The Maroon and Gold Prepare to Host Big Red

No. 12 Minnesota (4-2, 3-1) wraps up a three-match Big Ten homestand on Friday night when it hosts No. 5 Nebraska (9-1, 2-1) at the Sports Pavilion. This year marks the 95th anniversary of the first match in the series, a contest won by Nebraska, 26-22, on Feb. 21, 1922.

Friday’s dual will begin at 7 p.m. Central at the Sports Pavilion. Tickets are available at

Fans who can’t be there live have several options to keep tabs on all the action. The dual will be streamed live on BTN Plus, live stats will be available on, and updates from throughout the evening can be found by following Gopher Wrestling on Twitter (@GopherWrestling).

minnlogoSo Far This Season

After opening the calendar year with a loss to Penn State, the Gophers rallied last Sunday for a thrilling Border Battle victory over Wisconsin. Tied at 15 heading to the final match, Chris Pfarr knocked off No. 20 Ryan Christensen to secure the win for Minnesota. Prior to returning home for its past several duals, Minnesota had swept a pair of road matches in Michigan to begin the Big Ten season after splitting a pair of non-conference duals in November. Mixed into their dual schedule, Minnesota wrestled at both the Cliff Keen in December and the Southern Scuffle earlier this month. Two Gophers (Jake Short and Brett Pfarr) won titles in Vegas as the Gophers finished fourth. In its best showing in Chattanooga since 2014, Minnesota produced one individual champion (Ethan Lizak, 125), three finalists, and seven placewinners, and finished fourth at the Scuffle.

Nebraska’s trip to the Twin Cities comes after picking up a pair of Big Ten wins at home last weekend, first over Wisconsin, then Michigan. Those victories come on the heels of the Huskers only loss so far this season, a conference opener defeat at home to Penn State. Prior to opening the conference season, Nebraska put up an impressive second-place showing at the Midlands. Highlighting that performance for the Huskers were Eric Montoya, TJ Dudley and Aaron Studebaker’s individual titles. Prior to hitting the Midlands, Nebraska roared through its non-conference slate, going 7-0 and winning those matches by an average score of 32-6.

Marquee Match

With half of Friday’s card featuring ranked competitors squaring off, a pair of top-10 contests highlight the pack. While the 197-pound pairing of No. 2 Brett Pfarr and No. 7 Aaron Studebaker looks great, the 125-pound offering pitting No. 6 Ethan Lizak against No. 5 Tim Lambert looks even better. Friday will be the third meeting between the two already this season. Lizak won the first match, 4-3, at the Daktronics Open, a loss Lambert avenged by the same score at the Cyclone Open.

Last Time Around

One year and 10 days ago at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Nebraska got off to a fast start and built a lead Minnesota was unable to overcome. The Cornhuskers won the first six bouts of that dual, starting with a major decision at 125 followed by five consecutive decisions, staking the home team a 19-0 lead. The Gophers rallied late, taking three of the night’s final four matches, including a major decision for Nick Wanzek at 174 and decisions from Brett Pfarr and Michael Kroells to close out the afternoon, but the comeback was too little, too late for the Maroon and Gold, who fell 24-10. On a positive note for Minnesota, Friday’s two potential rematches from last year are both matches last won by Gopher.

Rank and File

It’s expected that 14 ranked wrestlers will be in action during Friday night’s dual, with seven representing each side. This collection will lead to six matches between ranked competitors. Two of these matches (mentioned above under Marquee Matches) feature top-10 opponents, while the other four all feature top-16 wrestlers.

Series History

Since kicking off the head-to-head series with Nebraska in 1922, Minnesota has built a 50-20 advantage over Big Red. Prior to last year’s defeat in Lincoln, the Gophers had won four straight matches in the series, dating back to the 2008-09 season. Since the Huskers joined the Big Ten, the Gophers hold a 2-1 lead in the series.

There No Place Like Home

Friday night will be the Gophers’ fifth of seven home matches this season in what is one of the most daunting home schedules in the nation. Minnesota is 2-2 at the Pav so far this season, with a win over No. 20 South Dakota State and No. 21 Wisconsin balancing defeats against No. 1 Oklahoma State and No. 3 Penn State. After Nebraska, Minnesota still has home dates looming with No. 2 Iowa and No. 4 Ohio State.

Parting Shot

Five of the matches on Friday’s card have previous collegiate history, series in which the Gophers hold a collective 8-2 advantage. Four Gophers are undefeated against their anticipated opponent. Tommy Thorn, Nick Wanzek and Brett Pfarr all hold 1-0 advantages, while Michael Kroells is 4-0 lifetime against Collin Jensen, including three wins the past two seasons. In the fifth set, Ethan Lizak will wrestle Tim Lambert for the third time already this season. While they’ve split their two matches this year, Lambert has a 2-1 lead in the lifetime series.

Match Notes Nebraska Get Acrobat Reader

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