A Night To Chill As Hawkeyes Roll Past Buckeyes
Tom Brands said he was wanting to “take on the whole doggone world right now.”
The Iowa wrestling coach was a tornado of words in his post-dual press conference on Friday night, after the top-ranked Hawkeyes took a 24-10 win over No. 4 Ohio State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The undefeated Hawkeyes are in the middle of a three-dual home stretch of ranked Big Ten teams that concludes with next week’s matchup with No. 2 Penn State, a January crucible for a team that has swatted away every challenge so far this season.
The coach, though, continued to whirl despite another show of domination against another one of the nation’s best teams.
“There are certain things I need to be better at,” Brands said. “One of those things is, just, being political. Winning the political battle. Not trying to take on the whole world. That will help our pace, too. That will help my pace.
“I mean, I need to be more of a professional out there. There were things that were frustrating.”
Asked to clarify what he had to do, Brands said, “Just chill out, man.”
Oh, he’s not going to stop being Tom Brands. Don't make that mistake.
“No, no, no, no, no,” he said. “We all have to be better. I have to be better.”
Iowa (8-0 overall, 5-0 Big Ten) won seven of the 10 matches. Some were easier than others.
“Why do I feel like it’s even?” Brands said. “That’s what I mean. I’ve got to learn how to enjoy. Seven to three against the No. (4) team in the country. I’m not changing, though. I’m not saying that. But, I mean, come on.”
Don’t get him wrong, he enjoyed what the Hawkeyes did against the Buckeyes (7-2, 3-1), especially the combination of Spencer Lee and Austin DeSanto.
Lee, the top-ranked wrestler nationally at 125, had another first-period technical fall, defeating Hunter Lucas, 18-0. Lee had a takedown and four four-point near-falls.
It was his seventh technical fall of the season in 10 matches, the sixth time a match ended in the first period.
DeSanto was a master of takedowns, with 12 in a 27-12 win over Jordan Decatur at 133.
“I think that Spencer Lee and Austin DeSanto scored a lot of points back-to-back, and we needed that,” Brands said.
The dual started at 165, with Iowa’s Alex Marinelli defeating Ethan Smith, 14-10. That meant Lee, who usually leads off, had more time to get ready.
“Routines change,” Lee said. “I mean, I prefer being first. What I do, I like to start the team off strong. But Marinelli started off strong. Whatever. Wrestling’s wrestling. You’ve got to wrestle at your time. You’ve got to be ready to go.”
DeSanto, coming off a 7-4 decision against Ridge Lovett of Nebraska in last week’s dual, set a frantic pace that Brands loved.
“Coming in this week, I was more focused,” DeSanto said. “Leaner. Meaner. Hungry like a wolf. Just ready to go.”
Brands raced over to DeSanto to congratulate him after his match.
“Aw, he’s awesome,” Brands said. “I said, ‘That’s how it’s done.’ You want a definition of how to wrestle a dominating wrestling match? That’s how it’s done.”
“Twenty-seven points,” Brands said, marveling at the score.
He did the same when told that Lee has outscored his opponents 84-1 in his last five matches.
“That’s staggering,” Brands said. “And he’s wrestling better. It’s not a flash-in-the-pan type of thing.”
Michael Kemerer (174), Abe Assad (184), Tony Cassioppi (285) and Kaleb Young (157) also had wins for Iowa.
Kollin Moore, the top-ranked wrestler at 197, defeated Cash Wilcke, 8-3, for the Buckeyes’ first win. Wilcke replaced Jacob Warner, ranked sixth.
“Warner? Best thing for him,” Brands said. “He didn’t like it. He didn’t know it until, I guess, Wilcke walked out there. But the conversation afterwards was all good. He’s a pro.”
Luke Pletcher, No. 1 at 141, defeated Iowa’s Carter Happel, 14-4. Happel replaced Max Murin, who was “nicked up,” according to Brands.
The defeat that bothered Brands the most was top-ranked Pat Lugo’s 2-1 loss to No. 6 Sammy Sasso in two tiebreaker rounds at 149. Sasso scored an escape in the beginning of the first tiebreaker round in a match that had three replay reviews.
Lugo originally was given a takedown in the final seconds of the third period, but it was overruled on the replay review. Brands then threw the challenge brick looking for a locked-hands call in the second tiebreaker round, but that replay, too, went against the Hawkeyes.
His team had won again, but Brands was still mulling the losses, a mind spinning at the possibilities.
“Lugo, they call that cradle rule, 8-2,” Brands said. “Happel believes? Nine-one. Throw Warner out there, 10-0.
“How’s that for chilling out?”