If you want to get through a wall, you better bring the right tools. Today Ohio State wrestling was the wall -- and Iowa just didn't have enough firepower to break down that wall. Ohio State has a tremendous team this season, one with depth from the top of the roster to the bottom -- they have wrestlers ranked at all ten weights, with eight of those ranked #6 or better at their respective weights. They also have incredible quality, with six wrestlers ranked #3 or better, especially at the upper end of the roster; their upper weights are just incredible with #3 Bo Jordan at 174, #2 Myles Martin at 184, #1 Kollin Moore at 197, and #1 Kyle Snyder at 285. That's a fearsome foursome and one that not many teams can counter. Iowa had no answer for them; they won four of the first six matches in the dual and led 12-10, but OSU won the last four bouts, with bonus points at 184 and 285 to lock up a 22-12 win, their second win over Iowa since 1966.
Overall, this dual went about like I projected, with one happy exception: Spencer Lee upsetting Nathan Tomasello to lead off the bout at 125 lbs (more on that below). But beyond that Iowa won the three matches where they were favored (149, 157, and 165) and failed to record an upset at any of the non-Lee weights. Ultimately, this Iowa team just has a few too many holes to beat as well-balanced as Ohio State. OSU has 10 ranked wrestlers; Iowa had three unranked wrestlers scheduled to compete (133, 141, 174) and ended up with four (since #3 Sam Stoll didn't wrestle at 285). For Iowa to win this dual they needed things to get weird and that didn't happen -- by and large the expected results were what we got.
|125||#6 Spencer Lee||DEC (3-2)||#1 Nathan Tomasello||IOWA 3-0|
|133||#2 Luke Pletcher||DEC (8-2)||Paul Glynn||TIED 3-3|
|141||#11 Joey McKenna||MAJ DEC (13-2)||Carter Happel||OSU 7-3|
|149||#2 Brandon Sorensen||DEC (4-2)||#6 Ke-Shawn Hayes||OSU 7-6|
|157||#2 Michael Kemerer||DEC (8-4)||#6 Micah Jordan||IOWA 9-7|
|165||#8 Alex Marinelli||DEC (5-2)||#13 Te'Shan Campbell||IOWA 12-7|
|174||#3 Bo Jordan||DEC (10-5)||Kaleb Young||IOWA 12-10|
|184||#2 Myles Martin||MAJ DEC (17-8)||#20 Mitch Bowman||OSU 14-12|
|197||#1 Kollin Moore||DEC (6-3)||#5 Cash Wilcke||OSU 17-12|
|285||#1 Kyle Snyder||TECH FALL (24-9)||#3 Sam Stoll||OSU 22-12|
A few more thoughts:
- Lee's win over Tomasello was a very nice way to start the dual. He's certainly capable of going toe-to-toe with anyone at this weight. He was able to grind out a 3-2 win after a scoreless first period with a pair of third period escapes and a riding time point gained after riding Tomasello for the entire second period. The fact that he wasn't able to get any offensive points is a little concerning (and he needs to diversify his attacks from neutral a bit), but his top game gives him a strong basis for any match, as evidenced by that impressive ride-out today. He was close to being able to potentially get nearfall points on Tomasello a few times as well. And unlike last week, his gas tank did not appear to be redlining in the third period, which is a positive development. And let's be real: Spencer Lee just beat the #1-ranked guy on the road. That's outstanding. Let's not quibble too much with how he got it done.
- Glynn got the call at 133 and, well, he limited the damage and kept Pletcher to a decision. That's what we were hoping to see, so job done, I suppose.
- Happel got the start at 141 and he did not really limit the damage, giving up a major decision to McKenna. Happel allowed McKenna to get to his legs a little easily, particularly early in the match. Unfortunately, there just aren't any good answers for Iowa at 133 or 141 right now.
- Brandon Sorensen won a low-scoring bout at 149 -- what a surprise, right? After a scoreless first period, Hayes actually managed to score first on Sorensen, but Sorensen used a pair of escapes and a takedown in the third period to secure a 4-2 win. Once he got to his offense in the third, he looked good, but as we've said more than a few times, he needs to do that earlier in matches. (Although it also helps if you have an opponent who's a little more willing to engage than Hayes, who spent most of the bout circling away from Sorensen.)
- Kemerer started with a bang at 157, securing a takedown in the first five seconds of the match. He then rode Jordan for the duration of the first period, which was fairly impressive. Jordan, not eager to go back after being ridden hard for almost three minutes, opted for neutral to start the second -- and Kemerer got another takedown not long into the period and again rode him for the entire period. So he went into the third period up 4-0 with a mountain of riding time. With an escape, a takedown, and a rideout he had a chance to get an 8-0 major decision. That... didn't quite happen. He got the escape, but after that the match was (surprisingly) all Jordan. He showed good explosion and got a pair of takedowns, while Kemerer seemed to run out of gas a bit. He still managed a fairly easy decision win, but it was certainly not the strong finish we would have hoped to see.
- Marinelli displayed his usual pit bull approach at 165 and once again it was effective as he was able to grind on Campbell long enough and hard enough to lock up a 5-2 decision win. Marinelli isn't the most explosive wrestler right now (that knee injury is likely hampering him there), but he is very relentless. He stalks the middle of the mat and keeps up a lot of pressure on opponents. His biggest weakness today was on the mat; he chose down in the second and got ridden hard by Campbell. That may have been a tactical mistake, given the top position is Campbell's biggest strength (and he was nearly able to tilt Marinelli here). If they meet again, it will be interesting to see if Marinelli elects to take down.
- Kaleb Young got the start at 174 ahead of Joey Gunther and at first it looked like it was going to be a long and painful day at the office for Young; Jordan got takedowns with ease in the first period and went up 6-2. But Young didn't quit and kept fighting back, which paid off in the third when he was able to put in a pretty good ride on Jordan for a while and then, even more impressively, get in on Jordan's legs and finish a takedown to prevent any possibility of a major decision win for Jordan. Young lost today, but he was heavily outgunned and didn't back down, which was nice to see.
- Speaking of not backing down... hell of a job there, Mitch Bowman. The first period at 184 went about as disastrously as possible, short of giving up a pin. Martin got two easy takedowns and dominated Bowman on the mat, getting a cradle for two four-point nearfall sequences. The second four-point nearfall seemed like it shouldn't have counted because it didn't look like Martin broke the hold in-between those nearfall sequences (Iowa challenged that, but failed to get it overturned), but Martin still looked like he was going to cruise to a big win and the only question seemed to be if it was going to be a technical fall or a pin. But Bowman battled back in the final two periods -- he actually outscored Martin 7-5 in those periods and was probably the bigger aggressor, especially in the third period, where he got a takedown and was trying to lock up Martin for a cradle. That first period was a killer, but Bowman didn't quit, which has been the case for him all season. He's been a lot of fun to watch this year and, first period aside, the same was true today.
- The last two weeks have done a good job of showing the ceiling for Cash Wilcke at 197 right now. He lost 6-0 to the #3 wrestler last week and 6-3 to the #1 guy this week; the only difference were a trio of escapes he picked up this week. Unlike Weigel, who is nasty as a rider, Kollin Moore prefers to do his damage from his feet, so he doesn't mind giving up escapes. Wilcke wasn't close to scoring offensive points on Weigel last week and the same was true today. Until he can finish takedowns on them, he's not going to be a threat to beat them.
- And at heavyweight, well, Kyle Snyder got to put on one final takedown clinic for the OSU fans in his final home dual meet. So that was nice. Iowa opted not to wrestle Sam Stoll here; I don't know why, but I'd have to assume that it was for precautionary reasons, given his history of knee injuries and the fact that the dual was virtually out of reach at the time (OSU had a 17-12 lead; Iowa managed to win in that situation against Illinois, but Kyle Snyder is a far more dangerous opponent than Illinois' heavyweight). Perhaps Brands will expound on that decision this week. In any event, Steven Holloway got the call here and, well, he didn't get pinned. That's about all we can say for it. He was wrestling arguably the greatest wrestler in the world, though; Snyder is gonna do what Snyder is gonna do.
And that's that. Overall, a pretty entertaining dual, albeit one without too many surprises in terms of outcomes.
NEXT: Iowa returns home to face another Top-10 team in #8 Michigan next Saturday (5 PM CT, BTN).