For a split second, Nebraska’s Taylor Venz tried to switch his emotion from celebration to focus.
The No. 5 184-pounder had just knocked off Northern Iowa’s No. 6 Drew Foster with a decision and flexed his muscles to the crowd in Nebraska’s 22-12 win over the Panthers (2-3) at the annual Tumble N’ Rumble event at the Devaney Sports Center Saturday night.
A green challenge brick soon came from the UNI bench and the match went to video review.
Venz had narrowly escaped a takedown from Foster in the final seconds.
“My mind went from celebrating with the crowd to overtime really quick,” Venz said. “I never worry about celebrations before the match, but when I won, my emotions just kind of took over. Then I saw the brick.”
The call on the mat was confirmed and Venz earned the victory in dramatic fashion, despite nearly pinning Foster and leading 4-0 less than 20 seconds into the match.
“He came out really well then wasn’t consistent in his approach,” NU coach Mark Manning said. “Then it was just a little sloppy. We didn’t wrestle our best, but he showed a lot of grit.”
Venz’s win gave Nebraska (7-2) a 14-12 lead in the dual and the Huskers didn’t lose after that.
No. 12 197-pound Eric Schultz picked up a 6-3 decision over Tyrell Gordon and No. 14 David Jensen got a technical fall win in the heavyweight match.
“Our motto of ‘bringing out the best in yourself, it’s not who you wrestle’ really came out in those matches,” Manning said. “That way you don’t put yourself in bad positions and you don’t get sloppy.”
No. 2 Tyler Berger lived up to that motto as well at 157 pounds.
He got a technical fall win over Patrick Schoenfelder early in the dual that turned the tide a little bit when Nebraska was trailing 9-3.
Berger’s win cut the Panther lead to 9-8 and switched the momentum of the match around.
“I feel a little pressure every time going in; I like that,” Berger said.
“Especially guys that haven’t been at the NCAAs. I’m going to try and get my opponent fatigued and see that anxiety build. Then you smell the blood and you have to attack.”
Both Berger and Manning said the crowd at the Devaney Sports Center was great for a multitude of reasons as well.
“This is what it’s like at the Big Tens and the NCAA tournament, so this is what we want,” Berger said.
The win over UNI closes out the non-conference season for NU. The Huskers will travel to take on Maryland Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. before wrestling No. 1 Penn State in State College, Pennsylvania on Jan. 20 at 12 p.m.