Minnesota leads the all-time series over the Cornhuskers, 46-17. The Golden Gophers have won 12 of the last 13 meetings against Nebraska, including a 32-6 victory last year in Lincoln and a 25-13 win Dec. 6 of this season. Minnesota’s last loss to Nebraska also came in Lincoln, a 21-12 defeat on Jan. 4, 2005. Minnesota has outscored the Cornhuskers by an average margin of 15 points during those 12 meetings.
NESS VS. DONAHUE: ROUND FOUR
One of the most high-profile matches of Sunday’s morning meet will also most likely be one of the first, when No. 3 Jayson Ness takes on top-ranked and defending national champion Paul Donahue of Nebraska. Ness leads the series between the two 2-1, earning an 11-5 decision at the Kaufman-Brand Open 11/11/06 and an 8-6 dual meet win Feb. 11 of last season. However, it was Donahue that prevailed in the duo’s All-Star Classic match-up in November, using two third-period takedowns to emerge a 5-2 victor. Donahue upset Sam Hazewinkel of Oklahoma to win the 2007 national championship at 125 pounds.
Previous Ness-Donahue Matches:
11/6/06 Ness dec. Donahue 11-6 (@ Kaufman-Brand Open)
2/11/07 Ness dec. Donahue 8-6 (@ Lincoln, Neb.)
11/19/07 Donahue dec. Ness 5-2 (@ All-Star Classic in Eugene, Ore.)
The duo was originally scheduled to meet on Dec. 6 in Minneapolis, but Donahue missed the meet due to an injury.
HUSKERS AND GOPHERS: THE LAST TIME
Sunday’s National Duals semifinal match-up will be the second already in 2007-08 between the Huskers and Golden Gophers. On Dec. 6, Minnesota (then ranked second) and the then-No. 12 Cornhuskers met in a dual meet at the Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis. The Gophers won six of 10 matches in the 25-13 win, but Nebraska forfeited at 125 (defending national champ Paul Donahue) and 157 pounds (No. 3 Chris Oliver) due to injuries.
The turning point of the dual was fifth-ranked Mack Reiter’s last-second win over Nebraska’s No. 12 Kenny Jordan, giving Minnesota its first lead of the night at the 133 pound match (the meet began at 197 pounds). After losing two matches early, including a heartbreaker for redshirt freshman heavyweight Ben Berhow, Minnesota pulled away for the comfortable victory.
The night’s most highly-anticipated match never even took place. Defending national champion and top-ranked Paul Donahue did not make the trip north for Nebraska due to an injury suffered last week. Minnesota’s No. 3 Jayson Ness earned six team points for the victory by forfeit.
NATIONAL DUALS STREAK
The Golden Gophers enter competition Sunday having won 10 straight dual meets in National Duals competition. They are seeking to become just the third team in the 18-year history of the event to win three consecutive team titles (Oklahoma State from 2003-05 was the other).
BIG WIN FOR GABE
Gabe Dretsch’s upset victory over Central Michigan’s Brandon Sinnott (ranked third nationally) was the highest-ranked opponent the Gopher senior had defeated in 144 career matches. Dretsch also defeated Sinnott (then ranked No. 5) in a dual meet during last year’s National Duals.
HEAVYWEIGHT OF THE FUTURE?
After the graduation of two-time national champion Cole Konrad last season, the Gophers have struggled to fill the heavyweight position with redshirt freshmen Ben Berhow and Joe Nord (the duo were a combined 2-5 in dual meets before Saturday). Yura Malamura, who defeated in the pair in practice room wrestle-offs last week, got a chance to start at heavyweight Saturday and pulled off a dramatic 7-5 upset win over No. 13 Dustin Rogers of West Virginia.
GOPHERS WIN TWO
The defending national champion Minnesota Golden Gopher wrestling team stayed alive in the 2008 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals, defeating both West Virginia and No. 5 Central Michigan Saturday in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The sixth-ranked Gophers (seeded fifth this weekend) rolled over the Mountaineers 32-9 in their first round match-up before squeaking by the Chippewas 20-16 in Saturday afternoon’s second round.
Minnesota’s first meet of the tournament began bright and early at 9 a.m. against the unranked Mountaineers of West Virginia. The Gophers won seven of 10 matches to emerge win their third National Duals meet all-time against WVU.
The Gophers’ next opponent, the fourth-seeded Chippewas, proved a much more difficult test. Despite a Kish loss at 184 pounds, the Gophers prevailed behind an important Dretsch upset of No. 3 Brandon Sinnott at 174 pounds. Minnesota is now 9-0 all-time against Central Michigan in dual meets, including 5-0 in National Duals competition.