Another weekend dual meet with a border rival, another win for Iowa wrestling. The Hawkeyes ventured west to face Nebraska on Sunday afternoon and though many of the matches were as offensively challenged as the Super Bowl later in the day, Iowa prevailed with a 20-13 victory over the Huskers. It was Iowa's 10th straight dual meet victory over Nebraska, which includes all of the dual meets between the programs since Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011.
While the end result was familiar (another Iowa victory), the path to that result wasn't particularly easy or predictable. The dual featured seven ties or lead changes between the two teams and no team won more than two matches in a row all day. Iowa won six matches to Nebraska's four, though, and edged the Huskers in bonus points (three to one, although effectively just two to one after Iowa lost a team point for unsportsmanlike conduct).
The dual was not without its drama or its upsets, either. An early Kaleb Young upset try at 157 didn't materialize, but Cash Wilcke scored an impressive upset victory over #4 Taylor Venz a few matches later at 184 lbs. It was Wilcke's first career win over an opponent ranked in the Top 5 and stopped Nebraska's momentum in its tracks after they had notched a 14-4 major decision at 174 to take a 10-6 lead in the dual. Nebraska did get an upset of their own at heavyweight, though, where David Jensen rode the hell out of Sam Stoll for two periods on his way to a 3-0 victory. That win gave Nebraska their final lead of the day (13-12), before Iowa slammed the door with back-to-back bonus point wins from Spencer Lee and Austin DeSanto at 125 and 133. DeSanto ended the dual with, uh, let's call it a flourish:
Austin DeSanto finishes this tech fall off..... in fashion?— Iowa On BTN (@IowaOnBTN) February 3, 2019
No. 3 @Hawks_Wrestling defeats No. 6 Nebraska 20-13 in Lincoln and improves to a perfect 11-0 this season, and 6-0 in conference play #FightForIowa pic.twitter.com/z5UyKPupmo
Look, if you want me to criticize someone for trolling Nebraska fans, you're barking up the wrong tree. And giving his bench a thumbs up before completing a takedown to lock up a 25-10 technical fall is just A+ showmanship.
#3 Iowa 20, #9 Nebraska 13
|141||#19 Chad Red||DEC (4-1)||Vince Turk||NEB 3-0|
|149||#12 Pat Lugo||DEC (8-4)||Jordan Shearer||TIE 3-3|
|157||#2 Tyler Berger||DEC (3-1 OT)||#7 Kaleb Young||NEB 6-3|
|165||#2 Alex Marinelli||DEC (3-0)||#6 Isaiah White||TIE 6-6|
|174||#9 Mikey Labriola||MAJ DEC (14-4)||Keegan Shaw||NEB 10-6|
|184||#13 Cash Wilcke||DEC (5-2)||#4 Taylor Venz||NEB 10-9|
|197||#5 Jacob Warner||DEC (4-1)||#11 Eric Schultz||IOWA 12-10|
|285||#14 David Jensen||DEC (3-0)||#3 Sam Stoll||NEB 13-12|
|125||#2 Spencer Lee||MAJ DEC (18-4)||#16 Zeke Moisey||IOWA 16-13|
|133||#3 Austin DeSanto||TECH FALL (25-10)||Brian Peska||IOWA 20-13*|
* As noted, Iowa was deducted a team point at the end of the dual.
A few thoughts:
I thought it might be a good idea to give Vince Turk a try at 141, given some of Murin's recent struggles and the fact that Turk had looked good in some of his own recent matches. Turk did get the nod today, but the end result was not dissimilar from what we've seen from Murin lately: not much offense from neutral and a match ending with the other guy getting his hand raised. I had hoped that Turk might offer a bit more activity than Murin, but that didn't materialize yesterday.
Lugo got the win at 149 and while it didn't go all the way to tiebreakers like his previous match, it still wasn't a particularly shining performance. He didn't even really try to ride Shearer in the third period, which would have made some sense if he'd been actively trying to score more takedowns, but he didn't exactly do that, instead just cruising to an easy 8-4 decision win. Iowa ended up not needing bonus points from Lugo, which is good, because he didn't look too fussed about trying to get them here.
Young returned to the Iowa lineup at 157 to take on #2-ranked Tyler Berger but came away with a second-straight loss. The good news was that he did look a bit more active on his feet and actually got to Berger's leg in the first period (an improvement on anything he did in the Illinois match last weekend), but he wasn't able to finish. He also showed impressive defense in fighting off Berger's attacks -- some of which were pretty deep -- for the better part of the second and third periods. Unfortunately, he didn't do enough attacking of his own to score (and win) and there was no stopping the slick ankle pick Berger used to get the win in sudden victory.
Marinelli's bout with White at 165 was his most high-profile encounter of the season since taking down Wisconsin's Evan Wick in the Midlands final and once again Marinelli came through with a W, albeit without the high-scoring offense we've seen from him for most of the season. After a 0-0 first period (seven of the first eight matches featured scoreless first periods, which did not make for exciting action), Marinelli put a mean ride on White for the entire second period. He didn't come all that close to scoring any nearfall points, but he did put a lot of pressure on White, which seemed to wear him down. In the third period, Marinelli got an escape and added a penalty point from White on a hands to the face call. It wasn't the prettiest win, but Marinelli never looked particularly threatened.
After his two-win debut showing last weekend, Keegan Shaw got another run-out at 174, but this outing didn't go nearly as well for him as his previous appearances. Labriola was too much for him, particularly from neutral, although it was frustrating that one of Labriola's takedowns was obtained because Shaw's leg seemed to briefly give out and send him collapsing to the mat. Shaw received treatment for the injury but was able to continue the match and didn't seem too much worse for wear; given Iowa's terrible run at this weight this year, we certainly hope he didn't sustain any sort of serious injury.
Cash Wilcke got what was probably Iowa's biggest win of the night at 184 -- and arguably the biggest win of his career -- by upsetting #4 Taylor Venz. After a scoreless first period (again, that was a theme all day), Wilcke got an escape to start the second and then got in on Venz's legs and, after a bit of a scramble, managed to finish the takedown. He added another late in the third period and while neither takedown was exactly textbook-beautiful, they count all the same and it was good to see Wilcke taking a few more chances than normal and being rewarded for it. Hopefully a win like this gives him some more confidence going forward; he can hang with -- and beat -- almost anyone at 184, but he needs to give himself chances to win. He did that here and his reward was a well-deserved win.
Jacob Warner gave Iowa their first lead of the dual with a workmanlike 4-1 win at 197 lbs. His match was a bit like Marinelli's (or Chad Red's, for that matter) -- scoreless first period, ride the opponent the entire second period, then add some points in the third. He did manage to get a takedown in the third as well, which was nice to see. I'd still like to see him be able to score more early in matches, but he's been getting the job done the last few weeks, which is good enough.
At 285, Sam Stoll suffered his first loss of the season due to an inability to escape from bottom. Stoll was the aggressor for most of the first period, but he was unable to convert his strength and forward pressure into any actual points. He chose down in the second period, which turned out to be a tactical mistake. He was unable to escape, allowing Jensen to rack up gobs of riding time. Jensen then chose the top position in the third and again rode Stoll for the entire period, this time drawing a pair of stalling points against Stoll. In hindsight, Stoll probably should have kept the match in neutral in the second, or perhaps even opted to go on top himself -- he's a very strong rider himself and may have been able to turn Jensen or at least nullify the riding time Jensen got when he was on top himself.
Spencer Lee returned to the lineup after his one-dual absence and largely cruised to an 18-4 major decision win over Zeke Moisey, although it wasn't without its hiccups. Moisey took advantage of an awkward moment from Lee in the first to score a takedown and he added another in the third; Lee's reversal in the second and his own takedown in the third came off sloppy attacks from Moisey. Still, Lee did a good job of taking advantage of Moisey's miscues and turning them into scoring opportunities of his own and while Moisey put up a spirited effort on the mat in fighting off Lee's tilt attempts (better than almost anyone else I've seen this year), Lee was still able to turn him repeatedly. And, honestly, I'm still not entirely sure how the match continued past the first period -- Lee was either very close to pinning him near the end of the period or he did pin him and the refs missed it.
- Finally, Austin DeSanto closed things out with an absolute takedown clinic of poor Brian Peska. DeSanto racked up 12 takedowns in the match -- and he still managed to end things with over a minute remaining in the match. He got to Peska's legs with ease and finished quickly and decisively -- again and again and again (and again and...). Given the lack of takedowns throughout much of the dual, though, it was refreshing to see some actual offense.
Start your week off with another look back at Sunday's 20-13 win in Lincoln. Hawkeyes host the Terrapins Friday at 7:00 p.m. Hope to see you at Carver! pic.twitter.com/3iaQIWpiQJ— Iowa Hawkeye Wrestling (@Hawks_Wrestling) February 4, 2019
NEXT: Iowa returns home to face Maryland (0-8, 0-5 Big Ten) on Friday night (7 PM CT, BTN Plus). Get ready for some turtle soup.