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Ohio State wrestling seeks to get back on track against No. 7 Nebraska

OSU redshirt senior Johnni DiJulius (left) sizes up his opponent during a match against Arizona State on Nov. 20 at St. John Arena. OSU won 28-9. Credit: Mason Swires | Lantern reporter

OSU redshirt senior Johnni DiJulius (left) sizes up his opponent during a match against Arizona State on Nov. 20 at St. John Arena. OSU won 28-9.
Credit: Mason Swires | Lantern reporter

After sustaining a tough upset loss last Saturday, the Ohio State wrestling team has a quick recovery on its mind on Sunday.

That matchup will feature No. 11 OSU (5-2, 2-1) playing host to No. 7 Nebraska (9-1, 3-1) at 2 p.m. in St. John Arena.

Last week, the Buckeyes fell to the now-No. 10 Michigan by a score of 21-11.

The upset loss was one that OSU did not take lightly.

“There were seven weight classes where we didn’t score any offensive points,” OSU coach Tom Ryan said. “It’s critical this week that we are putting ourselves in scoring positions.”

Redshirt senior Hunter Stieber fully agreed with his coach that the team needs to be more aggressive in the coming matchup.

“We didn’t really shoot that much, and when we did, they capitalized on it more than we did,” Stieber said.

Sunday will mark the first time the Scarlet and Gray face off against the Cornhuskers this season.

The team will try to right the wrongs from last week and move forward.

“I think we just need to get back to just wrestling how we want to wrestle and not let our opponent dictate the match,” Stieber said.

Nebraska is a unit that is well-respected in the Big Ten, as well as throughout the entire NCAA.

Through the last five matchups with OSU, the Cornhuskers have been victorious in four.

Led by the likes of junior T.J. Dudley and senior Jake Sueflohn, Nebraska has amassed 205 points so far, and a record of 9-1 overall.

Also over the span of the last five years, Nebraska has finished nationally ranked inside the top 15 every season.

So, with the high pedigree of their opponent, Ryan and the Buckeyes know exactly what the Cornhuskers bring to the table.

“They’re a tough, gritty team,” Ryan said. “I think every one of their guys is ranked in the top 15 or so.”

All of the probable starters for Nebraska are, in fact, ranked in the top 25 in the InterMat polls.

The Cornhuskers unit will be a test for the OSU team, but Ryan said he is confident in his wrestlers.

“They’ve got a really tough dual-meet team, and it’s going to be one heck of a match,” Ryan said.

A healthy lineup

In the 2014-15 season, the OSU wrestling team sustained a few setbacks in terms of injuries to key members of the team.

“Last year we struggled to put a healthy team on the mat all year,” Ryan said.

This year, the team seems to be in peak shape, and ready for a run at repeating as NCAA champions.

One of the most notable injuries from last season was sustained by Stieber.

At the start of the year, Stieber was one of the top-ranked wrestlers in the 149-pound weight class before a knee injury limited him to participating in just 10 matches.

Now, the redshirt senior has had time to heal, and is ready for the season ahead.

“I haven’t wrestled healthy in, like, two years,” Stieber said.

Although there are still small hiccups here and there, Stieber returned to the starting lineup last week.

He will likely draw a tough opponent in Sueflohn on Sunday.

Looking ahead

After Sunday’s showdown with the Cornhuskers, OSU is scheduled to continue its Big Ten portion of the season, squaring off against Michigan State on Jan. 24.

The two teams met in the Michigan State Open earlier this season, where both teams performed well.

The match is set to take place at Walsh Jesuit High School in Cleveland at 2 p.m.

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