#13 Illinois Falls Short Against #7 Nebraska
Feb. 1, 2014
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The Fighting Illini wrestling team hosted Nebraska for the sixth-annual 'Great Escape' on Saturday, but came up short in front of the season-high crowd of 811. The Orange and Blue got wins from Jackson Morse (165), Mario Gonzalez (197), Jesse Delgado (125) and Zane Richards (133), but it wasn't enough as the Huskers came away with the 22-13 victory.
"We had chances to win this meet today but didn't make it happen," said head coach Jim Heffernan. "I think we let heavyweight and 149 both slip away because we weren't aggressive at critical points in the matches. That's hard to take, and it needs to change. I also think there were a couple of other weights where we didn't compete hard enough. Our effort was okay, but the urgency and toughness wasn't there. We've lost entirely too many close duals this year, and it's not acceptable. We have one more weekend of Big Ten duals to get some things corrected."
The dual started at 149 pounds as #17 Caleb Ervin squared off against #3 Jake Sueflohn. Ervin scored an early takedown in the first but Sueflohn managed to quickly escape to make the score 2-1. Ervin started the second in the bottom position and scored the only points of the period by recording an escape just under a minute into the period. The third period began in the neutral position and Sueflohn scored a takedown with just over a minute left to tie it up, then held on to record the riding time advantage and claim the 4-3 victory.
#15 Zac Brunson took on top-ranked James Green at 157, with Green scoring the first points with an early takedown. After acquiring about a minute and a half of riding time, Brunson managed to escape but was quickly taken down again to make the score 4-1 going into the second. Brunson chose to start the second in the bottom position, but Green forfeited a point to start neutral and make the score 4-2. Green then scored three more points, one from a second stalling call on Brunson and then a takedown, to go up 7-2 going into the final period. After being taken down in the third, Brunson managed to escape but ran out of time as Green claimed the 10-3 decision to give Nebraska a 6-0 lead.
At 165, #10 Jackson Morse recorded a takedown and two three-point near-falls to take an early 8-0 lead over Nebraska's Ausin Wilson. Morse started the second period on bottom and scored the only points of the period with an escape and a takedown to make the score 11-0 going into the final period. Morse recorded an early takedown in the third, but Wilson responded with an escape and a takedown of his own to cut the lead. Morse then turned Wilson for a two-point reversal and acquired 2:27 of riding time to claim the 17-4 major decision victory and score bonus points for the Illini.
After joining B.J. Futrell as Illinois' all-time leader in career pins last weekend, #17 Tony Dallago faced his toughest competition of the season in #4 Robert Kokesh. Kokesh took an early lead, recording two takedowns and a three-point near-fall in the first period. Kokesh scored three more near-fall points in the second to make the score 10-1 going into the final period. Dallago started the third period on top, but Kokesh turned him for a reversal and a three-point near-fall. After another takedown, Kokesh claimed the tech. fall victory and gave Nebraska an 11-4 lead.
Nikko Reyes squared off against #12 T.J. Dudley at 184. Neither wrestler scored to start the first, but Dudley recorded a takedown at the buzzer to go up 2-0 going into the second. Reyes started the second period on bottom and managed a quick escape, but was taken down by Dudley with 30 seconds left in the period. Dudley then recorded an escape, a takedown and a three-point near-fall to win the 10-1 major decision.
At 197, #5 Mario Gonzalez faced Caleb Kolb in his first match since suffering a rib injury at the Midlands Championships on Dec. 30. After a scoreless first period, Gonzalez started on top, but Kolb managed to escape in the first 10 seconds to take the 1-0 lead. Gonzalez then recorded his own escape to start the start the third and tie the score. Neither wrestler scored again in the third, and the bout was forced into overtime. In the first 30-second tie-breaker, Gonzalez started on bottom and was able to turn Kolb for the two-point reversal. In the second, Kolb started on bottom and escaped quickly, but Gonzalez held on to claim the 3-2 victory.
The Huskers scored three more points in the heavyweight bout in a close matchup between Christopher Lopez and Collin Jensen. After a scoreless first period, Lopez started the second on bottom and recorded an early escape to take a 1-0 lead. Jensen did the same in the third to tie up the score, and the wrestlers battled back and forth for the majority of the period, but Jensen scored a takedown at the buzzer to win the 3-1 decision and give Nebraska an 18-7 lead.
#3 Jesse Delgado squared off against #10 Tim Lambert at 125. Delgado scored the first points of the matchup in the second after starting in the bottom position and quickly escaping. Lambert did the same in the third to tie the score at 1-1 and send the bout into overtime. After a scoreless sudden victory period, Delgado started the first 30-second tie-breaker on bottom and was able to escape to take the lead. He then started the second on top and was able to maintain control, and after being awarded one point for a penalty on Lambert, came away with the 3-1 decision.
#10 Zane Richards (133) kept his win streak alive in a matchup against Shawn Nagel. Richards scored an early takedown in the first, but Nagel was able to escape less than a minute later. Richards started the second period on top. but Nagel managed an early escape to tie the score. In the the third period, Richards started in the bottom position and was able to escape to take the lead, then held on to win the 4-2 decision.
The Illini were down five going into the final bout between John Fahy and Colton McCrystal. McCrystal scored the only points of the first two periods, recording one takedown in each period. Fahy started the final period an top, but McCrystal managed to turn him for a two-point reversal. Fahy quickly escaped and recorded a takedown of his own, but McCrystal scored the reversal and a three-point near-fall at the buzzer to take the 12-3 major decision and give Nebraska the 22-13 victory.
The Illini are back in action next weekend when they travel to Purdue on Friday, Feb. 7. The Orange and Blue will then return to Champaign on Sunday, Feb. 9 when they host #10 Northwestern in the final home dual of the season.
#13 Illinois 13, #7 Nebraska 22