Gophers Travel to Illinois, Purdue for Weekend Doubleheader

The weekend travel will be the final road trip of the regular season for Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS – The University of Minnesota wrestling program is hitting the road for their final road trip on the season this weekend, as they prepare for a pair of conference contests against the Illinois Fighting Illini and the Purdue Boilermakers.

The Gophers (3-4) will battle Illinois first on Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. CT in Champaign, Ill., before traveling east to West Lafayette, Ind., to visit Purdue on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. CT. Both duals will be broadcasted on the Big Ten’s subscription-based service, B1G+.

Tale of the Tape – The Fighting Illini
Illinois is led by first-year head coach Mike Poeta, who is looking for his first conference win as a head coach as they currently sit at 2-4 on the season. The strength of Illinois’ lineup can be found at their lower weights as Justin Cardani, Lucas Byrd, and Dylan Duncan provide a 1-2-3 punch at the top of the lineup. Other notable names to look out for on Friday evening will be the Braunagel twins, Zac and Danny, as well as heavyweight Luke Luffman.

The Series with Illinois:
Minnesota leads the all-time series against the Illinois Fighting Illini with a record of 34-21-2 in a series that dates back to the 1925-26 season. The Gophers have as claimed the previous three meetings over the Fighting Illini and have won eight of the last ten duals, with their most recent victory coming on Feb. 6, 2021, when the Gophers defeated Illinois 25-13 inside Maturi Pavilion

First Meeting: L, 2-18 (1925-26)
Last Meeting: W, 25-13 (2/6/2021)
Longest Win Streak: W11 (twice; 2/20/1965-2/20/1976 and 2/14/1986-2/6/2004)
Longest Losing Streak: L13 (1925-26 season-2/19/1955)
Current Streak: W3 (2/6/2021)

Last Meeting:
Minnesota hosted Illinois for a home dual last season and won and won a 25-15 dual where the Gophers won six of the ten matches, including five of the last six matches to pull off the win. Patrick McKee opened the dual off with a decision victory over #13 Justin Cardani at 125 pounds. After Illinois took the next three matches, the Gophers rattled off four wins in a row as Brayton Lee and Andrew Sparks earned technical falls while Jake Allar and Owen Webster earned decision victories. At heavyweight, Gable Steveson closed out the dual with a 35-second pin over Luke Luffman to help Minnesota secure the dual.­­

Tale of the Tape – The Boilermakers
Tony Ersland sits at the helm of the Boilermakers for his eighth season as head coach as they currently sit at a 9-4 record on the season. Purdue holds a talented group up and down the lineup, with the key contributors being former Big Ten finalists Devin Schroder and Kendall Coleman, as well as upper weights Gerrit Nijenhuis and Thomas Penola.

The Series with Purdue
Minnesota leads the all-time series against the Purdue Boilermakers with a record of 41-8-2 in a series that dates back to the 1925-26 season. Minnesota has claimed the previous 12 meetings over Purdue and has won 18 of the last 20 meetings. The most recent victory for the Golden Gophers came last season where they defeated Purdue in the Rutgers triangular.

First Meeting: T, 7-7 (1925-26)
Last Meeting: W, 32-4 (1/31/2021)
Longest Win Streak: W12 (twice; 2/19/1972-2/11/1984 and 2/5/2005-present)
Longest Losing Streak:
Current Streak: W12

Last Meeting:
Minnesota and Purdue last met in an unconventional way last season, as they competed as a part of the Rutgers triangular in Piscataway, N.J. where the Gophers took nine of ten bouts en route to a 32-4 dual victory. The Gophers won the first eight bouts of the afternoon with Patrick McKee, Boo Dryden, Marcos Polanco, Michael Blockhus, Brayton Lee, Andrew Sparks, Jake Allar, and Owen Webster being the victors in those matches. After dropping the only match of the dual at 197 pounds, Gable Steveson closed out the contest with a 24-8 technical fall over Jamarcus Grant at heavyweight.

Up Next:
The Gophers will host their Big Ten regular-season
finale at home on Friday, Feb. 11 at 8:00 p.m. CT as they will play host to the Ohio State Buckeyes. The dual will also act as the program’s senior night, as seniors Brent Jones and Gable Steveson will be recognized for their careers in the Maroon & Gold.

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