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LINCOLN, Neb. — The No. 11-ranked University of Michigan wrestling team used the third tiebreaker criteria — most match points — to knock off No. 6 Nebraska, 17-16, on Friday evening (Feb. 7) in front of 2,667 fans at the Cornhuskers’ Devaney Center. With the Wolverines needing a major decision in the final match, freshman heavyweight Adam Coon (Fowlerville, Mich./Fowlerville HS) came through to seal the dual victory.
Coon, ranked second in the latest WIN’s poll, scored five takedowns en route to a 12-3 major decision over Collin Jensen, tallying three in the first period to jump out to an early lead before adding one more apiece in the second and third. With the major in hand midway through the third, Coon rode out the remainder of the match to accumulate 1:56 in time advantage. He improved to 26-1 on the season.
The Wolverines also benefited from a sizable early advantage, winning each of the first three matches at the lowerweights and four of the first six.
Sophomore/freshman Conor Youtsey (Parma, Mich./Mason HS) edged ninth-ranked Tim Lambert, 2-0, at 125 pounds — his second win over a ranked opponent in three matches. Youtsey, ranked 20th, rode out the second period and secured a quick escape in the third to control the opening bout from start to finish.
Sophomore/freshman Rossi Bruno (Brandon, Fla./Brandon HS), ranked 19th at 133 pounds, took advantage of a quick start to claim a 7-6 decision over Shawn Nagel on riding time. Bruno finished on an early first-period single leg and subsequently rode for more than a minute. He escaped quickly in the second and countered on a Nagel half shot late in the period. The Husker wrestled scored on two takedowns of his own in the third, including a late counter, but Bruno held 1:44 in time advantage to provide the deciding point.
Senior/junior Steve Dutton (Miller Place, N.Y./Rocky Point HS), ranked 13th at 141 pounds, had the Cornhuskers’ Colton McCrystal wrapped up in a cradle for most of the third period but settled instead for a 10-3 decision. Dutton scored on a pair of first-period takedowns to build an early lead before adding three more points on the third-period cradle.
The Huskers put their first points on the board with back-to-back decision wins 149 and 157 pounds. Jake Sueflohn, ranked fifth nationally, rallied to defeat fifth-year senior Eric Grajales (Brandon, Fla./Brandon HS), 9-3, in the former bout, stealing the lead with a takedown late in the first period and adding three more in the second and third. It was Grajales’ first loss of the semester.
Senior/junior Jake Salazar (Midway, Utah/Wasatch HS) forced overtime against top-ranked James Green at 157 pounds before losing, 7-6, on a rideout in the first round of tiebreakers. After giving up two takedowns in the first period, Salazar chipped away with a single-leg takedown late in the second and evened the score with a hard double leg in the final 10 seconds of regulation. He had Green’s leg wrapped up tight late in the sudden-victory frame but couldn’t finish on the edge as time expired. Green escaped 12 seconds into the first tiebreaker and rode out Salazar in the second to stave off the upset.
Fifth-year senior Dan Yates (Hesperia, Mich./Hesperia HS) picked up a 4-0 decision over Austin Wilson at 165 pounds, scoring on a head in the hole in the first period and riding out the remainder of the frame. He escaped in the second and finished the bout with 1:18 in time advantage. Yates’ win pushed U-M’s lead to 12-6 with four bouts remaining.
Nebraska won each of the next three matches to temporarily take the lead.
The Wolverines were in good position to put the dual away before the heavyweight match but lost heartbreakers on late takedowns in consecutive matches at 184 and 197 pounds. Freshman Domenic Abounader (Gates Mills, Ohio/St. Edward HS) scored on two second-period takedowns to lead ninth-ranked T.J. Dudley by two points late in the third period in the former before giving up a last-second takedown out of a wild flurry in regulation and a single leg on the edge late in sudden victory to fall 8-6. Senior/junior Chris Heald (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield HS) scored in the first period and escaped immediately in the third to lead Caleb Kolb by three at 197 pounds but gave up two takedowns late, including a single leg in the final 20 seconds to fall 5-4.
Michigan (10-3, 6-1 Big Ten) will close out the road trip — and its Big Ten Conference dual-meet slate — on Sunday (Feb. 9), heading to Iowa City, Iowa, to face No. 3 Iowa at 2 p.m. CST at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.