MINNEAPOLIS – The No. 12 University of Minnesota wrestling program (7-1, 0-1 B1G) is set for week two of Big Ten competition as they travel to Lincoln, Neb., on Friday for an 8:00 p.m. dual against No. 16 Nebraska (4-2, 0-0 B1G) before returning to Maturi Pavilion to host No. 29 Michigan State (7-0, 0-0 B1G) at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday.
The Gophers are looking to battle back from their first loss of the season after previously beginning the year 7-0, as they dropped an 18-11 dual to Northwestern in their conference opener last Saturday.
Both of the upcoming duals this weekend will be nationally broadcasted live on the Big Ten Network, while fans can also follow along to live match-by-match updates on Twitter at @GopherWrestling.
Tale of the Tape – The Cornhuskers
Nebraska is led by veteran head coach Mark Manning, who enters the weekend ranked fourth among active coaches in wins at their current school with 272. Returning three all-Americans from last season, the Cornhusker lineup is highlighted by top-ranked Peyton Robb and second-ranked Mikey Labriola. Nebraska has also seen contributions from fresh faces in the lineup, as first-year starters Brock Hardy and Lenny Pinto each have cracked the top 10 in the InterMat polls.
The Cornhuskers enter the weekend on a three-dual win streak as they hold a record of 4-2 on the year and have yet to compete in Big Ten competition. Nebraska made noise on the national stage earlier this season at the Cliff Keen Invitational, where the squad took home the team title for the fifth time in program history with three individual titles.
The Series with Nebraska
Minnesota holds the all-time series against the Nebraska Cornhuskers with a record of 52-23 in a series that dates back to 1922. Nebraska and Minnesota have split each of the previous ten meetings. The Gophers snapped Nebraska’s five-dual win streak in their most recent meeting last season, as the Maroon & Gold took a 19-13 home victory inside Maturi Pavilion.
First Meeting: L, 22-26 (2/21/1922)
Last Meeting: W, 19-13 (1/14/2022)
Longest Win Streak: W13 (2/27/1954-1/9/1971)
Longest Losing Streak: L5 (1/10/2016-1/8/2021)
Current Streak: W1
The “U” hosted Nebraska last season for a top-15 home showdown on January 14, 2022 and defeated the Cornhuskers by a score of 19-13, as the Gophers took six of the ten bouts in a razor-thin contest. The two teams traded the first four matchups, as Cael Carlson and Isaiah Salazar would each pick up decision wins. The Maroon & Gold later rattled off a three-match win streak as Gable Steveson earned a major decision at heavyweight, followed by Patrick McKee and Jake Gliva decision victories. With the dual in the balance for the final bout of the night at 157 pounds, Brayton Lee closed the door on the dual with a 4-0 win over Peyton Robb.
Tale of the Tape – The Spartans
Michigan State heads into their first B1G action of the season on the heels of their best start under current head coach Roger Chandler as they hold a 7-0 record on the year, good enough to slot in at No. 29 in the InterMat polls. The Spartans are led by their veteran trio of Rayvon Foley, Layne Malczewski, and Cameron Caffey.
While getting off to a hot start in the 2022-23 campaign, Michigan State is now slated for their toughest test of the season this weekend as they will see ranked competition for the first time all year. Their most impressive wins of their non-conference schedule include a 21-15 win over Princeton as well as shutout dual victories over Davidson and American.
The Series with Michigan State
Minnesota holds the all-time series against the Michigan State Spartans with a record of 34-23 in a series that dates back to the 1945-46 season. The Gophers have dominated the series as of late, winning 23 of the last 24 duals with the Spartans, including each of the last twelve contests with a streak that dates back to 2006. The most recent meeting came during the 2021 season in a triangular meet hosted by Michigan State in which Minnesota trounced the Spartans by a score of 28-6.
First Meeting: L, 8-23 (1945-46)
Last Meeting: W, 28-6 (1/16/2021)
Longest Win Streak: W12 (2/19/2006-1/16/2021)
Longest Losing Streak: L12 (1/22/1966-2/2/1985)
Current Streak: W1
Between the two duals this weekend, the Maroon & Gold could see a total of 12 ranked matchups, with four Gopher grapplers prepared to face a ranked opponent in each contest.
Patrick McKee has two ranked tests ahead of him this weekend, as he is projected to take on No. 10 Liam Cronin (Nebraska) and No. 25 Tristan Lujan (Michigan State).
Aaron Nagao will look for the signature win of his young career on Sunday, as he will get a second crack at Michigan State’s Rayvon Foley in a rematch of the 2022 Southern Scuffle finals.
All-American Jake Bergeland gets an opportunity against a top-5 opponent as he will square off against Brock Hardy in Lincoln on Friday night.
Brayton Lee will get a chance to knock off top-ranked 157-pounder Peyton Robb of Nebraska on Friday night before returning home to battle against Michigan State’s Chase Saldate. Lee is a combined 3-0 all-time against his weekend opponents.
Isaiah Salazar looks to continue his climb up the ranks this weekend with a pair of top-20 opponents in No. 10 Lenny Pinto (Nebraska) and No. 17 Layne Malczewski (Michigan State).
Following this weekend’s action, the Big Ten gauntlet continues for the Gophers as they prepare for another conference doubleheader next weekend. The “U” will first travel to Bloomington, Ind., to battle Indiana next Friday at 5:00 p.m. CST, before returning to Maturi Pavilion to celebrate Alumni Night with a Sunday afternoon tussle against the Purdue Boilermakers at 1:00 p.m. CST. Both duals will be broadcasted on the conference’s subscription-based platform B1G+.