Rutgers was there before in a high-energy home environment but did not finish strongly enough in the inaugural Big Ten season. This year is already different and the signature 17-16 victory over No. 4 Nebraska created a special moment for the Rutgers wrestlers Saturday at the RAC.
"It's great to fill the arena and pack the RAC but you want to win," said head coach Scott Goodale. "You want to win and today was that day. We've been dying for one of those. We've been close and I just think about what happened the last 48 hours makes it even more special. ... This was bigger. This was better. This was Big Ten. This was important. Good for these guys."
It game down to a tie-breaker where Rutgers won the advantage based on total bout points scored. Goodale knew going into heavyweight Billy Smith's final match exactly what had to happen.
"I put a lot of faith in our stat girl Tiffany," Goodale said. "It was either going to be her or me out of there. I knew we needed to win by five there. We had a timeout where coach [John] Leonardis told Billy he had to win by five. We stuck to it. We wouldn't have looked real smart if that wasn't the case but sure enough, it was."
125: No. 10/14/8 Tim Lambert (NEB) dec. over No. 18/18/14 Sean McCabe (RU), 9-4; Nebraska leads, 3-0
133: No. 9/8/7 Eric Montoya (NEB) dec. over No. 17/NR/15 Anthony Giraldo (RU), 2-0; Nebraska leads, 6-0
141: No. 3/4/3 Anthony Ashnault (RU) major dec. over No. 17/12/18 Anthony Abidin (NEB), 11-2; Nebraska leads, 6-4
149: No. 7/7/7 Jake Sueflohn (NEB) major dec. over Tyson Dippery (RU), 12-3; Nebraska leads, 10-4
157: No. 17/NR/NR Richie Lewis (RU) dec. over No. 10/9/9 Tyler Berger (NEB), 10-3; Nebraska leads, 10-7
165: No. 12/9/5 Anthony Perrotti (RU) dec. over No. 4/4/3 Austin Wilson (NEB), 9-4; Match tied, 10-10
174: No. 12/13/10 Micah Barnes (NEB) dec. over Phillip Bakuckas (RU), 9-3; Nebraska leads, 13-10
184 Nicholas Gravina (RU) dec. over No. 4/3/2 T.J. Dudley (NEB), 3-2; Match tied, 13-13
197: No. 16/11/15 Aaron Studebaker (NEB) dec. over Hayden Hrymack (RU), 3-1 (TB-1); Nebraska leads, 16-13
285: No. 6/9/10 Billy Smith (RU) dec. over No. 13/20/20 Collin Jensen (NEB), 8-2; Match tied, 16-16
Rutgers wins by criteria 3.15.3 (Total match points scored only from decisions, major decisions and
technical falls), 51-48