Dennis, Iowa shut out Spartans


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Technically, Daniel Dennis knows he didn’t wrestle the best match of his collegiate career Sunday night.

He knows his 3-2 overtime upset against top-ranked 133-pounder Franklin Gomez in Carver-Hawkeye Arena didn’t win him any style points.

But Dennis only needed one point in overtime to ignite 7,120 fans and help No. 1 Iowa extend its dual-meet winning streak to 56 with a 37-0 rout against Michigan State.

While scrambling for an escape early in the third period, Dennis rolled into a reversal for a 2-1 advantage and looked to secure the win over Gomez by riding out the period.

But Gomez tied the match, 2-2, on an escape with 13 seconds remaining in regulation — a Houdini-esque feat that sent the match into overtime and kept Dennis from amassing enough riding time to earn a match-clinching riding time point.

The All-American matchup ended with a 30-second ride by Dennis in the final tiebreaker period.

Now 2-0 against Gomez since taking over Iowa’s starting spot at 133 last season, Dennis said defeating a defending national champion a month-and-a-half before the NCAA championships holds little importance in his eyes.

“I’m not so high on it, because I know it doesn’t entitle me to anything,” he said. “You know, if I wrestle him again in March in the national finals, this win doesn’t mean anything. I’m taking it for what it is, and it’s a step in the right direction.”

His teammates seem to be emphatically striding alongside him as well.

The Hawkeyes tallied four shutouts and didn’t allow a Michigan State takedown until the 197-pound bout, when Spartan sophomore Tyler Dickenson took a 3-2 lead 1:46 into the first period.

Iowa redshirt freshman Matt McDonough (125) and two-time defending Big Ten champion Brent Metcalf (149) posted pins to remained undefeated on the season.

McDonough held a 4-1 advantage over Michigan State freshman Brennan Lyon before sticking the Spartan’s shoulders to the mat with eight seconds left in the first period. Two matches later, Metcalf secured his fall in 3:37 after going ahead, 7-2.

“That calmness … that’s what we need to keep working on,” Iowa head coach Tom Brands said. “He’s starting to put it all together now, and that’s a Metcalf we like to see.”

The Iowa coaches also saw top-ranked 174-pound senior Jay Borschel effortlessly sustain his unblemished record, improving to 23-0 overall with an 8-0 major decision against sophomore Ian Hinton.

Sophomore 141-pounder Montell Marion and senior 184-pounder Phillip Keddy rebounded from their surprising losses against Penn State on Jan. 29 — signs that the Hawkeyes aren’t taking their seemingly inferior opponents for granted.

“They want to beat us,” McDonough said. “They’re going to give us their best shot, and you have to be ready no matter who your opponent is.”

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