In a Top-10 Big Ten battle, No. 9 Nebraska will welcome No. 4 Iowa to its home mat on Sunday afternoon for a dual featuring seven ranked matchups and a big opportunity for the Cornhuskers to put up some points against a national powerhouse. The Iowa Hawkeyes have not lost a dual to Nebraska since head coach Tom Brands took over the program, and they are 31-10-1 overall against the Cornhuskers.
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🌽 #6 Nebraska Cornhuskers vs #3 Iowa Hawkeyes
📅 Feb. 3
🏠 Devaney Center
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The Hawkeyes enter this year's dual after a win last weekend against Northwestern, where several top-ranked wrestlers, including No. 2 Spencer Lee and No. 7 Kaleb Young sat out. These two Top-10 athletes will both face ranked opponents in Nebraska, and they are both listed as probable starters for this match.
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Nebraska comes into the match fresh off a dominating win over No. 18 Rutgers headlined by No. 4 Taylor Venz' first-period pin over John Ciaramella, his third pin in four duals. As the Big Ten tournament inches closer, this dual between Nebraska and Iowa will be a chance for both teams to see high-level competition before March and assess where they stand with less than two months to go before nationals. These are the three matchups to watch as the Hawkeyes aim to extend their undefeated season and the Cornhuskers work to break their opponents winning streak.
157: No. 7 Kaleb Young vs. No. 2 Tyler Berger
In his first year as a full-time starter for the Hawkeyes, Kaleb Young has racked up a 13-2 record with a 1-1 record against Top 10 opponents. He'll face his biggest test so far this year when he takes on two-time All-American Tyler Berger in this Big Ten battle. The two wrestlers have never competed against each other before, but they do share a list of opponents including John Van Brill, Ryan Deakin, Griffin Parriott and Eric Barone. Against these opponents, Young holds a 2-2 record while Berger has a 4-1 record. Most recently, Young sat out his dual against Deakin of Northwestern the first match after suffering a loss to No. 11 Eric Barone in sudden victory. Berger pinned Barone on Jan. 27.
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The Nebraska senior has only lost twice this year, once to No. 1 Jason Nolf and once in sudden victory against No. 13 Griffin Parriott. Though Berger has the edge in this dual, a win for Young would move him up in the national rankings and add to his Big Ten resume with just three conference duals left for Iowa.
165: No. 2 Alex Marinelli vs. No. 6 Isaiah White
No. 2 Alex Marinelli and No. 6 Isaiah White will also meet for the first time in what is almost an opposite matchup to the pairing at 157. Marinelli is undefeated this year, holds a 15-match winning streak and has two wins against Top 10 opponents. He's started every dual as the Hawkeye's 165-pounder, but he'll face an equally tough opponent in No. 6 White, a junior who took the Cliff Keen Invitation title in this weight class. White has been on the rise since qualifying for the NCAA tournament last year in his first season as a Cornhusker. After transferring from Notre Dame College in 2017, White has posted a 25-8 regular season record the following year, finished seventh at the Big Ten tournament and advanced to the Round of 12 at the NCAA championship. He'll look to crack that Top Eight this year, and a win over Marinelli would give him added confidence heading into the Big Ten championship this year.
Marinelli, however, already has the All-American title that White is chasing, and he'll enter this match having already taken down last year's third-place national finisher Evan Wick earlier this season. Look for Marinelli to fight for control in this match and assert his strength over White, but expect the Nebraska junior to put up a fight.
197: No. 5 Jacob Warner vs. No. 11 Eric Schultz
The 197-pound weight class has presented some intrigue for the Hawkeyes as Brands has started four different athletes at this weight, with Warner being the latest wrestler to fill the spot. He's slated as the probable starter against Nebraska, and his No. 5 ranking suggests he could make some noise against No. 11 Eric Schultz and then later again at the conference tournament. The redshirt freshman holds a 9-2 record on the season and has been 4-0 in the Big Ten since taking over the starting spot in January. His undefeated conference record though, could be in jeopardy when he faces No. 11 Schultz, another young wrestler but one who has 17 wins on the season and a second-place finish at Cliff Keen on his resume.
Schultz has six losses on the season so far, but two of those came against the top-ranked guys in the weight class, No. 1 Bo Nickal and No. 2 Kollin Moore. The Nebraska sophomore could be posed to make a podium run this year, and this matchup against Warner is one that could occur again in just over a month at the Big Ten tournament.
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