I expected this dual meet would be a rout in favor of Iowa; it was over the moment Iowa's bus didn't get lost on the way to Hilton Coliseum on Sunday. But even I didn't expect this much of a complete ass-kicking. Iowa won nine of ten matches and scored bonus points in four of those nine wins. They won by a lot (two pins in less than a minute) and they won by a little (8-7 at 133 and 3-2 at 184)... although there weren't many close matches. The only Iowa State team points came at 197 lbs, where Iowa forfeited (more on that in a minute). The dual was even more lopsided when you drill down into the matches themselves. Iowa outscored Iowa State 22-1 in takedowns for the dual meet. TWENTY-TWO TO ONE. Iowa State's only takedown came at 133 lbs, from Markus Simmons. Iowa outscored the Cyclones 64-27 in match points.
The win ran Iowa's streak over Iowa State to 14 wins in a row, so they're one win away from matching Hayden Fry's dominance of little brother in football in the 80s and 90s. Unless half the Penn State roster transfers to Ames this offseason, the odds should definitely be in Iowa's favor of making it 15 in a row next year. The 29-point win was the largest in the series since Iowa dropped them 32-3 in 2012. It was not the most-lopsided Iowa win in the series -- that would be Iowa's 31-point win (37-6) in 1990-91. (The most lopsided win for either team in the series was Iowa State's 34-0 win back in 1932-33, which remains the only shutout in series history as well.) Nor was it the funniest final score in the series, which remains Iowa's 32-2 win in 1989-90. But it was still a memorably lopsided ass-kicking in the series, made even more notable by the fact that this isn't even a particularly excellent Iowa team. But that's the state of Iowa State wrestling right now: absolute garbage.
The dual started at 125 where Spencer Lee recorded the quickest pin for an Iowa wrestler this season, decking Sinjin Briggs in 40 seconds to put Iowa up 6-0. 133 and 141 looked like weights where Iowa State might be able to do some damage -- Iowa's options at those weights have been, shall we say, rocky all season, while two of ISU's best wrestlers this season have been Markus Simmons (133) and Ian Parker (141). In fact, Parker was the only ranked Cyclone wrestler heading into this dual (#18). They both lost. Simmons gave up eight straight points to blow a 7-0 second period lead while Parker got torched by Vince Turk to the tune of a 13-5 major decision. Iowa only got regular decision wins from Brandon Sorensen and Michael Kemerer at 149 and 157, so if ISU is looking for moral victories, maybe they can take some solace there.
The beating resumed with gusto after intermission, as Alex Marinelli flattened former teammate Skyler St. John in 52 seconds. Joey Gunther picked up Iowa's seventh straight win with a 4-0 blanking at 174 lbs and Mitch Bowman made it eight in a row with a tight 3-2 win over Dane Pestano at 184 lbs. As noted, Iowa State's only points in the dual came at 197, where Iowa forfeited the weight. Sam Stoll then ended the dual on an up note for Iowa with a 14-4 major decision that featured five Stoll takedowns and four Harrington stalling calls.
So, about that forfeit. Per Tom Brands, Iowa forfeited at 197 lbs because Steven Holloway (who did weigh in at 197 before today's dual) "has an injury" and wasn't needed in a dual that Iowa was already winning 31-0 at that point. (Cash Wilcke, Iowa's regular starter at 197 lbs this season, didn't make the trip to Ames for this dual; Brands cited a "flu bug going around Iowa City" as the reason for Wilcke's absence.)
Kevin Dresser, not one to back down from lobbing verbal grenades at Tom Brands, was salty about the forfeit:
Dresser had different thoughts. He called the forfeit a “chicken-blank move.”
“You know, we went a found a guy at 7-11 and wrestled him all year at 125,” Dresser continued, “and they weigh in a guy at 197 and don’t wrestle him. OK. That’s probably the difference between the two programs.
“The day will come when we even the score here and this will be a dual meet. We don’t roll that way, but they can roll how they want to roll.”
I was mad about the forfeit, too, Kevin -- but only because it prevented Iowa from having a chance to blank your sorry ass. I'll admit the optics of the movie look a little strange -- if Holloway was healthy enough to weigh in and (apparently) healthy enough to compete if Iowa "needed him" (which is a hilarious statement in itself because the only this dual was going to be close was if Iowa State poisoned Iowa's pre-game meal), then he probably could have wrestled in the dual. That said, I certainly don't have any additional knowledge of his injury status, so if Brands says they want to protect him in a meaningless match, so be it. If anything, this move helped Dresser because it became the focus of conversation after the dual, which (1) distracted from the fact that his team just got its ass kicked from pillar to post by Iowa and (2) gave him some red meat to wave in front of the bleating dumbasses in the Iowa State fanbase.
Look: I think forfeits suck, especially in a dual meet. No one comes to a dual meet to see a guy not wrestle. I have hated it in the past when Iowa has forfeited a weight and while I can understand Brands not wrestling Holloway today, it still bums me out. But listening to Kevin Dresser yap about it is nauseating because Kevin Dresser is full of shit. Iowa State "[doesn't] roll that way"? The Cyclones forfeited at 141 lbs in four straight dual meets prior to the Iowa dual meet. ISU's regular starter (Ian Parker) was hurt, yes, but he couldn't find anyone else on his roster to fill that spot for those four duals? Bullshit. In criticizing Brands' move to forfeit 197, Dresser talked about "[finding] a guy at 7-11 and [wrestling] him all year at 125 (Sinjin Briggs)." Maybe he should have gone back to 7-11 and found someone to fill that spot for those duals.
And as far as "evening the score" goes... I'm not going to hold my breath on that front. This was Iowa's 14th win in a row over Iowa State and their 29th win in their last 30 tries. Since 1980, Iowa is 56-5 against Iowa State. The score in this series has not been even for a very long time and the prospects of it looking even in the short or medium term don't look too hot. Kevin Dresser might want to work on fielding a team that can finish more than one takedown before he starts getting hot about "evening the score."
|125||#3 Spencer Lee||FALL (0:40)||Sinjin Briggs||IOWA 6-0|
|133||Paul Glynn||DEC (8-7)||Markus Simmons||IOWA 9-0|
|141||Vince Turk||MAJ DEC (13-5)||#18 Ian Parker||IOWA 13-0|
|149||#2 Brandon Sorensen||DEC (7-4)||Jarrett Degen||IOWA 16-0|
|157||#2 Michael Kemerer||DEC (11-5)||Chase Straw||IOWA 19-0|
|165||#2 Alex Marinelli||FALL (0:52)||Skyler St. John||IOWA 25-0|
|174||Joey Gunther||DEC (4-0)||Danny Bush||IOWA 28-0|
|184||Mitch Bowman||DEC (3-2)||Dane Pestano||IOWA 31-0|
|197||Sam Colbray||FORFEIT||IOWA 31-6|
|285||#5 Sam Stoll||MAJ DEC (14-4)||Marcus Harrington||IOWA 35-6|
A few thoughts:
- Spencer Lee's pin was his sixth of the season, which ties him with Brandon Sorensen and Sam Stoll for second-most on the team (Michael Kemerer leads the team with seven pins). Fun fact: all six of Lee's pins have come in the first period.
- Very nice win for Glynn. Coming back from 7-0 is pretty impressive against anyone and Simmons is pretty decent. Not great, but solid enough. Credit to Glynn for continuing to battle -- he got a big move (a takedown and a 4-point nearfall off a cradle) to get back into the match and then broke Simmons and rode him out in the third to seal the win.
- I'm still not entirely sure what Vince Turk did to win the starting job at 141, but since he's been the starter there the last two weeks, it looks like the gig is his. To his credit, he's looked better -- he took the fight to Nick Lee last week and this week he took apart Iowa State's best wrestler -- who beat two-time NCAA champ Dean Heil the last time he was on the mat. If things have finally started to click for Turk, well, this would be a pretty good time for that to happen.
- Nothing terribly impressive from Sorensen or Kemerer at 149 or 157, but they seem to be in taking it easy mode until tournament season starts up in a few weeks. They both have a strong track record in tournaments, so I think we'll be fine trusting them to turn it up when they need to do so.
- Alex Marinelli didn't waste any time taking care of a former teammate and training partner. It's a lot of fun to see him gaining confidence and getting better with each match.
- The wins by Gunther and Bowman... well, those were certainly matches that happened today. Yep. Kudos to Gunther and Bowman but I'm not sure there's much to say about those matches.
- Always good to see Sammy get the offense going, although as ever we're most curious to see if he can get it going against the top guys at 285 lbs.
NEXT: Dual meet season is over. Iowa returns to action at the Big Ten Tournament in East Lansing, MI on March 3-4.