekend to take on a pair of ACC opponents, as the Huskers welcome sixth-ranked NC State to the Devaney Center on Friday, before hosting North Carolina on Sunday.

Friday night’s dual against NC State is set to begin at 7 p.m. (CT). The dual is the annual Pepsi Pack the House night, with $1 admission and $1 Pepsi products, along with free hot dogs for the first 250 fans. World and Olympic Gold Medalist Jordan Burroughs and World Silver Medalist James Green will be on hand and introduced at halftime and honored for their accomplishments this season. The dual will be broadcast nationally on BTN, and streamed on

Sunday’s matinee is set to begin at 2 p.m. (CT), with a live stream available on BTN Plus and FloWrestling.

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

Last Time Out: Nebraska 5th/45, 100.5 Points at Cliff Keen Invitational

The Huskers are coming off a strong weekend two weeks ago at one of the premier tournaments in the country, as NU finished fifth overall with 100.5 team points at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational Dec. 1-2. Taylor Venz (184) and Isaiah White (165) led the Huskers, as the pair finished third at their respective weight classes.

Chad Red Jr. (141) and Tyler Berger (157) placed fourth at their weight classes, while Colton McCrystal also made the podium as he finished sixth.

Up Next

The Huskers will return to dual action following the start of the New Year, as NU will travel to No. 14 Illinois for the start of Big Ten Conference action on Friday, Jan. 5. Nebraska will return home that same weekend to host Maryland on Sunday, Jan. 7.

Quick Notes

  • Nebraska has outscored its two dual opponents by a combined score of 53-23
  • Nebraska has won 13 of 20 individual matches in dual competition
  • Four starters have surpassed the 10-win plateau, with Taylor Venz (184) leading the way with 12 wins
  • Colton McCrystal (149), Isaiah White (165), Venz (184), Eric Schultz (197) and David Jensen (HWT) are each 2-0 in duals this season
  • Jensen (HWT) has scored the most dual points (11) this season
  • Venz (184) leads all starters in pins (7) this season
  • White (165), Venz (184) and Jensen (HWT) lead starters with two technical falls a piece this season
  • Tyler Berger (157) leads all starters in major decisions (3) this season

Venz Dominating During Redshirt Freshman Campaign

Taylor Venz (184) has a team leading seven pins this season, and leads all Nebraska starters in wins with 12. He also has two 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.

Venz has won both of his dual matches by bonus points, as he has 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 Leading Huskers

Tyler Berger (157) and Colton McCrystal (149) are Nebraska’s two returning NCAA qualifiers from last season, and the pair has been consistent for the Huskers this season.

Berger, an All-American at 157 pounds a season ago, is 10-2 this season with half of his wins against ranked wrestlers. He finished fourth at the Cliff Keen Invitational, and is 1-0 in duals this season.

McCrystal, who qualified for the NCAA Championships at 141 pounds last season, moved up to 149 this year and is 9-1 on the year with a pair of wins over ranked opponents. He is 2-0 in duals this season.

Berger Dependable in Duals

Dating back to the 2015-16 season, junior Tyler Berger (157) has won 16 of his last 18 dual matches. His only losses in that time span came to top-ranked Jason Nolf of Penn State and second-ranked Michael Kemerer of Iowa.

Redshirt Freshmen Stepping Up

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

Red, ranked eighth at 141, is 10-3 on the season after finishing fourth at the Cliff Keen Invitational. Two of his three losses have come to No. 4 Bryce Meredith of Wyoming, both by decision.

Venz leads starters in wins (12) and pins (7) and has defeated four top-11 opponents.

Schultz is 7-3 on the year with his only 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. He is 2-0 in duals this season.

Beau Breske has also been featured in the lineup as of late, as he is 6-2 on the year with a win over a ranked opponent at the Cliff Keen Invitational.

New Contributors Record First Dual Wins

With six starters, including three All-Americans, lost to graduation from a season ago, Nebraska’s starting lineup is dramatically different than it was a season ago.

Seven Huskers saw their first dual action of their careers in a Nebraska singlet in NU’s first two duals, as Kris Williams (125), Mitchell Maginnis (125), Brian Peska (133), Chad Red Jr. (141), Isaiah White (165), Taylor Venz (184) and Eric Schultz (197) were each inserted into the starting lineup for the first time.

Five Huskers picked up their first dual wins of their careers so far this season, as Williams, White and Schultz each won by decision against Wyoming, while Venz and David Jensen (HWT) both won by technical falls in the Wyoming dual. White, Shultz, Venz and Jensen each moved to 2-0 with wins in the West Virginia dual.

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 six teams on the slate currently ranked in the USA Today/NWCA Coaches Poll: NC State (6th), Michigan (9th), Rutgers (17th), Illinois (14th), Wisconsin (18th) and Purdue (19th).

Scouting NC State

2017-18 Dual Record: 9-0 (0-0 ACC)
Wins (9):
Ithaca (30-12), #19 Oklahoma (27-13), The Citadel (43-0), UNC Pembroke (48-0), Utah Valley (34-6), Reinhardt (54-0), Old Dominion (25-15), Chattanooga (41-0), Appalachian State (34-3)

NC State’s nine wins lead all Division I teams this season

Kevin Jack (141), Pete Renda (184) and Michael Macchiavello (197) each won matches at the NWCA All-Star Classic

Six Wolfpack wrestlers are ranked by InterMat, including four in the top-10

NC State is coached by Pat Popolizio (Sixth season at NC State; 12th season overall)
Record at NC State: 80-22-0 Career Record: 161-75-3

All-Time Against NC State

Nebraska is 5-1 all-time against NC State. The schools have met in each of the past three seasons, with NC State’s only win in the series coming in Lincoln in February of 2016. Nebraska won in 1982, 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2016.

Last Time: Nebraska 22, NC State 10, Dec. 9, 2016, Raleigh, N.C.

The No. 7 Nebraska wrestling team won seven matches against No. 9 NC State en route to a 22-10 win at Reynolds Coliseum.

No. 8 Tim Lambert (125) recorded the lone bonus-point win of the night for the Huskers with his 11-3 major decision over Tommy Cox in the opening bout.

In the second match, All-American Eric Montoya, the No. 4-ranked wrestler at 133 pounds, won an 11-5 decision over Sean Fausz. Two ranked Wolfpack wrestlers won at 141 and 149 pounds, but fifth-ranked Tyler Berger (157) put the Big Red back in front with a 6-5 decision over Thomas Bullard.

At 165 pounds, Justin Arthur defeated Brian Hamann, 9-3. NC State’s Nick Reenan won a narrow decision at 174 pounds, but the Huskers diffused the rally by winning each of the last three matches.

Two-time All-American TJ Dudley (184) downed 18th-ranked Michael Macchiavello, 4-2, and No. 8 Aaron Studebaker (197) defeated 16th-ranked Malik McDonald, 8-3. In the final bout of the night, No. 17 Collin Jensen (HWT) held off Michael Boykin in a 5-4 decision.

Scouting North Carolina

2017-18 Dual Record: 1-2 (0-0 ACC)
Win (1):
Appalachian State (30-6)
Losses (2):
Purdue (31-6), Oklahoma State (25-9)

A.C. Headlee (141) and Troy Heilmann (149) won individual titles at the Hokie Open

North Carolina finished 15th at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational with 49.5 team points, led by a second-place finish by Troy Heilmann (149)

Four Tar Heels are ranked by InterMat, including two top-10 wrestlers

North Carolina is coached by Coleman Scott (Third season at North Carolina)
Record at North Carolina/Overall: 22-13

All-Time Against North Carolina

Nebraska is 12-1 all-time against North Carolina. Nebraska has won the last 12 meetings after UNC won the first meeting in 1989.

NU Head Coach Mark Manning was an assistant coach at North Carolina for eight seasons from 1985-93.

Last Time: Nebraska 30, North Carolina 6, Dec. 10, 2016, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Senior Tim Lambert, ranked eighth at 125 pounds, opened the dual with a first-period pin over James Szymanski in 1:50.

All-Americans Eric Montoya (133) and TJ Dudley (184) also produced bonus-point victories for NU. Montoya, ranked fourth at 133 pounds, won by major decision against Tyrone Klump in the second bout of the afternoon, 14-2. Dudley, ranked third at 184 pounds, won an 18-1 technical fall over Elijah Kerr-Brown in the eighth match of the day.

Redshirt freshman Collin Purinton (149), No. 5 Tyler Berger (157) and Dustin Williams (165) strung together three consecutive Husker wins to help NU build a 19-3 advantage.

No. 8 Aaron Studebaker (197) and No. 17 Collin Jensen (HWT) each notched decisions to anchor the Nebraska victory. Studebaker registered a 3-1 decision over Danny Chaid in the penultimate match of the dual. Jensen won a 6-2 decision over Cory Daniel in the final bout against UNC.

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