Nebraska head coach Chuck Chmelka knows how big Saturday night's win was, and so does his team. "I think this was a huge stepping stone for our program."
Indeed it was as the Huskers (418.35) defeated Iowa (413.5) and Penn State (409.6). It marked the first time since 1999 that Nebraska has defeated PSU in the regular season. "They still know Penn State is a darn good team," Chmelka said. "[But] they know they are too, and the confidence is growing. They could be a top team."
Chmelka and co. can thank their lucky stars that they've got Chris & Anton Stephenson on the roster. The brothers accounted for just a shade over 30% of the team total on Saturday. Chris (B1G Gymnast of the Week) went a season-high 83.5 in the AA while Anton put up four scores (FX, VT, PB, HB) of 14 or better.
Chris Stephenson picked up his 2nd B1G GOTW honor of 2017.
What a cool story it would be if the two can lead Nebraska to their first top-six NCAA finish since 1999.
The job done by the Iowa Hawkeyes shouldn't go unnoticed either. Iowa nearly reached their season-high team total thanks to an unsuspecting event, PH. Their 68.9 blew out their previous best in 2017 by 3.75 points. Austin Hodges (14.05) and Elijah Parsells (13.95) both finished top-four on the event.
Just to show how important PH has been for Iowa; in the two meets where they have scored a 65+ on the event their team scores were 413.5 and 414.65. In the four meets where they've failed to score a 65 they have gone 404.1, 399.9, 397.1 and 387.55.
You can check out some highlights of the Hawkeyes' day here.
The third-place Nittany Lions were led by a pair of Freshman AA'ers in Favian Valdez (81.1) and Sam Zakutney (80.4). The wheels fell off on HB where PSU could only manage a 63.0. HB has proven difficult for them this season and Saturday's score marked the third time in six meets where they've scored under a 64. It's the only event where PSU ranks outside the top-nine nationally.
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