I expected a blowout when Iowa headed to Evanston to take on Northwestern. However, even I did not expect... that. Iowa steamrolled Northwestern 54-0 to in Sunday's dual meet, setting a new school record for most dominant win in a Big Ten dual meet. Their previous record for biggest margin of victory was a 53-0 win over Illinois in 1992. It is not, however, the most lopsided dual meet victory in the history of the conference -- Wisconsin (no, really) owns that record, thanks to a 55-0 win over Purdue on February 11, 1979. (H/T to the great Britt Malinsky for that factoid.)
Iowa earned their historic win by recording pins in three of their first five matches and picking up wins via forfeit (at 141) and medical forfeit (at 149) to give them a 30-0 lead at the meet's halfway point. Their scoring pace slowed slightly in the final five matches, although they added two more pins, a technical fall, and a major decision to keep the bonus points flowing. In all, Iowa recorded five pins and bonus points in seven of the eight matches that actually finished (they also picked up bonus points in the forfeit and medical forfeit wins, of course).
Seeing Iowa clobber an opponent with a scoreline like 54-0 isn't totally out of the ordinary... but usually when it happens it's at an event like the Iowa City Duals, where Iowa is wrestling teams from junior colleges and Division III schools. It doesn't happen when Iowa is wrestling another Big Ten school. At least, it usually doesn't happen.
|125||#2 Thomas Gilman||FALL (0:54)||UR Garrison White||IOWA 6-0|
|133||#2 Cory Clark||FALL (6:41)||UR Dominick Malone||IOWA 12-0|
|141||UR Topher Carton||WIN VIA FORFEIT||n/a||IOWA 18-0|
|149||#2 Brandon Sorensen||WIN VIA MED FORFEIT||#3 Jason Tsirtsis||IOWA 24-0|
|157||#16 Edwin Cooper, Jr.||FALL (1:22)||UR Anthony Petrone||IOWA 30-0|
|165||UR Patrick Rhoads||DEC (9-3)||UR Luke Norland||IOWA 33-0|
|174||#10 Alex Meyer||TECH FALL (15-0)||UR Mitch Sliga||IOWA 38-0|
|184||#8 Sammy Brooks||FALL (4:10)||UR Regis Durbin||IOWA 44-0|
|197||#3 Nathan Burak||MAJ DEC (13-3)||UR Jacob Berkowitz||IOWA 48-0|
|285||#8 Sam Stoll||FALL (3:46)||UR Conan Jennings||IOWA 54-0|
Thomas Gilman got the ball rolling with a pin less than a minute into his match at 125 -- he continues to absolutely maul lesser opponents this year -- and Cory Clark bounced back from his disappointing overtime loss on Friday night with a pin of his own, although his took nearly the full seven minutes, unlike Gilman's fall. Clark actually gave up an early takedown in his match and fell behind, but he roared back with plenty of offense -- he led 16-4 before finishing off Dom Malone with a pin. I expected Northwestern to forfeit a weight yesterday, but based on the information they had released beforehand, I thought they would forfeit 157; instead they sent out no one at 141, giving Topher Carton his easiest win of the season. They did send out an opponent at 157, although they might not have bothered -- Edwin Cooper rebounded from getting ragdolled by unstoppable juggernaut Isaiah Martinez on Friday night to get a pin in less than 90 seconds here.
In-between we were supposed to be treated to the match of the night -- the lone match worth a damn, frankly -- but it ended in disappointing fashion when Jason Tsirtsis injured his elbow during the second period. The loss gave Brandon Sorensen a 3-2 edge in his personal series with T-shirt, though it would have been far more satisfying to see how the rest of the match would have played out if T-shirt hadn't gotten injured. This was the second straight match where Sorensen was able to get a takedown on Tsirtsis (I don't believe he recorded a single takedown on T-shirt in last year's three matches) and he was able to get it in regulation, rather than in sudden victory (as he did at Midlands). He seems to getting more comfortable against Tsirtsis and is having more success with his offense. It would be premature to say that the tables have decisively turned in their rivalry, but Sorensen does seem to have a slight edge at the moment.
As noted, the second half of the dual wasn't quite as dominant as the first half -- Patrick Rhoads picked up Iowa's only decision win of the night at 165 and Nathan Burak had to settle for "just" a major decision at 197, but it was still pretty much one-way traffic. Alex Meyer didn't let Mitch Sliga do anything and showed more of the same attacking mindset that he displayed in Friday's match, which was encouraging -- now we just need to see more of that approach when the competition gets a bit tougher. After a sluggish-looking win on Friday night, Brooks looked more like the dynamic force we know he can be in this match, putting his mat skills to good work in earning another pin. And Sam Stoll finished off the night with a one more pin; this Conan was certainly no destroyer.
In all, it was a truly dominant performance for Iowa, but it comes with a twinge of disappointment -- as enjoyable as it is to run roughshod over an opponent and to dominate them so thoroughly, Big Ten dual meets aren't supposed to be this easy. It's no good for the league -- or for Iowa -- if teams like Northwestern go from being credible opponents to complete laughingstocks.
The highlights of Iowa's pin parade can be found below:
No. 2 Iowa makes history in Evanston with 54-0 win. Highlights: https://t.co/mnCQj3l7gf— Hawkeye Wrestling (@Hawks_Wrestling) January 10, 2016
NEXT: Iowa returns to action on Friday night with yet another road dual meet -- this time in Madison against Wisconsin (1-3, 0-2 B1G). The Badgers aren't as hapless as Northwestern (at least, they shouldn't be), but they also aren't good enough to prevent what should be another lopsided Iowa win. The Iowa Beatdown Tour continues on Friday night at 8 PM Central, with TV coverage from BTN.