I expected a rout today -- and Iowa wrestling still managed to exceed my expectations. Iowa blanked Michigan State today, posting a 44-0 shutout and cruising to an easy victory. It was Iowa's first shutout of a Big Ten opponent since they blanked Indiana (45-0) and Northwestern (54-0) last year. Iowa won all ten matches today and picked up bonus points in all but three, including three technical falls, two major decisions, one pin, and one disqualification.
The meet began with a six-point bang as Thomas Gilman posted a first-period pin and ended with a six-point whimper as Sam Stoll picked up a DQ win in the second period at heavyweight when his opponent was disqualified for too many stalling penalties. In-between, Iowa ran riot on Michigan State, racking up well over 100 match points. Except for a riding time point by Drew Hughes at 165, I believe all of Michigan State's points in this dual came via escapes -- many of which were given by their Iowa opponents so they could get more takedowns. This was just a completely one-sided dismantling of an opponent. Michigan State is not a very good team, so there's only so much you can draw from a dual like this, but Iowa did what you'd want them to do against an overmatched opponent. They attacked early and often and never really let up for the entire dual -- we can't ask for much more than that.
#3 IOWA 44, MICHIGAN STATE 0
|125||#1 Thomas Gilman||FALL (2:12)||Logan Griffin||IOWA 6-0|
|133||#1 Cory Clark||DEC (7-0)||Austin Eicher||IOWA 9-0|
|141||Topher Carton||MAJ DEC (12-2)||#16 Javier Gasca||IOWA 13-0|
|149||#2 Brandon Sorensen||TECH FALL (20-5)||Nick Trimble||IOWA 18-0|
|157||#2 Michael Kemerer||MAJ DEC (11-2)||Austin Thompson||IOWA 22-0|
|165||Joey Gunther||DEC (2-1)||#15 Drew Hughes||IOWA 25-0|
|174||#13 Alex Meyer||TECH FALL (22-7)||Drew Barnes||IOWA 30-0|
|184||#6 Sammy Brooks||TECH FALL (18-3)||Wesley Maskill||IOWA 35-0|
|197||Cash Wilcke||DEC (8-4)||Matt Okaiye||IOWA 38-0|
|285||#6 Sam Stoll||DQ||Jacob Cooper||IOWA 44-0|
A few thoughts:
- Thomas Gilman got a pin! He's been excellent at picking up technical falls (and the odd major decision) this year, but so far pins have proven a bit more elusive for Iowa's best wrestler. Not today -- he hooked a cradle in the first period today and swiftly put Griffin on his back to end the match.
- Clark's match provided some of the only disappointment of the day for Iowa. He never came remotely close to losing and controlled the match almost from the opening whistle, but it was annoying that he didn't get a major decision. He spent much of the second and third periods cranking on Eicher's arm and trying to take him over for back points or a fall and while it's always good to see a guy on the mat working for more points and not just wasting time on top, at a certain point, you need to cut bait and secure the bonus points. Clark scored a few takedowns with a fair amount of ease -- it's hard to imagine he wouldn't have been able to do the same in the third period to make the score at least 9-1, which would have gotten the major decision.
- After that minor disappointment, though, Carton responded with one of Iowa's best wins of the day by coming out and absolutely taking it to Gasca, one of Michigan State's best wrestlers (and few Top 20-ranked guys). Carton was active and aggressive on offense, did a nice job of finishing his shots, and was dangerous on the mat, picking up bonus points (and nearly pinning) Gasca. This was a great overall performance for Carton and should get him ranked when next week's new rankings come out.
- I tend to describe almost all of Brandon Sorensen's matches as "workmanlike" because, well, they are. But I'm pleased to say that this win was not workmanlike -- it was downright dominant and explosive. Sorensen can be a very conservative and pragmatic wrestler and while that often serves him well against more dangerous opponents, it can also limit his scoring against weaker foes. He didn't exactly throw caution to the wind here, but he did maintain a high tempo and kept looking for more takedowns, which was an encouraging sight.
- Kemerer's match wasn't quite as explosive as the matches before his had been, but it was a solid display and he stayed on the attack throughout, ultimately getting the major decision win. That'll do.
- Aside from 141, the one weight where I thought MSU might trip up Iowa was 165, where they have #15-ranked Drew Hughes. Iowa sent out Joey Gunther, who's endured some rough results the last few weeks. But Gunther answered the bell here. After a 0-0 first period, he got the decisive takedown in the second period off a nice shot. Hughes rode him for the entire third period, but he was never able to turn Gunther, so Gunther was able to escape with the upset win in the lowest-scoring match of the day. Not too shabby.
- At 174, Alex Meyer posted a technical fall. No, really! Meyer started a bit slow, but once he picked up some back points in the second period and managed to really extend his lead, he cut loose and picked up a slew of takedowns on Hughes to increase his margin and, eventually, secure the technical fall. That sort of match isn't something we see often from Meyer, so it was a pleasant surprise today.
- Brooks made it back-to-back technical falls for Iowa with his own at 184. His opponent, Maskill, was pretty game and didn't back down from much, but he was no match for Brooks' superior strength, talent, and experience. Brooks got multiple takedowns in the match and once he was able to get Maskill on the mat, it wasn't too long before Brooks' aptitude with tilts got some back points flowing, too. He wasn't quite able to finish the deal with a pin, but it was still a dominant performance for Brooks.
- Wilcke made it nine-for-nine for Iowa with his win at 197, out-dueling MSU's Matt Okaiye. Okaiye was game throughout and showed a lot of energy and aggression, but Wilcke was much sharper and he was able to finish multiple takedowns against Okaiye to pick up a fairly easy win. He didn't face the toughest opponents, but hopefully this 2-0 weekend has been good for Wilcke's confidence.
- Stoll finished things off for Iowa with a six-point disqualification win. Cooper, his opponent, kept backing away in Stoll's tie-ups and frequently hugging the edge of the mat, if not retreating out of bounds entirely. The referee was having none of it and dinged him for stalling repeatedly. Eventually, in the second period, he picked up his (I believe) fourth stalling penalty, which triggered the disqualification. It was a rather anticlimactic way for the dual to end, but if one guy just isn't interested in locking up and wrestling at all, well, there's not much you can do about it. I was just impressed the referee was willing to call that much stalling.
NEXT: Iowa heads back out on the road next Sunday for a huge rivalry showdown against #2 Oklahoma State in Stillwater (2 PM CT).