Iowa started with a bang against Rutgers on Friday night and never looked back on their way to an easy 30-6 dual meet victory. Iowa won 8 of 10 matches on the evening, taking bonus points (two pins and a major decision) in three of them and conceding just four takedowns over the course of the dual meet. Rutgers didn't have the horses to compete with Iowa in this dual (they had just three ranked wrestlers competing), but Iowa was still able to take care of business in emphatic fashion.
#4 IOWA 30, #20 RUTGERS 6
|125||#2 Spencer Lee||FALL (0:38)||Nick Denora||IOWA 6-0|
|133||#8 Austin DeSanto||DEC (6-4)||#3 Nick Suriano||IOWA 8-0*|
|141||#15 Max Murin||DEC (8-4)||Peter Lipari||IOWA 11-0|
|149||#2 Anthony Ashnault||DEC (3-1 OT)||#12 Pat Lugo||IOWA 11-3|
|157||#5 Kaleb Young||DEC (5-2)||#14 John Van Brill||IOWA 14-3|
|165||#2 Alex Marinelli||FALL (2:15)||Anthony Oliveri||IOWA 20-3|
|174||Joseph Grello||DEC (6-4)||Mitch Bowman||IOWA 20-6|
|184||#13 Cash Wilcke||DEC (6-1)||Willie Scott||IOWA 23-6|
|197||#5 Jacob Warner||DEC (6-0)||Matt Correnti||IOWA 26-6|
|285||#2 Sam Stoll||MAJ DEC (10-0)||Christian Colucci||IOWA 30-6|
* Iowa was deducted a team point for an unsportsmanlike penalty on Austin DeSanto for his actions after his bout with Nick Suriano.
Spencer Lee provided a reminder to Iowa fans to always be in your seats before the first match by getting off to a lightning fast start -- he got a takedown nearly off the opening whistle, took Denora on a quick trip to Tilt Town, and then flipped him over for a pin in just 38 seconds. Pretty sure Spencer didn't even work up a sweat in that match. The pin was Iowa's quickest of the season to date. This was definitely more like the Spencer Lee we're accustomed to seeing, although it's worth noting that his opponent here was a wildly overmatched freshman. But, hey, you can only wrestle who's in front of you and sometimes it's fun to see the shark swallow a guppy.
Spencer Lee says goodnight to his opponent just 38 seconds into the bout pic.twitter.com/pyVv6YanwZ
— Go Iowa Awesome (@IowaAwesome) January 19, 2019
The biggest match of the night was at 133 and it produced the biggest cheer of the night, too, thanks to a thrilling last-second takedown from Austin DeSanto that enabled him to upset #3-ranked Nick Suriano. After a scoreless first period when both wrestlers spent a lot of time in an extended feeling-out process, Suriano struck first with an escape and a quick takedown in the second period to go up 3-0. He went to work building his riding time advantage, but DeSanto was able to draw a stalling call on Suriano and get an escape to cut his deficit to 3-1 with a minute to go in the period. DeSanto chose down in the third and while Suriano was able to build his riding time advantage over a minute, he also got dinged for stalling TWICE, tying the match at 3-3. DeSanto got an escape to go up 4-3, although it was still effectively tied with Suriano's riding time edge. After a good scramble near the end of the match, DeSanto was able to get in on Suriano's legs (something he hadn't had much success with earlier in the match) and then finish his shot for the match-winning takedown with just 1.5 seconds to go. TWWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
— Iowa On BTN (@IowaOnBTN) January 19, 2019
After the match, DeSanto's, er, overly rambunctious celebration of his victory earned an unsportsmanlike penalty and Iowa was deducted a team point. DeSanto does need to keep his emotions in check a bit more after matches (something both he and teammate Spencer Lee acknowledged that he's working on in interviews after the match), but as I said last week after DeSanto got dinged after his win over Minnesota's Ethan Lizak: he's a fiery guy who runs on emotion. That's probably going to boil over from time to time. As far as the match itself goes, DeSanto benefited from the stall calls against Suriano (although, if memory serves, at least one of them was not a judgment call and a required penalty because Suriano hadn't returned him to the mat within five seconds while riding) and he'll probably want to try and go to his own offense a bit sooner. But he did a good job of getting escapes against Suriano (twice), held his own in scramble situations, and finished well when he had the chance. There's no question that he can compete with the best guys at 133.
Iowa picked up a third straight win to open up the dual with an 8-4 win from Max Murin, ending his personal two-match losing streak. Lipari was slippery, but Murin used a takedown in each period, an escape to start the third, and a riding time point to pick up a solid victory. Outside of 133, the biggest match of the night was at 149, where #12 Lugo was taking on #2 Anthony Ashnault. This match didn't quite have the fireworks of DeSanto-Suriano, but it had a similarly dramatic finish. Alas, this time the ending didn't go Iowa's way, as Ashnault was able to get Rutgers' first win of the night with a nice takedon in sudden victory. In regulation, Lugo and Ashnault traded escapes, but otherwise failed to score. Ashnault nearly turned Lugo for a 2-point nearfall in the second, but a video review denied him any points. Lugo had a few good looks at scoring at the end of the bout, but wasn't able to finish them.
Kaleb Young got Iowa right back on track with a 5-2 win over #14 John Van Brill, a wrestler who's not afraid to mix in some funk. Young seemed game for that, though, and used his own strong scrambling skills to find ways to score (a takedown in the first period and a reversal in the second) out of unusual positions. Young wasn't able to score out of more conventional offensive looks, but as he showed in this match, he's damn hard to score on and he's more than capable of turning your own scoring opportunities into points for himself. After intermission, Alex Marinelli hit the mat and kept the points flowing for Iowa by absolutely mowing through unranked Anthony Oliveri. After picking up three quick takedowns with ease to start the bout, Marinelli went to work on the mat. He first tried to take Oliveri over with the same 3/4 nelson throw that he used to get a pin in the Minnesota dual, and while he didn't get a pin here, he did take Oliveri to his back. And a few moments later, Marinelli did get the first period pin after locking Oliveri up in a funky-looking figure four/headscissors hold. Marinelli has been delivering exactly the type of wins that Iowa needs from him lately, which is great to see.
Iowa's second (and final) loss of the night came at 174, where Mitch Bowman dropped a 6-4 decision to Joseph Grello. Bowman again fell behind early as Grello got a first period takedown to go up 2-1. He extended his lead to 4-1 in the second after Bowman got too high on Grello while riding him, allowing Grello to get a reversal. Bowman got a reversal of his own in the third period, but still trailed 4-3; he cut him to go after a takedown, but couldn't get it with only seconds left in the bout. Grello added a riding time point to make the final score 6-4. Bowman wasn't really able to build off his strong performance in the third period last week with this match, unfortunately. He has to get better about preventing early scores by his opponent and digging himself holes to climb out of every match and he needs to get to his own offense sooner.
Fortunately, Iowa got back on the winning track with the final three matches, winning them by a combined score of 22-1. Cash Wilcke netted Iowa a workmanlike 6-1 win at 184 lbs, using a first period takedown, a second period reversal, and a third period escape and riding time point to get a solid win against an opponent who was pretty feisty. At 197, Jacob Warner struggled to get anything going from neutral against Matt Correnti, but he got an escape in the second and then put a hard ride on Correnti in the third, ultimately riding him the entire period and earning a riding time point. He also used a nice tilt to get a 4-point nearfall during that ride as well. Warner had to dig a bit deeper to get that win and it was good to see that he was able to do that, although hopefully he's able to get more offense going from his feet in upcoming matches. Sam Stoll closed out the night for Iowa with a 10-0 major decision win at heavyweight, recording a takedown in each period, picking up an escape in the third, racking up a mountain of riding time, and drawing two stalling points against Colucci. It wasn't exactly an explosive showing from Stoll, but he looked pretty solid and in control throughout the match. He did a nice job of using two-on-ones to get Colucci off-balance and turned those into a few takedowns.
Not too much to complain about with this Iowa win. The guys who should have won big did, for the most part, with Lee and Marinelli leading by example with impressive first-period pins. Murin, Young, and Wilcke were able to pick up solid wins, while Warner was able to dig a little deeper to get a win when some things weren't quite working for him. Stoll made a nice return to the mat and Lugo looked solid in a losing effort against one of the best at his weight. And DeSanto had the biggest win of the night, upsetting a top opponent and definitely looking like he's going to have a big say in the battle for Big Ten and NCAA titles at 133 this year.
NEXT: Iowa hits the road to take on #19 Illinois (2-3, 1-2 Big Ten) next Friday night (8 PM CT, BTN).