Who: #3 Nebraska 2-0 (0-0 Big Ten) vs #17 UNI 0-1 (0-0 Big 12)
Where: West Gym, Cedar Falls, IA
When: Sunday, November 24, 2019 – 1:00 PM
Watch: Online: Flowrestling (Subscription required)
After a disappointing performance at Northwestern a week ago, the UNI Panthers come home for the first dual of the season, welcoming in the #3 squad in the country in Nebraska (2-0, 0-0). The Cornhuskers are coming off a pair of wins last Thursday against Nebraska-Kearney and Chadron State, where the combined score was 54-2.
UNI won five matches last week, but almost more importantly they may have lost Jacob Holschlag. He injured his knee in his first match in more than a year after having been sidelined all of last season. There is no word yet on his condition.
Whether or not Holschlag wrestles this weekend there will be some great matches, because unlike last week, Nebraska and UNI are strong where the other squad is strong. There will be at least four matches between ranked wrestlers (five if Holschlag wrestles, six if you use Trackwrestling rankings as Michael Blockhus is 28th in that poll), with most coming in the upper weights.
The ranked action will get started at 149 pounds where Max Thomsen will take on #16 Collin Purinton. This match is a rematch from last year’s dual, where Thomsen took home a 10-4 win in Lincoln. This, oddly, is the only rematch set to take place Sunday afternoon, as weight changes and graduation have hit both these teams in the right spots to keep any others from happening.
174 and 184 look to be fantastic matches, as the lowest ranked wrestler for either side is UNI’s Bryce Steiert at #6. He gets Bloodround’s favorite wrestler Mikey Labriola, who is #3 in the country. It’s a semi-rare opportunity for Steiert to raise his ranking, as the only other wrester ranked above him he’s set to take on this year before the NCAA tournament is Oklahoma State’s Joseph Smith.
Speaking of raising a ranking, #4 Taylor Lujan has the same opportunity against #3 Taylor Venz at 184 pounds. The battle of the Taylor’s should be a good one and will be Lujan’s biggest test, similar to Steiert, all season. Lujan already has a win over a top-ten opponent this season (against Iowa State’s Sam Colbray in the Harold Nichols Open final) and would nearly have a top-four seed locked up in March VERY early in the season with a win over Venz.
I don’t expect to see Holschlag on the mat this Sunday, just as an extra precaution. So that leaves Noah Glaser, who is listed at 174 pounds on the UNI roster, at 194. Not great for the Panthers.
#15 David Jensen and Christian Lance are listed for the Huskers at heavyweight, who was an NCAA qualifier a year ago and took 6th in a loaded Big Ten.
As for the rest of the dual, Doug Schwab will be looking for a little more fire from his squad than they showed last week at Northwestern. 125, 133, 157 and 165 are all, seemingly, up for grabs in terms of who gets the start after disappointing losses, so we’ll wait and see who the Panthers put out there.
The other match that is fairly intriguing comes at 141 pounds, where Michale Blockhus will take on #11 Chad Red. Though perhaps lopsided on paper, Blockhus is just on the edge of being ranked, and can break into the top 20 with an upset over the Husker.
You can check out the dual this Sunday afternoon at 2 PM in the West Gym in Cedar Falls. We’ll be there, and I can’t think of anything else going on then, so there’s really no excuse to not go. But if for some reason you can’t be there, check it out live on Flowrestling.org.
#3 Nebraska vs #17 UNI
125: Alex Thomsen vs #17 Jay Schwarm or Kyle Biscoglia
133: Zak Hensley vs Jack Skudlarczyk or Drew Bennett
141: #11 Chad Red Jr vs Michael Blockhus
149: #16 Collin Purinton vs #5 Max Thomsen
157: Peyton Robb vs Keaton Geerts or Paden Moore
165: #4 Isaiah White vs Pat Schoenfelder
174: #3 Mikey Labriola vs #6 Bryce Steiert
184: #3 Taylor Venz vs #4 Taylor Lujan
194: #6 Eric Schultz vs #4 Jacob Holschlag or Noah Glaser
285: #15 David Jensen or Christian Lance vs #20 Carter Isley