LINCOLN — TJ Dudley, a redshirt freshman from South Carolina, brought Devaney Center fans to their feet Friday night with a pin over 19th-ranked Luke Sheridan of Indiana to help Nebraska remain undefeated in wrestling duals.
“I love it,” said Dudley, who responded to the crowd’s spontaneity by motioning for it raise the volume level. “I’m kind of a show-off, and I wanted them (fans) to feel the energy.”
The pin in the seventh match of the evening at 184 pounds took the eighth-ranked Huskers from a six-point lead to a 21-6 margin. The final tally climbed to 30-10, boosting their record to 7-0 in duals and 2-0 in the Big Ten and dropping Indiana to 8-3-1.
Nebraska coach Mark Manning said pins like Dudley’s are momentum-changers.
“The kid that he pinned is tough, really tough,” Manning said.
Sheridan was a junior Greco national champion from California. He won his last eight bouts a year ago and is ranked this year.
Dudley said he took advantage of being on the mat, rather than on his feet.
“I’m a better mat wrestler,” he said. Sheridan at one point set Dudley up for a move by leaning into him.
“I knew right then that the match was over,” Dudley said.
Nebraska got off to a good start when freshman Colton McCrystal pinned Chris Caton for a come-from-behind win in the 133-pound division.
Like Dudley, McCrystal said he was making up for earlier mistakes when he got the upper hand on Caton.
“I knew if I just kept wrestling the points would come,” McCrystal said.
Manning said Husker coaches teach wrestlers that “it’s not what you do (in making mistakes) that counts, it’s how you recover from it. Both of those guys wrestled hard in coming back.”
Five of Nebraska’s six nationally ranked wrestlers won their matches Friday — including No. 6 Jake Sueflohn at 149 pounds, No. 3 James Green at 157, No. 4 Robert Kokesh at 174 and No. 15 Dudley.
Sophomore Austin Wilson, ranked No. 14 at 165 pounds, lost a 3-2 decision to Indiana senior Ryan LeBlanc.
The Husker wrestlers will host the Penn Quakers at 6 p.m. Saturday in an event that is being billed as “Tumble and Rumble” at the Devaney Center. The NU women’s gymnastics team is also scheduled to compete against Northern Illinois.
133 pounds: Colton McCrystal, NU, pinned Caton, 5:19.
141: Ethan Raley, Ind., dec. Adam Joseph, 6-4.
149: Jake Sueflohn, NU, dec. Eric Roach, 8-3.
157: James Green, NU, dec. Taylor Walsh, 7-1.
165: Ryan LeBlanc., Ind., dec. Austin Wilson, 3-2.
174: Robert Kokesh, NU, dec. Nate Jackson, 6-3.
184: T.J. Dudley, NU, pinned Luke Sheridan, 2:50.
197: Spencer Johnson, Ind., dec. Caleb Kolb, 6-1.
Hwt: Colin Jensen, NU, vs. Adam Chalfant
125: Tim Lambert, NU, won by default.