2020 Ohio State vs Nebraska | Big Ten Wrestling

Isaiah White's Win Was Incredibly Significant For The Nebraska Cornhuskers

Isaiah White's Win Was Incredibly Significant For The Nebraska Cornhuskers

Isaiah White's win to clinch the dual victory over Ohio State was incredibly important for this Nebraska program.

Feb 4, 2020 by Cody Mainquist
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Isaiah White walked onto the mat on Sunday afternoon with the weight of the dual on his shoulders. With the score knotted at 14-14 apiece between Nebraska and Ohio State, the winner of the dual was going to be the last man standing between White and the Buckeyes’ Ethan Smith. 

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Isaiah White walked onto the mat on Sunday afternoon with the weight of the dual on his shoulders. With the score knotted at 14-14 apiece between Nebraska and Ohio State, the winner of the dual was going to be the last man standing between White and the Buckeyes’ Ethan Smith. 

Both wrestlers entered the match ranked in the top 15. White was ranked fourth but was reeling from a three-match losing streak. His last three bouts were against the top three wrestlers in the country at his weight. Smith, meanwhile, was coming into the match ranked 13th and looking to take advantage of the moment and lead the Buckeyes to a win.

From the outset the match was tight, with White notching the first takedown, and what looked like a promising match for White after those points flipped when adversity struck with 23 seconds left in the first period. Going out of bounds, White and Smith were in a scramble when White’s foot stuck to the mat and he twisted his ankle. The Husker had to take a medical timeout, and coach Mark Manning and a trainer went out to tape his ankle up and give him words of encouragement. White got back up and hobbled to the center to finish out the match. Smith was able to get an escape and close out the first period down 2-1.

The second period started out with White on top, adding 20 valuable seconds to his ride time to give him a total of a minute and half of time before Smith was able to free himself. The escape made it 2-2 and Smith was applying constant pressure. Both wrestlers had scrambles on the edge that were close to takedowns. It was Smith, though, who able to get in deep on a single leg and get behind White for a takedown as time expired to take a 4-2 lead into the third.

The third period saw plenty of fireworks. Smith started on top needing to ride out at least 31 seconds to take away ride time. White was too quick, though, and was able to get an escape to bring the match to 4-3 with the riding time point in his back pocket. Smith was not going to do go down quietly: He brought constant foreword pressure and it resulted in a stall warning on White. With short time and the match looking like it was going to go to overtime, Smith went in on a shot, and White was able to lock up a cradle and get the pin with just two seconds left.

Watch the full match between White and Smith:

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The match meant a win for Isaiah White, and a win for Nebraska. To the fans, that pin meant so much more. The dual win over Ohio State was the first ranked Big Ten win this season and was the biggest upset for the program since a win over Oklahoma State in 2008. 

The victory gave a sense of pride in the program; when so many men’s sports teams are underperforming for the university, the wrestling program gave the fan base something to believe in and be proud of. The wrestling program finally got over the hump after losses to Wisconsin, Iowa, and Penn State; they finally got the monkey off their back. The Cornhuskers had been so close the last two seasons with a loss on criteria to Wisconsin last year, leading Iowa 13-12 going into the final two matches last season, and watched it slip away. Finally, a little over a week ago, Nebraska held a one-point advantage on Penn State heading into the final match and was not able to finish. Penn State got a decision at heavyweight to win the dual 20-18. Isaiah White was not going to let that happen Sunday, and the senior put his team on his back and finished the match in impressive fashion.