Iowa finished its excursion in the Mitten State the same way it began: with a lopsided dual meet win over an overmatched opponent. There were no matches pitting two ranked wrestlers against one another; #19 David Cheza sat out the match at 157 with an injury, while #6 Bobby Telford sat out the match at 285 due to a flu bug. (Iowa forfeited both matches at 285 this weekend, a pretty sad indictment of the depth -- or lack thereof -- Iowa has at that spot.)
The results were pretty much as expected -- Iowa's highly-ranked wrestlers demolished their unranked, overmatched opponents -- with a few exceptions: Matt McDonough again struggled (and failed) to get bonus points against an opponent he'd previously demolished, a different face had disappointingly similar results at 149, and Ethen Lofthouse suffered an upset loss. Consequently, the end result of this meet was a bit more disappointing than the result of the Michigan dual, but it wasn't a terrible outcome by any means. Several Iowa wrestlers looked good and demolished their opponents. Some brief weight-by-weight thoughts:
125: Same story, different day: this isn't the same McDonough we've seen the past few years. The good news was that he didn't seem to have the issues with gassing out that have plagued him in a few recent matches; the bad news was that he was struggling mightily to finish shots, which is pretty atypical for McDonough. Neither McDonough nor Brands is likely to give us any information about what issue (injury, illness, weight-cut, etc.), so I suppose all we can do is hope that he eventually starts to look more like the McD we remember.
133: Tony see, Tony crush. Ramos mauled Fifield on his way to an easy major decision win. Beyond complaining that he didn't pick up another second-straight pin, there's really nothing to complain about here.
141: See above, just replace "Tony" with Mark. Ballweg remains one of Iowa's most consistently strong performers and it's encouraging to see him so eagerly pushing for bonus points in so many of his matches. If only that attitude was more infectious...
149: Ugh. Do I have to say more than that? I probably do. Mike Kelly got the nod yesterday after Brody Grothus was tabbed on Friday; unfortunately, neither guy got an encouraging result. Kelly looked like the better option after Grothus got manhandled by Michigan's Eric Grajales on Friday night, but after watching Kelly look flummoxed against Osterman on Sunday, it's hard to feel confident in him, either. It's not hard to see why Brands keeps alternating between both options -- neither guy is doing much to lock things down. The loss to Grajales was disappointing, but at least he's a top 10-ish wrestler; Osterman is an unranked opponent and exactly the sort of guy Kelly needs to be able to beat if he wants to qualify for the NCAA Tournament and (potentially) win a few matches there. Kelly never came close to getting to Osterman's legs for a takedown and his attempts to use an upper-body throw resulted in scoring opportunities for Osterman. I have no idea what to make of 149 at this point, frankly.
157: St. John had a few issues against Watts, a fearless freshman who wasn't afraid use his quickness to attack St. John, but did eventually take control of the match in the third period. Watts was able to get one takedown on DSJ and only St. John's strong defense and incredible ability to hip out of danger prevented Watts from scoring more on DSJ. Fortunately, DSJ was also able to get his own offense going on several occasions, which led to the fairly comfortable score. (This was also the match where things got pretty heated; a shove from DSJ was met by a punch attempt from Watts.)
165: Now this was the Nick Moore we've been hoping to see all year. He gave up an early takedown, but immediately got an escape and takedown of his own to take the lead -- and from there he never looked back. He continued to push for takedowns (which is something he hasn't always done) and looked for -- and secured -- the pin late in the third period. Proctor isn't very good, but it was encouraging to see this kind of attitude from Moore.
174: Mike Evans' Tour of Destruction hit East Lansing and Jordan Wahlfert was the latest victim of the 'Stache. Another decisive, dominating win for Evans; another bonus point victory. Along with Ramos and St. John, Evans is one of the few Iowa wrestlers really excelling on a consistent basis right now.
184: Sigh. Rizqallah isn't a total stiff -- he was 19-5 on the season entering Sunday's meet and probably on the fringes of the top-20 -- but losing to him represents the sort of lapse that we hoped Ethen was past at this point. It's one thing to lose to the Steve Bosaks and Ed Ruths of this weight class, but losing to guys like this -- in a match where Ethen had few (if any) good takedown opportunities -- is really damaging for Lofthouse. Losses like this will depress his seed at the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments (making it more likely that he sees guys like Bosak or Ruth or Minnesota's Kevin Steinhaus earlier in the event) and make it even harder for him to become an All-America.
197: If I left the weekend feeling worse about 149, at least I also left the weekend feeling more encouraged by the state of things at 197. Burak picked up two wins on the weekend, and while the win over Jones wasn't as impressive as the win over Huntley, it did push Burak's B1G record to 3-1 (good for his seed at the Big Ten Tournament) and showed his ability to wrestle more consistently. Burak took a few nice shots against Jones and also used some smart mat awareness to pick up another takedown after shucking a failed shot from Jones; he also showed some solid defense. Burak is looking better and better as he gains more experience, which is nice to see.
285: Telford was still dealing with the flu, so Iowa forfeited at this weight. Hopefully Bobby is recovered in time to take on Minnesota next Saturday.
NEXT: Iowa heads up to The Barn to take on #3 Minnesota.