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IOWA 34, MINNESOTA 6: WELCOME TO BEATDOWN CITY

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The last time Iowa beat Minnesota this bad, Tom Brands was involved -- as a wrestler.

We expected a one-sided thumping when Minnesota ventured to Carver-Hawkeye Arena last night... but I'm not sure anyone expected quite such a thorough domination by Iowa over the Gophers.  Iowa took 8 of 10 matches, posted bonus points in five of the eight wins, and coasted to a 34-6 win.  The margin of victory was their biggest over the Gophers since a 44-2 (!) pasting in 1992.  This is a badly diminished Gopher team, but this was still a better performance overall than what Iowa gave against Nebraska -- there was a better attacking mindset on display from Iowa wrestlers throughout the lineup and several guys pushed the pace throughout the match and picked up bonus points, even some unlikely sources like Patrick Rhoads and Alex Meyer.

If there was a downside, it was that Minnesota won two of the three high profile matches in the dual (141 and 197; 285 was the other).  197 and 285 were the only matches to both feature ranked wrestlers and Iowa and Minnesota split those matches; #4 Brett Pfarr used a late takedown to defeat #3 Nathan Burak at 197, although not without some controversy -- Burak got a late escape and dove in for a takedown.  He seemed to have the takedown as time expired, but a video review was inconclusive -- it looked like Burak had the takedown, but it was unclear if he managed to get it before time expired. (It didn't help that apparently neither the video review booth nor BTN had a clock synced up to the review.)  #7 Sam Stoll won a top ten showdown at heavyweight, using his strong upper body skills and deceptive quickness to finish not one, not two, but three takedowns against #9 Michael Kroells (though the last takedown came off a desperation shot attempt from Kroells). Stoll continues to impress during his redshirt freshman season.

Still, it's always enjoyable to beat MInnesota -- and it's extra-fun to lay the biggest beatdown in almost 25 years on those filthy rodents.  Iowa dominated the match-ups they were expected to dominate, won a few close matches, and recorded a high-profile win at 285. It's a shame Burak and Grothus weren't able to get wins in their matches, but they seemed evenly matched with their opponents; perhaps they can win rematches at the Big Ten Tournament in a month -- those wins would carry far more weight than they would have tonight.

125 #2 Thomas Gilman FALL (1:18) UR Skyler Petry IOWA 6-0
133 #3 Cory Clark FALL (4:59) UR Sam Brancale IOWA 12-0
141 #7 Tommy Thorn DEC (6-4) UR Brody Grothus IOWA 12-3
149 #2 Brandon Sorensen DEC (6-2) #13 Jake Short IOWA 15-3
157 #18 Edwin Cooper, Jr. DEC (4-2 SV) UR Brandon Kingsley IOWA 18-3
165 UR Patrick Rhoads MAJ DEC (21-7) UR Dylan Urbach IOWA 22-3
174 #12 Alex Meyer MAJ DEC (10-1) UR Nick Wanzek IOWA 26-3
184 #11 Sammy Brooks TECH FALL (18-2) UR Chris Pfarr IOWA 31-3
197 #4 Brett Pfarr DEC (6-5) #3 Nathan Burak IOWA 31-6
285 #7 Sam Stoll DEC (6-2) #9 Michael Kroells IOWA 34-6


125: I called a Thomas Gilman pin in my preview yesterday -- and he delivered exactly that.  Thanks for making me look good, Gilman!  Gilman controlled the match from the opening whistle and pounced on one small mistake Petry made to put together a slick move to put Petry on his back and end the match. This was more of the domination we've come to expect from Gilman this year.

133: Gilman's fellow lightweight sparkplug, Cory Clark, hasn't always looked dominant this year, partly due to a lingering knee injury.  He looked plenty explosive and active last night, though, bursting out of the gate and scoring three takedowns in the first period to open up a 6-2 lead. The action slowed down in the second period for a bit, until Clark was able to get another takedown; shortly thereafter he was able to horse Brancale and make it two pins in two matches for Iowa against the Gophers.  The rout was on.

141: Brody Grothus got the nod over Topher Carton at this weight against All America contender Tommy Thorn (the latest in a long line of Thorns to wrestle for Minnesota).  Grothus nearly scored the opening takedown, but ended up giving up a takedown to Thorn (and narrowly avoided giving up near fall points too).  He nearly got reversed in the second and gave up another takedown, ultimately going down 5-1 at the end of the second.  Grothus was able to get an escape and a takedown in the third period, but he couldn't get a second takedown to tie things up.  Overall, Grothus let Thorn in on his legs far too often (and far too easily) throughout the match, which forced him to spend a lot of time defending.  He needs to do a better job of keeping guys away from his legs -- hopefully that will give him more chances to use his own offense to score points.  He remains a work in progress at 141 lbs.

149: Another Brandon Sorensen-Jake Short match, another low-scoring affair.  Neither of their matches last year featured much in the way of points and this year's first match-up didn't flip that script.  Sorensen used a takedown in the first period to open a 2-1 lead, but it was 2-2 after the second period.  Sorensen used an escape, a takedown, and a riding time point to ultimately win 6-2. Part of the problem was Short -- he's a stingy defender who doesn't take many shots or open himself up much.  But Sorensen still needs to initiate a bit more action.  His offense is excellent when he commits to it.

157: Cooper earned Iowa's fourth win of the night (and his fifth straight overall), but it continued a worrying trend for him of scoring early and then just trying to hold on.  He scored a takedown in the first by countering Kingsley's shot, but scored no more points in regulation.  Kingsley tied the match in the third when Cooper was penalized for stalling -- a wholly justified call.  Cooper hadn't done much of anything in the match.  In overtime, Cooper finally committed to a shot and -- whattayaknow -- he scored points with it.  He needs to do more of that and less just hanging on in matches.

165: Speaking of a guy who was not content to just hang on... holy crap, Patrick Rhoads!  Rhoads turned on the attacks, especially in the third period.  He led 8-3 after two periods... and ended up winning 21-7.  He had nine takedowns in the match -- nine!  He also added a few near fall points for good measure.  Urbach wasn't offering much resistance in the third period, but to Rhoads' credit he kept pushing for more scores and wasn't content to just get a win. It's too bad he wasn't able to get a tech fall, but this was still a very fine showing by Rhoads.

174: You know things are going well for Iowa when Alex Meyer gets in on the bonus point train, too.  Meyer used takedowns in the first and second period (plus an escape) to open up a 5-0 lead (plus almost two minutes of riding time) through two periods.  At that point anything less than a major decision would have been a disappointment. And, to Meyer's credit, he was able to get that major with another pair of takedowns in the third period.  Wanzek isn't very good, but Meyer's struggled to get bonus points on other weak opponents, too.  Hopefully this gives him a little bit more confidence in his offense for upcoming matches.

184: You figured Sammy Brooks would come out angry and looking to score after his stunning pinfall loss last weekend.  Did he ever -- Brooks put on an absolute clinic on offense in the first period, racking up takedowns and near fall points with ease.  He did whatever he wanted against Chris Pfarr.  The only thing he wasn't able to do was get a pin; he had to settle for an 18-2 technical fall... in the first period.  That'll do, Sammy.  That'll do.

197: We already covered this match earlier, so I'm not going to belabor things again -- Burak and Pfarr looked very evenly matched, but Pfarr came out on top here.  Pfarr held the advantage throughout the match -- he got the first takedown and also the winning takedown with just 20 seconds to go.  Burak needed to commit to his own offense a bit more than he did here; he looked good when he did. But this was a fun match -- tight, exciting, and with quite a bit of action from beginning to end.  Give me a rematch at the Big Ten Tournament, please.

285: Stoll closed things out with a solid decision win, picking up three (!) takedowns to earn a 6-2 decision win.  He wasn't able to control Kroells from the top position very well, but he looked good on his feet, moving Kroells around the mat and capitalizing on scoring opportunities when they presented themselves.  Stoll seems to be growing in confidence with each match and it's fun to see.

NEXT: Iowa closes out the Big Ten season next Friday (7 PM CT, BTN Plus) with a home dual meet against Indiana (6-3, 3-3 B1G). The beatdowns will commence until the schedule improves.