Photo by Pat Radigan
HWT: Grayson — Maj Dec (16-3)
Story by Pat Radigan
Sudden-death takedown allows NU to avoid disaster
When the third period ended in the final period of the day, Nebraska’s Tyler Berger didn’t even realize his match was going to overtime, let alone that the dual decision hung in the balance based on the extra period.
It didn’t matter, though, as the eighth-ranked Berger got a takedown in the sudden death period to put away No. 18 John Van Brill, and with it complete Nebraska’s comeback win against No. 16 Rutgers. The decision gave No. 18 Nebraska the 19-13 edge, and avoided a heartbreaking loss in the final bout.
The two teams were tied 47-47 heading into the 157 pound match, meaning that if Berger had lost, the dual would have been tied 16-16, and Rutgers would have won on criteria. That wasn’t even in Berger’s mind, with the junior saying he had to avoid focusing on anything “besides just the guy in front of him.”
“I was surprised, I didn’t even know it was tied, I thought I had won,” Berger said. “So when I saw overtime that was a little bit of a shock. I’ve been in a lot of overtime matches, especially this year for some reason. I don’t scared in overtime.”
Berger’s bout was pushed to the extra period due to a late stall call against the junior, which combined with riding time evened the match at four points apiece. Despite not realizing the scoring situation, Berger adjusted quickly and got just the second takedown of the matchup to get the vital three points.
“Honestly I get more relaxed going into overtime,” he said. “It’s just the mindset I have going into the match, I know I’m going to win if the match gets close. Guys are going to have to put up a lead on me to beat me.”
Nebraska’s comeback started on either side of Rutgers only bonus point win on the day. That win came at 125 pounds for the Scarlet Knights, when No. 2 Nick Suriano won by a 14-4 major decision.
In the match before, Nebraska’s Patrick Grayson used a 7-0 spurt in the second period to secure the only bonus points the Huskers would get. The sophomore heavyweight started the period with an escape, and then found himself in a scramble to try and secure a takedown of Razohnn Gross.
Grayson eventually worked his way around Gross, and found himself in control of the leverage enough to get Gross flipped for a 4-point near fall. Gross never recovered, and Grayson tacked on another takedown and the riding time point to put away a 10-2 major decision.
After Suriano’s win made it 13-7, Nebraska got a much-needed spark from unranked Jason Renteria, when he took care of No. 17 Scott DelVecchio in a thrilling 14-11 decision for NU’s freshman.
It didn’t take long for Renteria to get his first takedown, and he stayed on the front foot throughout the matchup to pull the upset. Renteria forced DelVecchio into surrendering a stall point in the first period, and worked his way to a takedown late in the third to make it 14-9 and all but end any hope of DelVecchio getting back in the bout.
Chad Red Jr. then took care of his match, and held off Michael Van Brill in a 3-1 decision to even the score in the dual.
Rutgers won the first two matchups of ranked wrestlers as part of a 9-0 start to the match, before Colton McCrystal reversed that trend at 141 pounds to give Nebraska its first lead in the match. After Red held on, the 10th-ranked McCrystal closed out his win with a dominant third period as part of a 7-2 decision over No. 13 Eleazar DeLuca.
That set the stage for Berger’s win, and allowed Nebraska to sneak out its third-straight win over a ranked Big Ten opponent. After splitting the past few weekends in home-and-away situations, Nebraska will stay at home for a lone dual next weekend, when Illinois comes to Devaney for Senior Day.