Cowboys Battle Big 12 Rival Nebraska in Top Five Matchup

Cowboys Battle Big 12 Rival Nebraska
Second-ranked Oklahoma State will host Big 12 rival No. 5 ranked Nebraska in a battle of top five teams inside Gallagher-Iba Arena on Friday night at 7 p.m. The Cowboys lead the all-time series with the Huskers 48-2-1 after defeating Nebraska in the semifinal round of National Duals, 20-14. OSU has won the last 13 meetings in the series and have an 18-match unbeaten streak dating back to the 1992-93 season. The only mark on OSU’s record in that time was an 18-18 tie at National Duals during the 1995-96 season. The Cowboys are 13-1 on the season after defeating Iowa State 26-14 on Jan. 29. The Cowboys have not lost to a Big 12 opponent since losing to Missouri, 21-17, early in the 2003-04 season. OSU has won 15 straight duals over Big 12 opponents.

Scouting the Huskers
Nebraska became the surprise team at National Duals going unseeded and coming through to finish third in the team tournament. Nebraska vaulted from 14th to fifth in the national rankings and as high as third by some publications. The Huskers toppled fifth-seed Iowa, No. 4 Michigan and sixth-seeded Central Michigan in the third-place match. Nebraska is currently 11-3 on the year after beating Missouri last weekend. The Huskers tout four freshmen in the lineup. Paul Donahoe is currently ranked ninth at 125, while Vince Jones was pulled out of redshirt at National Duals and is ranked No. 10 nationally at 184. Redshirt freshman Chris Oliver is also ranked No. 16 nationally at 157 and Patrick Aleksanyan has had a solid year, including a fall that sparked the Huskers to an upset over Iowa. Nebraska also has three sophomores in the lineup. The Huskers also boast All-Americans Jacob Klein and B.J. Padden at 174 and 197, respectively. Klein is ranked third at 174, while Padden is fifth at 197.

Davis Returns to OSU
Ryan Davis returns to Gallagher-Iba Arena after transferring to Nebraska last fall. Davis began his collegiate career at OSU and went 10-1 in open tournaments as a Cowboy. Davis is 7-6 on the season in his first year at Nebraska and will face fellow Blair Academy alum Ryan Davis in the 149-pound bout. Esposito recorded a major decision in his first match against Davis.

Morgan Takes Bakersfield Crown
When Nathan Morgan stepped on the mat against Cal Poly, his opponent was someone he was quite familiar with. Darrell Vasquez was a four-time state champion in California out of Bakersfield High School, while Morgan was a three-time state champion and four-time finalist from Bakersfield High as well. Morgan looked up to Vasquez in high school, but now the roles have been reversed when Morgan scored a late takedown in sudden victory to beat his longtime friend. Vasquez will be looking up at Morgan when the new individual rankings are released next week.

A Gopher in the Side
Oklahoma State has dominated collegiate wrestling since the NCAA started conducting a championship in 1928. The Cowboys have been even more dominating of late winning the last three NCAA titles and compiling a 105-7 record over the last six seasons. There has been one team that has continually stuck out and that is Minnesota. The Gophers have handed OSU four of those seven losses and have won six of the last nine meetings in the series. Oklahoma State still leads the all-time series at 16-8, but Minnesota is closing the gap.

Freshmen Become Sophomores
Head coach John Smith made a decision last winter to pull two freshmen out of redshirt because the Cowboys were struggling at both 125 and 133. Coleman Scott and Nathan Morgan both became Big 12 champions later on that year, while Scott went on to finish eighth at the NCAA Championships at 125. The freshmen have become sophomores and have turned into two of the better wrestlers at their weight class in the country. Scott recently defeated ninth-ranked Paul Donahoe of Nebraska and avenged an earlier loss to Arizona State’s sixth-ranked Jeremy Mendoza. Morgan has the best record on the team at 22-1 and is ranked second by the NWCA/Intermat Individual Rankings at 133 after defeating fourth-ranked Mack Reiter of Minnesota and third-ranked Darrell Vasquez of Cal Poly.



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