DEKALB – The Northern Illinois wrestling team hit two big milestones Saturday at the NIU Convocation Center, as they went 3-0 at the Huskie Duals.
With a win over South Dakota State in the second match of the day, the team recorded their 500th win in program history. In addition, the Huskies' victory over Indiana was their first over a Big Ten program since 2009.
Round One: Huskies Slay Dragons, 36-3
Northern Illinois opened the day with a bang, demolishing the Tiffin Dragons in a 36-3 victory.
The Huskies won the first nine matches of the dual, including one each by pin, major decision and technical fall.
"What we wanted to do is get a good start," said NIU head coach Ryan Ludwig. "We know Tiffin's scrappy and if we were going to hold back and think people were going to fall down for us, that sure wasn't going to happen. I was proud of the guys who came out of the gate hard. They stayed within their style of match and controlled the action for seven minutes."
Derek Elmore got things started on the right foot for NIU when he pinned TU’s Jordan Shoemaker midway through the first period, giving the Huskies an early 6-0 advantage.
However, Northern took complete control of the match in the next three bouts. At 133, Thorian Twyner scratched out a hard-fought 6-4 decision over Mike Screptock by stifling a late comeback attempt. Tyler Argue added to that with a 9-1 major decision over Lawrence Blackful III.
Rob Jillard pieced together an impressive match at 149, dominating D.J. Beauch en route to a 16-0 techincal fall. Following a forfeit by Tiffin at 157, NIU led 24-0 only midway through the dual.
From there, the Huskies coasted to victory with a handful of decisions. Dan Burk defeated Trevor Nickolai in a 7-4, come-from-behind victory at 165, while Matt Mougin fought his way to an 8-3 win over 2012 NCAA Division II Championships qualifier Jake Cramer at 174.
A pair of freshman pushed the Huskie tally to 36 points with decisions in their collegiate dual debuts. Bryan Loughlin overcame an early takedown to outscore Walid Boggio, 6-3, and Shawn Scott kept his record on the year untarnished with a 4-0 win over Alek Hughes.
Arthur Bunce took Jared Torrence’s place at heavyweight, but lost in a 9-3 decision in his dual debut to Kevin Christman.
Round Two: Early Pins Help Huskies Nab Jackrabbits
Northern Illinois came out firing against South Dakota State with two big pins in the first three bouts en route to a 26-12 win.
Not only did the win give NIU their second of the day, but it also gave the program 500 dual wins in program history.
"Winning breeds confidence," Ludwig said. "We went back and forth in those early weights. They have some competitors in those weights. Obviously, the pins at 125 and 141 were huge. Bonus points in duals make huge differences. For some of those upper weights to close it out like we wanted them to was big."
For the second consecutive dual, Derek Elmore got the Huskies out to a great start with a first period pin against Aaron Pickrel. Following an early takedown, the sophomore executed a near perfect spladel to put the Jackrabbits’ 125-pounder on his back with no hope of recovering.
SDSU cut that six-point deficit in half in the 133 pound match. Huskie Thorian Twyner fought valiantly with Brance “Bubba” Simms, but Simms was too much in a 4-1 win for the Jacks.
Ethan Davis stemmed that momentum, though, with a first period pin at 141 pounds against Ben Gillette. Davis came out aggressive early and, after getting a pair of nearfall points, flipped Gillette before the official slapped the mat to give Northern a 12-3 edge.
The Jackrabbits battled back in the next three bouts to tie the match at 12. Dustin Walraven earned a 9-3 decision over Rob Jillard at 149, while Andrew Morse and Dan Burk dropped tough 5-2 and 6-1 decisions at 157 and 165, respectively.
Northern regained the lead at 174 pounds in an exciting match between Matt Mougin and Troy Morisette. Though leading 4-1 after one, Mougin could not hold off his SDSU counterpart and the match went to overtime knotted up at four. However, the Columbus Junction, Iowa, native ended things in the extra session with a swift double leg takedown for a 6-4 win.
With the momentum in their favor, the Huskies effectively ended the Jackrabbits’ hopes with a pair of major decisions at 184 and 197. Bryan Loughlin made quick work of Hunter Weddington with a 10-1 victory, while Shawn Scott’s takedown/nearfall combo as time expired gave him a 11-3 win over Brandon Ballard.
Jared Torrence sealed the deal at heavyweight with an 8-3 win over J.J. Everard.
Round Three: Huskies Upset Hoosiers, 19-13
Northern Illinois closed out the day with a huge win, knocking off Big Ten foe Indiana, 19-13.
The victory over the Hoosiers marked the first win by the Huskies over a Big Ten team since Dec. 3, 2009, when they defeated Northwestern, 24-13, in DeKalb. It was also the team's first win over Indiana since Jan. 5, 2002, when they knocked off IU 19-15 in Columbus, Ohio.
"Pressure is perceived and if you believe there's pressure, there is," Ludwig said. "There's no pressure involved in that. It's just about going out there and believing in your shots, believing in your wrestling ability. When you compete to the highest of your ability, you are going to beat your opponent."
Derek Elmore got NIU on the upset trail early with a big 15-3 major decision against Joe Duca at 125 pounds. Following an Indiana win at 133 pounds that trimmed the Huskie lead to one, Ethan Davis pushed Northern's advantage back to four when he earned a 6-3 decision over Eric Roach at 141.
NIU's lead grew to seven when Rob Jillard knocked off Alex Gregory, 6-3, at 149. However, the Hoosiers staged a comeback with two straight wins by 2012 NCAA qualifiers. Taylor Walsh defeated Andrew Morse, 7-1, and Ryan LeBlanc took a 21-8 major decision over Dan Burk at 165.
The Huskies would take the lead for good, though, when Matt Mougin grabbed a close 3-2 win over Cheney Dale. With time running out in the final period, Dale was able to get one last takedown on Mougin. Yet, the Huskie redshirt junior held Dale from getting the critical two takedown points to preserve the win.
Bryan Loughlin was caught in another high-tension match at 184 with a bout against Luke Sheridan. With one stalling warning against him, Loughlin was able to get time to expire by stuffing Sheridan's multiple shots.
Shawn Scott clinched the win when he outfought Tarek Alaruri at 197 pounds, getting his hand raised with a 6-1 decision.
Jared Torrence finished the dual by nearly knocking off Adam Chalfant, the No. 12-ranked heavyweight in the nation. However, Chalfant emerged with a 5-2 win for Indiana's final points.