Isaiah White delivered as dramatic a win as you’ll see the last time he was on the Devaney Center mat.
Nebraska had lost duals to No. 1 Iowa and No. 2 Penn State the previous two weekends with No. 3 Ohio State in town.
The dual was tied 14-14 going into the final match: White, ranked fifth nationally at 165 pounds, facing No. 16 Ethan Smith. White got an early takedown before injuring his left ankle late in the first period.
The injury slowed White’s offense, and the match appeared to be headed to sudden victory. But White’s final move — right in front of NU’s bench — caught Smith, then the Husker senior recorded a pin with two seconds remaining to set off a celebration by teammates and the Devaney crowd.
“Hopefully, we can use this as momentum and keep going the rest of the year,” White said after that win. “This is my last year, so I might as well go out with a bang.”
White will wrestle his final home match Friday, when the fourth-ranked Huskers face No. 22 Michigan on BTN.
White, an All-American last year when he placed fifth at nationals, is 14-3 this season. His losses are to opponents ranked first, second and fourth in his weight class.
“He’s really grown as a wrestler and a person,” coach Mark Manning said after the OSU dual. “We know he can be a national champ, and he’s in one of the toughest weight classes.”
The only other senior who has been in NU’s starting lineup all season is Collin Purinton, who is 13-7 at 149 pounds. Ranked 16th, Purinton will face No. 10 Kanen Storr on Friday.
Michigan, which is coming off last weekend’s 27-9 loss at Iowa, has four other ranked wrestlers, led by No. 2 heavyweight Mason Parris.
Nebraska’s dual season will finish Feb. 21, when the Huskers go to No. 13 Minnesota.