Iowa ventured to Ames Sunday afternoon to take on Iowa State and for the tenth consecutive time, they posted a victory over Iowa State in a dual meet. Tom Brands moved his personal record against Iowa State to 9-0 since becoming Iowa's head coach. The good news was that Iowa did indeed notch a win over Iowa State on Sunday; the bad news was that they certainly didn't look hugely impressive in doing so.
Iowa won seven of the ten matches in the dual, but posted bonus points in just two of those wins. Iowa lost a pair of close matches at 285 and 149 on late scoring moves and had to hold off a late scoring charge at 125 to preserve a win. Iowa had been mowing through their competition so far this year, staging pinfall parties at the Luther Open and Iowa City Duals; that came to a screeching halt yesterday. To be sure, Iowa State was a step up in quality from the wrestlers Iowa saw at those previous events, but if the goal this season is to challenge for Big Ten and NCAA championships this year, then scoring more bonus points is vital.
There were some bright spots among Iowa's performance, though. One of Iowa's bonus point victories was recorded by Mike Evans, who manhandled a top-8 ranked wrestler in Tanner Weatherman. Obviously, pins and tech falls are best when it comes to bonus points, but getting a major decision against a ranked wrestler is nothing to sniff at. Well done, Mike. Iowa also posted a win over one of Iowa State's two other ranked wrestlers, #6 Mike Moreno at 165. Moreno was an All-America last year and had been in fine form this season, so beating him on his home mat is a great way for Nick Moore to get his season kickstarted -- and (hopefully) a great sign that Moore will be on the podium come March.
#4 IOWA 23, #15 IOWA STATE 9
174: #6 Mike Evans MAJ DEC (10-1) #8 Tanner Weatherman (IOWA 4-0)
184: #2 Ethen Lofthouse DEC (4-0) Leland Weatherspoon (IOWA 7-0)
197: #3 Kyven Gadsen DEC (3-2) Sam Brooks (IOWA 7-3)
285: Quean Smith DEC (6-4 SV) Terrance Jean-Jacques (IOWA 7-6)
125: #4 Cory Clark DEC (8-7) Earl Hall (IOWA 10-6)
133: #1 Tony Ramos MAJ DEC (16-5) Dakota Bauer (IOWA 14-6)
141: #14 Josh Dziewa DEC (12-5) Gabe Moreno (IOWA 17-6)
149: Luke Goettl DEC (4-2) Mike Kelly (IOWA 17-9)
157: #1 Derek St. John DEC (5-1) John Nicholson (IOWA 20-9)
165: #8 Nick Moore DEC (3-1) #6 Mike Moreno (IOWA 23-9)
174: Not too much to say here. Evans tore through Weatherman and posted a solid bonus point win to get the meet started off well for Iowa. There's a definite gap between the top guys at 174 and everyone else, although the onus is on Evans to prove that he can beat his fellow top guys on a more consistent basis. He'll get plenty of opportunities to do that later in the season; for now, all he can do is tear through the opponents in front of him.
184: Iowa State wrestled Weatherspoon instead of ranked wrestler Boaz Beard (who's missed several meets already this season), but Lofthouse didn't exactly take advantage of wrestling a back-up. He got an early lead and put it on autopilot. But after three years, we should be fairly accustomed to the pattern with Lofthouse: unimpressive wins early in the season, then a run to All-America honors in March. Still, we do like bonus points, Ethen...
197: With Nathan Burak still out of commission for Iowa, Tom Brands made the somewhat surprising move of having redshirt freshman (and nominal 184er) Sam Brooks bump up to 197 to take on Iowa State's best wrestler. And Brooks certainly held his own, losing a tight 3-2 decision and being the more aggressive wrestler in the third period. Brooks, like 125ers Cory Clark and Thomas Gilman, is one of Iowa's brightest talents for the future and while there's probably not a spot in the lineup for him this year (with Lofthouse ably manning 184 and Burak presumably returning to take charge of 197 before long), he'll be one to watch in the future.
285: Telford also remains out of commission while nursing a minor knee injury (he weighed in for Sunday's dual and was doing some warm-up activities prior to the meet, so it would seem like he'll be able to return to action before long), so Rutgers transfer Terrance Jean-Jacques got another shot to start at 285. Unfortunately, he lost in OT to a guy who came in with a 2-4 record -- that's not great. As a redshirt freshman, there's still plenty of time for TJJ to improve and become a valuable contributor for Iowa, but it doesn't look like he's going to be able to do much this year.
125: This was perhaps the surprise of the day, with #4-ranked Cory Clark eking out an 8-7 decision over unranked Earl Hall. The score was perhaps not entirely reflective of the match itself, since Hall scored an escape and a quick takedown in the final seconds of the match to make the final score so close, but Clark certainly didn't dominate Hall. This was Clark's first big dual meet as a starter, in a mildly hostile environment*, so perhaps there were some early season jitters in this performance. (And Hall might find himself ranked before too long, too, so he's probably not much of a pushover.)
* There were reportedly more Iowa fans in attendance than Iowa State fans, so... yeah.
133: The only surprise here was that Ramos was unable to pin Bauer, although it sounds like it was not for lack of trying. It's not always easy to wrestle guys intent on turtling up, and I'd expect Ramos to get back on the pinning path soon.
141: Dziewa almost posted Iowa's third bonus point victory of the dual, but just missed out with a 12-5 decision win. He missed out on the major in part because he wasn't able to prevent Moreno from getting a few cheap points of his own; if he can clean things up, Dziewa should be able to notch more bonus point wins in the future.
149: Ugh. Kelly lost 4-2 on a takedown from Goettl in the final seconds of the match. The more things change... It appears that Kelly is still having trouble getting to his offense. And so we wait to see if things will ever improve awt 149.
157: A former high school rivalry was renewed at this weight and St. John avenged his Iowa State Tournament semi-finals loss to Nicholson from several years ago with a tidy 5-1 win. Nicholson and St. John have had very divergent careers since that match and DSJ has certainly become the better wrestler and he proved it here.
165: The meet ended on a high note, with Moore posting an upset win over Moreno. Moore and Moreno split their matches a year ago, with Moore winning the match at the Iowa-Iowa State dual and Moreno winning in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. This was another tight match between Moore and Moreno, with Moore grabbing a takedown late in the third period off a scramble. He did an excellent job from there of holding Moreno down and not giving him a chance at an escape and winning takedown of his own. Winning matches like this is the first step for Moore; the next step is extending the margin of victory in those matches.
All told, it wasn't the dominant beatdown that we might have expected in our previews, but Iowa still posted an easy win over Iowa State in Ames. Mission accomplished.
NEXT: Iowa travels to Edinboro, PA to take on #14 Edinboro on Thursday, December 5th.