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No. 1 Iowa Wrestling Obliterates Indiana 41-0

Abe Assad makes his varsity debut. Redshirt Burned.


“I’m saying: shake, rattle, and roll”

-Tom Brands

All things considered, it was a solid performance for Iowa as we marched into Wilkinson Hall to take on the Hoosiers, upending and destroying their weekend... and their team in the process, 41-0.

Any time you can pitch a shut out at the D1 level, especially against a Big Ten opponent, is noteworthy. Unfortunately, there were a few close calls or at least a few matches with too close of outcomes, far too close for comfort from guys that should and usually do, destroy lesser competition.


149 -- #1 Pat Lugo dec. over Graham Rooks, 10-6. Iowa 3-0

157 -- #4 Kaleb Young dec. over Fernando Silva, 11-4. Iowa 6-0

165 -- #2 Alex Marinelli pinned David Tunon, 5:34. Iowa 12-0

174 -- #3 Michael Kemerer dec. over Jacob Covaciu, 9-6. Iowa 15-0

184 -- Abe Assad dec. over Jake Hinz, 6-2. Iowa 18-0

197 -- #4 Jacob Warner dec. over Nick Willham, 8-3. Iowa 21-0

285 -- #4 Tony Cassioppi pinned Rudy Streck, 0:20. Iowa 27-0

125 -- #1 Spencer Lee tech. fall Liam Cronin, 15-0. Iowa 32-0

133 -- #2 Austin DeSanto pinned Jonathan Moran, 2:42. Iowa 38-0

141 -- #7 Max Murin dec. over Eddie Bolivar, 6-0. Iowa 41-0

The biggest takeaway from this dual is right smack in the middle of that box score at 184lbs. True freshman Abe Assad shred his redshirt and took to the mat for a win over Jake Hinz, 6-2. Assad marks just the second time head coach Tom Brands has pulled a redshirt and thrown a true freshman into the fray. The other is that of our reigning 2x NCAA champ, Spencer Lee.

Though it should be noted that Justin Stickley and former 3x AA, Nathan Burak, also wrestled as true freshman, but neither of them were fresh out of high school. Burak spent one year at the Olympic Training Center before joining Iowa, while Stickley did the same, but spent his time with the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.

I’m going to glean over the significance of this and what it potentially means, but I’m going to do a much more in-depth breakdown after the Purdue dual on Sunday, Jan 12.

Previously, Iowa seemed to have two options for 184: Nelson Brands and 3x starter, Cash Wilcke. I’ve been skeptical from the get-go and thought the undersized Brands was going to eventually struggle against true 184 pounders. IMO, he’s just too small to sustain a deep run come March. Now with Wilcke rumbling off a great consolation round at Midlands and battling back for 3rd, he appeared to reclaim the starting spot, until the tables turned once again last night.

Assad got the nod, wrestled smart, and came out victorious.

Once more, I’ll cover this more after Purdue, but Tom Brands obviously sees something in the young gun that he doesn’t in Brands or Wilcke. There’s something there that’s telling him that Assad is the clear-cut better option. That Assad is going to push through and give them the most points in March. That Assad is going to give them the best chance to have an All-American at this weight for the first time since Sammy Brooks.

“I’m saying: shake, rattle, and roll. Assad, very fundamental, but very explosive, very aware of his positions.”

-Tom Brands

“Three falls, technical fall, we missed some bonus points too. We had good rides on guys and let them eek out a point at the end, maybe a little bit sloppy, over anxious, but there were a lot of points there. We have to get ready for the next one now. Moving on.”

-Tom Brands


149: This wasn’t the dominating performance we were hoping to see from Lugo since his first time on the mat since his upset former #1 Austin O’Connor (UNC) in the midlands finals. He started off strong in the first building a lead that could have and should have pushed this into major, if not tech fall territory, but he faded hard in the 2nd and 3rd periods.

Lugo has #14 Griffin Parriott on Sunday, if he repeats what he showed on the mat he could be in for another rough stretch.

157: Like Lugo, KY was looking sharp and methodically gnawing his way to a major decision when he gave up a late TD to drop it below the desired threshold. A win is a win, but it was a maddening finish to what should’ve been an otherwise good night for him.

165: The Bull, bulled. He’s looking damn good so far and appears to be adjusting too. He’s being more patient when it comes to his pinning combos and that will play a big role down the stretch.

“When it’s there it’s there. The coaches are telling me bases first, get the guy tired and the turns will come. Sometimes I try them a little too early and the guy will feel it, know it’s there, and then react to it later in the period. I think it’s good I got to my attacks, got him on his stomach, and arm-barred, stepped over the head, pin.”

-Alex Marinelli

174: Kemerer just looked off. It was an unwanted habit for the first couple of guys, but like Lugo and KY, he started off strong and fell apart down the stretch, damn near giving Hawk fans a heart attack in the process. Very rarely have I ever seen Kemerer sucking wind like he was in the 3rd period against Covaciu. There’s been some grumblings that Kemdog may have been ill and that’s why he missed the Midlands, regardless of what the circumstances are, if he doesn’t get on track by Sunday, he’ll have a rude awakening against #4 Dylan Lydy.

184: This was the surprise that took Iowa by storm. It wasn’t a blow out tech fall or pin that I’m sure Assad wanted to make, but it was a disciplined and efficient debut that got the job done. The kid has got talent and is obviously improving by leaps and bounds in the training room. If he goes tomorrow against Purdue, I look for an even looser wrestling style that could open up his margin of victory even more.

“If I told you I didn’t have nerves I’d be lying to you. Everyone has nerves, even matches when I’m at open tournaments I still get a little nervous before every match. Obviously, here the nerves are heightened more, but I knew that if I went out there and wrestled loose and tried to score points, good things are going to happen.”

-Abe Assad

197: It was a solid match by Jacob. He didn’t do anything spectacular and didn’t open up offensively, but coming off the massive let down at Midlands, it was a good outcome. Warner is good in all three phases, but at this point I don’t know if he’ll ever knock anyone’s socks off on a consistent basis.

285: Big Cass is still kicking ass. I looked away for only a few seconds and missed the entire match. I guess that’s the risk when we have an explosive heavyweight that wants to set the pin record. Look away and we’ll miss it... so don’t look away!

125: Lee is Lee, what more is there to say? He teched Cronin early in the 2nd period to give himself more time to do whatever a national champ does in their free time. Bottom line, Lee is scary good right now and we know he’s only getting better, which could be scarier.

133: DeSanto rebounded from his disappointing loss to #1 Seth Gross (Wis) at the Midlands finals two weeks ago. He came out, wrestled angry and mad, but controlled and thoroughly took it to Jonathan Moran, stuffing him in 2:42. There not much else to add, he did what he wanted, how he wanted and when he wanted. Good match.

141: Max pushed this match into major decision territory, but wasn’t able to cap it off. Regardless, Max did what he needed to do. He wrestled calm and smart and put on a couple amazing rides to finish off the dual. Though, I would be remiss to say that it seems like every time he steps onto the mat it looks like he has a new brace. Either way, the kid is tough as nails and is wrestling like it.

Next up we face off with #6 Purdue in West Lafayette on Sunday, Jan. 12 at 3PM Central.