@IlliniWrestling Falls to Huskers, 30-10

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#Illini Drop Final Five Bouts After Leading 10-9

By University of Illinois Athletics

Full Play-By-Play

LINCOLN, NEB.— The Fighting Illini fell for the fifth time in Big Ten play, falling 30-10 to Nebraska tonight in Lincoln. After trailing 9-0 after two bouts, the trio of Martinez, Rodrigues, and Brunson brought Illinois back to lead 10-9. However, Nebraska reeled off 21 consecutive points, capped by a forfeit at 133 pounds, to win the match.

“Nebraska starts fast; the whole team does,” said Coach Heffernan. “They try to get out ahead, ride you, and take away your game. There were some pretty good things, in terms of composure, in some matches where they hung in there and found a way to comeback and win. I think technically we still need to work on some other things.”

Starting at 141-pounds, #17 Anthony Abidin got out in front of Jodeh early on in the bout against Illinois’ Mousa Jodeh. Abidin got to work early, getting a takedown in the opening minute. Abidin extended his advantage with a two-point near fall, followed by a four-point near fall at the end of the opening three minutes. Abidin continued to build his lead in period two, and then finalized it with a four-point near fall in period three to win by technical fall, 19-1.

Trailing 5-0, the Illini looked to rebound at 149 pounds with Kyle Langenderfer. However, No. 5 Jake Sueflohn proved too tough for the Illini red-shirt sophomore to overcome. Sueflohn opened the scoring with a takedown in period one and continued in period two with an escape and takedown to lead 6-1 entering the final two minutes. Sueflohn completed the match with another escape and takedown to earn the 9-1 major decision.

After dropping bonus points in both of the first two bouts, Coach Heffernan’s squad looked to #2 Isaiah Martinez to get the team on the scoreboard. Tyler Berger of Nebraska fought hard through most of the first period, but Martinez got to his offense late in the period with two takedowns to push his lead to 6-2. Berger fought back to open the second period with an escape, followed by a takedown. With the host getting behind the comeback, Martinez finished the period with an escape and takedown of his own. Leading 9-5, Martinez wore down Berger in the final frame, adding another escape and takedown to win by decision, 12-6.

Steven Rodrigues looked to continue the Illini momentum at 165 pounds. #10 Austin Wilson of Nebraska got on the board first with a takedown, but Rodrigues was able to fight off the near fall. After an escape, Rodrigues got to his offense in the final half-minute to grab a 3-2 lead. In period two, Rodrigues worked hard to get an escape and then got another late takedown to triple his score to 6-2. Although Rodrigues’ scoring ended there, he held Wilson to a single escape point in period three to win 6-3.

“He sucked it up, {after getting down 2-0,} got tough, came back for on the attack,” said Heffernan. “He kept his composure and did a good job.”

With Brunson looking to tie or take the lead for the Illini, Micah Barnes battled hard in the first period to a 2-0 lead entering the second frame. After an escape by Barnes to make it 3-0, the second-ranked Illini wrestler got to work with a takedown and a four-point near fall to turn the tide of the bout. Brunson opened the final period with an escape, and then added a takedown and two-point near fall to win by major decision 11-3. The bonus point brought the Illini to a 10-9 lead after trailing 9-0 after the opening two bouts.

Now leading for the first time on the night, Jeff Koepke faced #5 T.J. Dudley. After an opening takedown, Dudley worked Koepke to a four-point near fall at the edge of the mat to lead 6-0 after one period. Koepke showed resolve with a takedown in period three to avoid giving up bonus points, but Dudley ultimately finished off the Illini senior 11-4.

“Koepke had that guy’s leg three or four times and he needs to finish,” said Heffernan.

Once again trailing the Huskers, Andre Lee looked to use his first Big Ten win last weekend to propel him against #7 Aaron Studebker. Lee opened with a strong first period, leading 2-0. In period two, Lee got two escapes, but gave up a takedown midway through the end of the period. Studebaker opened the final frame with an escape to even the score 4-4. With 30 seconds remaining, Studebaker completed the comeback with a takedown to win the match 6-4, extending the Husker lead to 15-10.

“Andre was doing a good job until he got banged up a little bit. He looked a little more aggressive at the beginning, but he needs to do that in the last minute of the match. That’s a guy he’s going to wrestle again in a couple weeks, and he’s going to have to find a way to beat that guy.”

#18 Collin Jensen gave the decisive blow to the Illini at heavyweight when the Husker junior took #20 Brooks Black down to the mat and forced his shoulders to the mat, earning a pin in just 34 seconds. The pin was Jensen’s sixth of the year and pushed the Nebraska lead to 21-10.

At 125, Francis Edelen faced #7 Tim Lambert. 18-5 overall this season, Lambert got to work early with two takedowns in the opening three minutes of action to lead 4-1 after the first period. Lambert finished off the Edelen with a reversal and another takedown to win by a tally of 9-3.

The match concluded with a forfeit from the Orange and Blue after #2 Zane Richards was unable to compete this evening. The six points for the Huskers gave Nebraska a convincing 30-10 victory over Coach Heffenran’s squad.

Next Up:

The Fighting Illini return home on Sunday where they will face the Wildcats of Northwestern, a team the Illini have won four straight against. The match will be broadcast live on BTN Plus. For updates throughout the match follow @IlliniWrestling on Twitter.

#10 Nebraska 30, #12 Illinois 10
141: #17 Anthony Abidin (NEB) tech fall Mousa Jodeh (ILL), 19-1 | 0-5
149: #5 Jake Sueflohn (NEB) major dec. Kyle Langenderfer (ILL),9-1 | 0-9
157: #2 Isaiah Martinez (ILL) dec. Tyler Berger (NEB), 13-6 | 3-9
165: #4 Steven Rodrigues (ILL) dec. #10 Austin Wilson (NEB), 6-4 | 6-9
174: #2 Zac Brunson (ILL) major dec. Micah Barnes (NEB), 11-3 | 10-9
184: #5 TJ Dudley (NEB) dec. #15 Jeff Koepke (ILL), 11-4 | 10-12
197: #7 Aaron Studebaker (NEB) dec. Andre Lee (ILL), 6-4 | 10-15
HWT: #18 Collin Jensen (NEB) fall #20 Brooks Black (ILL), 0:34 | 10-21
125: #7 Tim Lambert (NEB) dec. Francis Edelen (ILL), 9-3 | 10-24
133: #10 Eric Montoya (NEB) wins by forfeit | 10-30

Comments
  1. According to many on this board, everything is perfectly fine with the Illini and things are looking up. I don't see it that way at all. This team should be better than it is. Way better. And as I have said before, I don't see it getting significantly better going forward anytime soon with what we are losing and what we have in the room. We seem to be light years away from the top 6-7 teams in the Big Ten. I hope I am wrong.