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Iowa Wrestling: No. 1 Iowa breaks Illinois, 36-6: Full Recap

Who’s cryin’ now?

Austin DeSanto breaks Illinois’ Lucas Byrd.

The upstart Fighting Illini of Illinois tried to do what no one else could. They strutted into Carver-Hawkeye Arena with their 4-0 record, looking for their first win against Iowa since Steve Martin’s classic “The Pink Panther” reigned king supreme at the box office in 2006. Alas, they left just like everyone else, kicking snow with their tail’s tucked firmly between their legs. Perhaps they’ll brave the elements better than they did inside, on the mat.


125: #1 Spencer Lee pins Justin Cardani, 2:30. Iowa 6-0

133: #2 Austin DeSanto major dec. over #23 Lucas Byrd, 18-6. Iowa 10-0

141: #3 Jaydin Eierman pins #15 Dylan Duncan, 6:05. Iowa 16-0

149: #5 Max Murin dec. over #15 Mike Carr. 3-1. Iowa 19-0

157: #8 Kaleb Young major dec. over Johnny Mologousis, 13-4. Iowa 23-0

165: Luke Odom dec. over Joe Kelly, 10-6. Iowa 23-3

174: #1 Michael Kemerer major dec. over DJ Shannon, 10-2. Iowa 27-3

184: #19 Zach Braunagel dec. over #8 Nelson Brands, 3-1 SV1. Iowa 27-6

197: #7 Jacob Warner dec. over Matt Wroblewski, 4-0. Iowa 30-6

285: #4 Tony Cassioppi pins #12 Luke Luffman, 3:25. Iowa 36-6


125: Cullan Schriever major dec. over We Rachal, 22-9.

133: Christian Kanzler dec. over Cobe Siebrecht, 5-4.

174: Patrick Kennedy dec. over Trey Sizemore, 8-3.

197: Isaiah Pettigrew dec. over Connor Corbin, 3-2

We picked up where we left off last week against, winning 8 of the 10 matches, including six by bonus point: 3 pins and 3 majors. The win pushes us 3-0 on the season and drops Illinois to 4-1.

We out-scored the Fighting Oompa Loompas 73-29 and won the takedown battle, 21-5. Austin DeSanto was joined by Kaleb Young to lead the team with 5 TD’s a piece, while DeSanto scored a team high 18 points in his major decision.

Spence Lee, Jaydin Eierman, and Tony Cassioppi each collected a win via pin fall. In fact, this is the most pins we’ve had since we blanked Indiana, 41-0, on Jan. 10 of last season and it also ties for the most bonus point wins (6) since we drubbed Indiana 37-9 two seasons ago.

Furthermore, we did all of this without our top ranked 165lber, Alex Marinelli, who missed the party due to covid-19 protocols. It goes without saying, but had he been in the lineup, Illinois would’ve been staring down the barrel at another pin.

As of this writing, I do not know where things stand with The Bull. Was he withheld because of a positive covid test? I don’t know. Was it from contact tracing? Again, I do not know. Unfortunately, what I do know is that he’ll potentially be quarantined for up to 17 days, which will force him to sit out three more duals: Purdue, #10 Ohio State, and #5 Penn State.

“He’s with us in spirit. We had Joe Kelly fill in and that’s what we do, next guy in. You look at the 17 day protocol and all that, all of you people at home can look at a calendar and I don’t need to tell you when he’s going to be back. We’re looking forward to having him back, for sure.”

-Tom Brands

This is a rough turn of events, but there may be a glimmer of hope depending on when he tested positive and/ or went into quarantine. It’s been tricky following the Big Ten’s protocol, which we learned during football, but I believe following a positive point of contact (POC) daily test there is a follow up polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm the results. Again, I don’t know the details so I’m purely speculating at this point —why not— but I’d think these guys were tested prior to the two-hour weigh-ins.

Assuming that was the case, there wasn’t time to generate a result for the PCR test.

Another possibility is that that he was exposed and then went into quarantine, which can range from 10-14 days. I found this Executive Summary on Nebraska’s site dated from August 5, 2020… so take it with a grain of salt, but if those rule still stand he could be back by PSU, but again, it depends on when this quarantine went into effect. Friday, Saturday, Sunday?

If Marinelli is truly out then we’ll be looking at Joe Kelly and hopefully Patrick Kennedy to step in and stop the bleeding at 165lbs. Kelly looked out-manned and out-classed, so ideally Kennedy would drop down from 174lbs. Regrettably, I don’t know what weight Kennedy certified at to start the season, nor do I know what he weighed in at before his match on Sunday. Wrestlers must follow to a strict descent plan and without knowing the finer details, well, we just don’t know what he can manage by next weekend.

Either way, it was a dominating win over a solid Illinois squad. Onward and upward we go.


125lbs: Spencer Lee has three pins in three matches this year. Cardani had been wrestling well this season, keeping things close with the other All-American candidates, on the other hand, competing with them is vastly differently than competing with the top P4P guy in college wrestling.

I enter the following video as evidence.

133lbs: Lucas Byrd gave a spirited fight, but Austin did what Austin do; fireman’s carry, back points, release, repeat.

Byrd held position well over the first 90 or so seconds before Austin hit his first dump and collected 4NF to immediately push it into major territory. He kept the throttle down, but hats off to Byrd for continuing to wrestle and refusing to turn over and give in. I also want to note that ADS had Byrd flat during the near fall swipe and the zebra straight missed it. Had this been a high profile match we would probably see the challenge brick flying.

Austin took an inadvertent pop to the chin late in the 3rd that rattled him for a moment. This is a instance where he needs to force through the initial shock and find a better opening to call for an injury stoppage (if needed). A different ref may not be so quick to stop the action.

Byrd also threw a heavy club at 1:38 in the 3rd and DeSanto did a good job at staying cool and not biting on that bait. His maturity has progressed nicely since coming here.

Regardless, it was a good solid win for Austin and keeps his bonus point streak alive through three matches.

141lbs: Jaydin Eierman is so damn dangerous in every position. It still takes me by surprise seeing this style in an Iowa singlet, but it’s a welcome sight.

This was a 5-3 match in the 3rd, but Eierman was in complete control and you could sense he was playing with his food and looking for the pin. He baits Duncan into a solid shot, throws in the heavy hips, and the moment Duncan goes to his knees to try and collect Eierman’s leg, he’s waiting for it and cinches up the cradle.

Jaydin had Duncan’s shoulder blocked on the initial turn, but he was patient enough to back off, reload, and re-dump. This is how you secure the fall. Textbook.

It was also the 39th pin of his career.

149lbs: There’s bad history between these two and this was one of the biggest tests Max will face in the regular season and he passed with flying colors. After losing a heartbreaker in 2019 and coincidentally being mocked by Carr for shedding years after the loss, Max has now won three straight over his border rival and looked great doing it.

I doubt Max will ever wow us with his offensive prowess, but he certainly could with his heart, because he has tons of it. Carr is a legit podium contender and these are the types of grind-it-out matches Max is going to see in March. In addition to finishing the shots he does take, he has increased the pace and attempts to dictate the flow of the match.

Carr is explosive, but rarely threatened him as he was able to keep Carr in check with hard clubs, snaps, and ties. But my biggest take away of this match is not that Max got the only TD to win, but WHEN he got it. Instead of firing off in the final seconds he hit the snap with 1:05 to go that got Carr off balance. It opened Murin up for a snatch single and from there it gave him plenty of time to secure the TD.

So often, we see guys wait until that 20-30 second mark and they run out of time. Also, read Murin's lips prior to the restart with :01 left. Who’s crying now? You are, Mike Carr.

157lbs: Last year, KY would struggle with the Johnny Mologousises of the world. Not the case this year, at least not yet. This the All-American version of Kaleb Young and we need him to stay. This is the type of result he gets when he trusts in his offense and lets it fly.

Notice how KY gets that deep underhook and immediately fires off a single. He looks for the trip, but wisely realizes he doesn’t have ideal positioning, so he readjusts the leg to the inside, allowing that trip to be more accessible. Trip, drive, collect the two.

He’s scored 13+ points in 2 of his 3 matches. He only did it twice in 20 matches last year. Good stuff.

165lbs: Neither starter, #1 Alex Marinelli nor #15 Danny Braunagel, went on Friday. Instead redshirt sophomore Joe Kelly got the nod against Illinois’ true freshman Luke Odom and it was a rough seven minutes for our Hawkeye.

Kelly was caught flat-footed for the entire match, which resulted in four TD’s for Odom. This was Kelly’s first career start and first match since 2019, so perhaps nerves played a part. Either way, he could receive three more starts before Marinelli is back and the competition is going to ramp up immediately. He needs to dig deep and find the fire, otherwise four TD’s is going to be the lowest he sees.

174lbs: This was a workmanlike win for Michael Kemerer. While DJ Shannon is certainly no world-beater, he is an athletic guy that wrestles close matches.

Kemerer probably could have pushed this into tech territory, but he took what Shannon gave him. On his 2nd TD, Shannon attempts a head snap and Kem uses that to drop in on a leg. From there he sucks it in, builds up to his base, and drives through for two.

Shannon would fire off a few attempts of his own, but Kem would throw in those heavy hips and scoot around. He isn’t quite firing on all cylinders after missing that first week, but he’s revving it up, and soon will be.

184lbs: This was the revenge match that Nelson Brands had been waiting 13 months for and it was the exact result he didn’t want. I haven’t counted the shot attempts, but it certinaly swings towards Braunagel, which is uncharacteristic for Brands. This was about as un-Brands as Nelson Brands gets. He’s undersized at this weight class, so he has to out-work and out-shoot his opponents, this stagnant standing around won’t fly.

We were tied 1-1 in sudden victory when Nelson fired off his best shot of the night.

Like Murin, he did it early enough that time was a nonfactor, but he was impatient with the finish. Instead of dragging Braunagel back to the center, he rolls the dice on the edge and they go out of bounds. Brands would make another mistake a few seconds later on a go-behind. He failed to get behind the shoulders and his momentum carried him through. He tried to hook with his right leg, but by then Braun was already popping back up for the counter. He got outstretched then fell to his hip, giving up the two. He was in a poor position and tried to force something that wasn’t there.

These are mental mistakes that he can learn from, but it’s painful dropping a match that he should win. Similar to last year, his margin for error is razer thin at this weight, so he has to wrestle his match at his pace, instead of slowing it down like this.

197lbs: Remember the fluid, smooth, aggressive Jacob Warner of last week? Yeah- he didn’t show up here. Warner snagged the bout’s only TD at the 1:16 mark in the first period then proceeded to coast for the next 5 minutes.

This was the type of 4-0 shut out that’ll drive Tom and Terry Brands crazy. Warner rode Wroblewski out for the entire third period and amassed over 3:00 min of riding time. You could hear the Iowa sidelines urging Warner on, but at that point, it’s too late to go for the major without risking an inadvertent mistake.

He had some solid, body-shaking mat returns, but then went right back into a parallel ride. TBH- I’m surprise Warner didn’t get hit for stalling.

Whatever, here’s Warner’s only TD. Enjoy, that’s all there is.

285lbs: Big Cass responded in a big way! Luke Luffman was sky high, sitting at 4-0, coming off two upset wins that launched him up the rankings. Cass just put everyone (not named Gable Steveson or Mason Parris) on notice and showed the rest of the field that they still have to go through him.

Cass corralled his first TD midway through the first period to set the tone. He escaped early in the 2nd to go up 3-0 before hitting a standing cradle that rocked Luffman to sleep. Like Eierman, he didn’t have it clean, but relaxed and calmly worked for a better position. Once secured, he dropped to his hip, took him over, and that was that.

It was a great rebound win for Cass that sets him up nicely going into the back stretch of the season.

If you’re interested in Brands full post-dual presser, here ya go.

Up next we travel to Purdue for a tri-meet against Purdue and #10 Ohio State on Sunday, Feb. 7.

  • Purdue at 10:30 AM CT
  • #10 Ohio State at 1:00PM CT on BTN