CEDAR FALLS — No. 17 Northern Iowa dropped its home opener to No. 7 Nebraska 23-19 Sunday at West Gym, a week after falling at Northwestern in its season opener.
Jay Schwarm got things started in dramatic fashion for the Panthers, overcoming a 6-2 deficit with a pin of Alex Thomsen in 5:16 at 125.
Jack Skudlarczyk’s near fall, escape, and late third period takedown of Ridge Lovett at 133 followed Schwarm’s pin and gave UNI (0-2) an early 9-0 lead.
“I’ll give (Nebraska) credit that they got punched in the mouth early — they’re not planning on getting pinned at 125, especially (when) it was 6-2 going into the end of the first period,” UNI coach Doug Schwab said. “They’re planning on winning 133, they pulled out their redshirt. So, they’re planning on winning those matches (and) we win those matches.”
At 141, 149, 157 and 165 the Panthers hit a rough patch as Michael Blockhus, Max Thomsen, Keaton Geerts and Austin Yant lost by technical fall, sudden victory, pin and major decision, respectively.
Trailing 18-9, Bryce Steiert stopped the Cornhuskers’ (3-0) streak at 174 with a 2-1 decision over Mikey Labriola, bringing the Panthers back within 6 at 18-12.
“I thought they fought well, just, I guess sometimes in some situations you’re out-manned,” Schwab said. “So we gotta get them manned up more and more ready for those matches. But, four situations we gave up bonus points and I think seven of the 10 matches we gave up the first score.”
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Taylor Lujan grabbed three takedowns and earned bonus points in a 15-6 major decision against second-ranked Taylor Venz at 184, shrinking Nebraska’s lead to two, 18-16.
Nebraska’s Eric Schultz (5-0) countered Lujan’s win at 174 with a tech fall over Noah Glaser at 184 and heavyweight Carter Isley won a 6-2 decision, but it wasn’t enough to pull off an upset comeback.
“I think we gave away the dual,” Schwab said. “That’s nothing against Nebraska, but I think some of the swing matches that we had to win, we won those. There wasn’t a whole lot of matches on paper we were probably favored, and if you’re going to beat a team ranked ahead of you, you’ve got to be able to (overcome) that.”
The Panthers travel to Las Vegas for the Cliff Keen Invite from Dec. 6-7.