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Iowa Wrestling Takes on Purdue

The Hawkeyes look to derail the Boilermakers for the 57th year in a row and mega recruit #3 Robert Howard comes for a visit

Joseph Cress/ Iowa City Press-Citizen

History is on our side. As it should be:

FIFTY-SEVEN YEARS. You read that right, folks. The Purdue Choo-Choos haven’t beaten us since 1961, which coincidentally was the last time they won in Iowa City. Most of you probably weren’t born yet. Some of you are young enough that your parents may have not been around either. That’s two generations of Hawkeye dominance and I absolute cherish this feeling.

A lot has happened since they last tasted victory against The Hawkeyes. JFK was around and hadn’t even given his moon speech yet. The Beatles were still in Europe and Roger Maris had just become the new home run king at 61 in 1961. Most importantly though, this includes 29 straight Boilermaker defeats that brings us up to present time.

But on Saturday, Nov. 24 at 12PM CT Iowa will hand them their 30th consecutive loss and stretch this amazing streak to 58 years.

Iowa leads the all-time series 41-4-3. This includes a 14-14 tie in 1966, which is the last time Purdue didn’t lose. Tying ain’t losing, but it definitely ain’t winnin’ either! So the streak remains.

Purdue (2-0):

They are coached by former Hawkeye, Tony Ersland, who wrestled alongside the Brands Bro’s back in the mid 90’s under Dan Gable and was part of three straight NCAA championship winning teams. He’s also an Iowa native from Humboldt. This is his 5th season at Purdue and he has his program trending in the right direction. They have finished ranked 3 out of the 4 pervious years including a respectable #21 ranking to end last season.

This year they come into Carver-Hawkeye 2-0 with solid wins over Bloomsburg and Drexel. They have five ranked wrestlers spackled throughout the lineup led by #13 Devin Schroder (125lbs) and #10 Christian Brunner (197lbs), though Brunner hasn’t been on the mat since The Princeton Open back on Nov. 4 because he’s been competing in the U23 World Championships in Romania. Jared Florell, their backup 184 pounder, has bumped up to cover the spot along with David Eli. I assume due to the sheer amount of wrestling these guys have already done and a few guys dinged up, they’ve taken the platoon approach to a couple of weights.

Iowa (3-0):

We recently educated the Ivy Leaguers, Princeton 31-10, and aim to carry that momentum into B1G play. We’ve won 12 straight conference openers in a row under Coach Brands and 20 dating back to the Gable era. Purdue looks to become another notch in the Brands Ass Kicking Paddle.

So far we’ve stayed undefeated despite being shorthanded two All-Americans and three starters. #6 Michael Kemerer (174lbs), #1 Sam Stoll (285lbs) and Jacob Warner (197lbs) have sat out due to nagging injuries and in Warner’s case, needing some downtime after his intense summer throwing bodies around in freestyle.

In a recent interview with super fan Todd Conner, Coach Brands stated that these guys are day-to-day and getting close to returning. It’s now being speculated that Warner is rested, rearing to go, and is going to make his Iowa debut in this dual. I cannot wait to see what this kid can do!!! Also, Brands went on to say that Keremer has joked about weighing in and rushing the mat when 174 rolls around. It appears he’s itching to go, which is great news. We won’t see him against Purdue, but maybe, just maybe he gets the greenlight against Iowa State on Dec. 4.

Currently there is no timetable for Stoll’s return. My guess is he wasn’t able to get into adequate shape this summer thanks to a bullet, but he’s getting close. Brands refuses to put a guy on the mat unless he’s damn near 100% and March is the most important thing in their eyes. As much as this sucks, it’s the prudent move and it’ll pay dividends later on.

With three starters out, it means we’ve had three backups in each dual. And they’ve done great. Collectively they have gone 7-2 with three of those wins coming from Aaron Costello. There isn’t enough that can be said about the depth of this team up and down the roster. Once we get back to full strength Costello, Wilson, Corbin, and Bowman are going to continue to push the starters in the room.

Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

Key Matchups:

125: Here we have two top 15 guys going at it in #1 Lee vs. #13 Schroder. Schroder is a solid underclassman that’s looking for an upset, but he won’t get it. He started off his season getting majored by #12 Pat Glory and we all know what Lee did to Glory last weekend- a tech fall- this one will have the same exact ending.

133: #9 DeSanto vs. Ben Thornton. Thornton is a savvy senior, a fringe top 20 guy and a 2018 NCAA qualifier who rarely gets blown out of the water. I expect a close match, but one DeSanto should win. If ADS does turn this into a bonus point route, then it’s just another reason to start piling on the expectations. I think we’re going to start piling it on.

141: This is a #17 vs #18 matchup right here, baby! #17 Murin vs. #18 Limmex. Except I have the firm belief Murin is ranked low due to having no prior experience at the collegiate level. Either way, this is going to be a tough test and it will immediately let us know where Murin stands at this early stage in his career. Limmex beat our own Carter Happel 8-7 at the 2018 Midlands but was knocked out of the NCAA Championships by none other than our 141lbs backup, Vince Turk.

157: #15 Kaleb Young really needs to show up against #18 Griffin Parriott. He can’t coast through the first two periods like he did last week against Princeton’s Quincy Monday. He needs to stay aggressive and take the fight to Parriott instead of being reactionary. This is a prime opprotunity for him to raise his stock and gain some confidence.

174: Myles Wilson got himself into an early 6-0 sinkhole last weekend against Princeton’s Travis Stefanik. Wilson’s CHA debut ended in tears and a 15-2 major defeat. He needs to come out strong and smart this time against #15 Dylan Lydy. If he finds himself down early again, please don’t spend the next six minutes looking for the throw, instead chip away at the lead and do the small things right. Lydy is a tough costumer and a 2018 NCAA qualifier. He wasn’t a world beater last year, but he had a few tight matches with Bo Jordan (OSU grad) and #3 Myles Amine (Mich). Including, one win against Amine (ranked 5th at the time) at the Purdue/ Michigan dual. He was also one win shy of AA status. Above all, Wilson needs to keep this thing tight and close going into the 3rd. If he can keep himself within striking distance anything is possible at home, but if he goes down he needs to keep this to a decision.

184: #12 Cash Wilcke takes on a fringe top 20 guy, Max Lyon. This will be another good test for Wilcke, but this is by no means a hand-me-win. Wilcke was bummed last weekend that he didn’t bonus Princeton’s Kevin Parker. Why? Because he didn’t keep the pedal down. Wilcke tends to coast at times and this is a match where he can break that bad habit. I look for him to come out fast and furious and deploy his slick slide by/ ankle picks and grab a few TD’s in the first. It’ll be a lot of work but if he can stick to his guns, not coast, and snag a 6-2 lead early on he’s going to put himself in prime contention to come out with a bonus win. Not only does the team need this, but so does Wilcke. He’s a guy that is fueled by his own confidence and it starts right here, right now.

197: This weight is a definite question mark. I desperately want to see #11 Warner kick off his Hawkeye career against #10 Christian Brunner, but as stated earlier Brunner hasn’t gone since Nov. 4 and Warner hasn’t wrestled yet this season either, though he is listed as probable. IF this is to go down it’ll be an instant barometer on Warner’s potential for this year. Brunner is a 2x NCAA qualifier and owns a career record of 50-29. They previously met at the 2018 Midlands when Warner wrestled unattached as a true freshman, Brunner was victorious 10-6. He’s also 3-1 lifetime against Wilcke. Brunner is a U23 World Team Member, so Purdue may ease him back into the lineup over the next couple of weeks. Similar to what Iowa is doing with Warner. This could be a BIG opportunity for Warner to upset the apple cart and launch himself up the rankings. Warner has the pedigree and skill set to come out and absolutely throttle Brunner, but whether or not he can put it all together as a redshirt freshman is the question. Saturday will let us know what to do with our expectations. I know where I want to put them, but it’s up to Warner as to where and how.

Projected Lineups:

Flowrestling Rankings

125: #1 Spencer Lee (3-0) vs. #13 Devin Schroder (7-1)

133: #9 Austin DeSanto (3-0) vs. Ben Thornton (10-0)

141: #18 Max Murin (3-0) vs. #17 Nate Limmex (8-2)

149: #7 Pat Lugo (1-2) vs. Parker Filius (7-2)

157: #15 Kaleb Young (3-0) vs. #18 Griffin Parriott (0-0)/ Austin Nash (1-6)

165: #4 Alex Marinelli (3-0) vs. Cole Wysocki (6-4)

174: Myles Wilson (2-1) vs. #15 Dylan Lydy (7-2)

184: #12 Cash Wilcke (3-0) vs. Max Lyon

197: #11 Jacob Warner (0-0)/. Mitch Bowman (1-0) vs. #10 Christian Brunner (4-1)/ Jared Florell (5-3)/ David Eli (4-7)

285: Aaron Costello (3-0) vs. Jacob Aven (4-6)

Monster, Mega, Supernatural recruit, Robert Howard is taking an official visit to Iowa City this weekend. He’s coming in Friday, Nov. 23 to watch the Iowa/ Nebraska football game followed by the Iowa/ Purdue dual meet the following day on Saturday Nov. 24.

Assistant Coach and Recruiting Jedi Master, Ryan Morningstar visited Howard back in September. The foundation has been set, now it’s partially up to us fans to seal the deal. We need to help him realize there is no better place to wrestle than Iowa.

Howard is #3 overall on Flowrestling’s 2020 Big Board and is the #1 recruit at his respective weight. He’s entering into his junior year wrestling for Bergen Catholic in New Jersey and is a 2x state finalist, taking 2nd his freshman year and winning the whole damn thing as a sophomore.

He’s also a 2x USA Team member and competed in the Cadet World Freestyle Championships. He finished 9th this year, which isn’t indicative to his potential because...

Mr. Howard won gold at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires! He dominated the competition including two beat downs over two previous Cadet World Medalists including a European champ. He went on to win by tech fall in the finals to secure the gold.

He may very well be the biggest overall lightweight recruit since Spencer Lee and is without a doubt the biggest recruit we’ve gone after since Lee. Should Howard choose to come to Iowa he’ll more than likely redshirt, which will give him one year of amazing tutelage under Spencer before dawning the Black & Gold himself. If everything comes up Milhouse he could slot in at 133lbs after DeSanto and co. continue to grow, blossom, and move up. Things will have to be perfect, but never fear to dream big, darling.

The 2020 class is already a great one as we’ve locked down #9 Patrick Kennedy, #13 Jesse Ybarra and #33 Cullan Schriever. The addition of Howard could set the table for a very , bright, beautiful, and special future.

Howard has narrowed down his school choices and previously visited Penn State and Michigan. So this is it, let’s make it count.