LINCOLN — They call it the “twister,” or in some parts of the country, the “cement mixer.”
Whatever you call it, it brought the house down Friday night and gave No. 13 Nebraska a 23-19, come-from-behind win against unranked Michigan State in the Huskers’ final wrestling dual at NU Coliseum.
The Huskers can only hope to have it so good when they move to the Devaney Center next year — 1,742 fans, NU legend Tom Osborne on the bench as honorary wrestling coach, former All-American Jordan Burroughs signing autographs and new Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst in the balcony.
Enter redshirt freshman Austin Wilson, who went to high school two blocks from where Osborne grew up in Hastings. Wilson was tied 2-2 against Michigan State’s Nick Proctor in the second period of the 165-pound match, the last of the night. NU needed a win to overcome a 19-17 deficit.
Wilson said afterward that he wasn’t trying to be defensive, but little had happened in the match to generate excitement.
Then Wilson sank toward the mat, twisting Proctor over the top of him and onto his back. A roar went up so loud it sounded like a ... well, twister. The slap of the referee’s hand on the mat. A pin at 3:45.
Fans poured from the stands as Wilson sprang to his feet, ripping off his headgear and giving his best “Rocky” impression. Teammates surrounded Wilson so fast that he missed Osborne’s attempt to congratulate the hometown boy.
“Maybe we had a little Hastings luck tonight,” NU wrestling coach Mark Manning said.
The twister is described as a “momentum” move, whereby the aggressive wrestler sinks toward the mat while pulling and twisting the opponent.
“If you hesitate, you’re done,” Manning said. “It’ll snap you back.”
Meaning, it can backfire. Manning said the coaches had directed Wilson to practice the move, though he knew it and had used it in matches.
Fans had seen the move two matches earlier at 149 pounds, when the Spartans’ Dan Osterman used it to upset Nebraska’s seventh-ranked Jake Sueflohn with a pin at 2:55. Sueflohn’s loss cost six points and put the Huskers behind 19-14.
The exciting finish capped a Senior Night that saw five Huskers honored — Josh Ihnen, Ridge Kiley, Tyler Koehn, Michael Klinginsmith and Ross Grande.
Osborne and Burroughs, an Olympic and world champion, were both recognized during an intermission.
Individual results: 174 pounds: Robert Kokesh, NU, technical fall Jordan Rizqallah, 19-3. 184: Josh Ihnen, NU, dec. John Rizqallah, 6-1. 197: Caleb Kolb, NU, dec. Nick McDiarmid, 4-1. Hwt: Michael McClure, MSU, dec. Spencer Johnson, 5-2. 125: Brennan Lyon, MSU, major dec. Eric Coufal, 14-1. 133: Brandon Fifield, MSU, wins by forfeit. 141: Ridge Kiley, NU, dec., Nick Trimble, 8-2. 149: Dan Osterman, pinned Jake Sueflohn, 2:15. 157: James Green, NU, dec. Ryan Watts, MSU, 5-2. 165: Austin Wilson, NU, pin Nick Proctor, 3:45.
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