MINNEAPOLIS – The University of Minnesota wrestling program is set for a full weekend of top-tier wrestling as they host a pair of top-ten opponents in the No. 10 Nebraska Cornhuskers and the No. 9 Wisconsin Badgers.
Action begins on Friday evening as the Gophers battle the Cornhuskers at 8:00 p.m. CT before welcoming their Border Battle rival to Maturi Pavilion on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. CT for an afternoon contest with the Badgers.
This weekend’s duals are a part of the program’s Championship Weekend, which will celebrate former head coach J Robinson, the 2001 and 2002 NCAA championship teams, and all former Gopher Wrestling alumni.
Friday night’s dual with Nebraska will be nationally televised on Big Ten Network, while Sunday’s contest can be found on the subscription-based service B1G+.
Tale of the Tape – The Cornhuskers
Nebraska’s lineup showcases a mix of veteran talent and rising young stars as they head into the weekend as a Top-10 dual team in the InterMat rankings. The Cornhuskers have a total of four seniors in the projected starting lineup as well as four top-5 wrestlers in Ridge Lovett, Peyton Robb, Mikey Labriola, and Eric Schultz. Nebraska is led by longtime head coach Mark Manning, who is serving his 22nd season in Lincoln, carrying a coaching record 267-98-3 while at Nebraska.
The Series with Nebraska
Minnesota holds the all-time series against the Nebraska Cornhuskers with a record of 50-23 in a series that dates back to 1922. Nebraska has claimed the previous five meetings over the Gophers, which is their longest streak in the series. The Golden Gophers are 4-6 in their last ten meetings with the Cornhuskers, with their most recent victory coming on November 16, 2012, earning a 27-7 victory in Lincoln, Nebraska.
First Meeting: L, 22-26 (2/21/1922)
Last Meeting: L, 14-22 (1/8/2021)
Longest Win Streak: W12 (1/15/1955-1/28/1972)
Longest Losing Streak: L5 (1/10/2016-present)
Current Streak: L5
Nebraska hosted Minnesota for a dual at the Devaney Center on Jan. 8, 2021, and won a tightly contested 22-14 dual where the Huskers won six of the ten matches. Minnesota’s first victory of the dual came from Boo Dryden with a decision win over No. 15 Alex Thomsen. The Gophers went back-to-back at 157 and 165, as Brayton Lee earned a decision win, while Andrew Sparks knocked off No. 10 Peyton Robb in his first-ever collegiate match. Gable Steveson earned the Gophers’ final win of the night with a 23-8 tech fall over Christian Lance.
Tale of the Tape – The Badgers
Wisconsin holds one of the fastest-rising teams in college wrestling under the guidance of fourth-year head coach Chris Bono, jumping up ten spots to No. 9 in the InterMat dual rankings since the beginning of the season. The Badgers have a grab bag of familiar faces, impactful transfers, and highly-touted freshmen up and down their lineup with Eric Barnett, Austin Gomez, and Dean Hamiti proving to be their most consistent competitors thus far.
The Series With Wisconsin
Minnesota holds the all-time series lead against the Wisconsin Badgers with a record of 63-35-1 in a series that dates back to 1922. Minnesota has won the previous nine meetings over Wisconsin, which is tied for their second-longest streak in the series. The Golden Gophers are 9-1 in their last ten meetings with the Badgers, with their most recent victory coming on February 12, 2021, where they claimed a 27-7 road victory in Madison.
First Meeting: W, 29-19 (2/21/1922)
Last Meeting: W, 27-7 (2/12/2021)
Longest Win Streak: W11 (2/5/1955-2/11/1967)
Longest Losing Streak: L7 (1/26/1974-1/12/1980)
Current Streak: W9
The Badgers hosted Minnesota for a dual inside UW Field House back on Feb 12, 2021, where the Gophers took eight of the ten matches en route to a 27-7 victory. After a loss at 125 pounds, Minnesota took the next five bouts with Boo Dryden, Marcos Polanco, Michael Blockhus, Brayton Lee, and Andrew Sparks all earning decision victories. Minnesota also claimed the final three matches of the contest as Owen Webster and Garrett Joles got decision wins of their own, while Gable Steveson capped it off with a third-period pin.
Minnesota will have an off week next weekend and will resume on Friday, January 28 when they travel to Ann Arbor, Michigan to take on the No. 3 Michigan Wolverines in what will be their first of three straight road duals.