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Wrestling discards Ohio State, 33-3

BY J.T. BUGOS | JANUARY 24, 2011 7:10 AM

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The Iowa wrestling team won the first eight matches and nine out of 10 on the day to cruise to a 33-3 victory over Ohio State in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Jan. 22. After not recording a single bonus point victory against Oklahoma State on Jan. 16 in a 15-15 tie, the Hawkeyes scored four bonus-point victories against the Buckeyes.

Iowa 125-pounder Matt McDonough pinned Bo Touris in 4:37, and Blake Rasing, Mark Ballweg, and Matt Ballweg all won by major decision.

“Coach [Tom Brands] has been talking to us recently about opportunities and making opportunities,” McDonough said. “The only way you’re going to score is if you make attempts and you attempt again and again. I think that’s something I’m trying to do more of, and I think everyone is trying to do more of that.

“We have to keep going until we get those huge blowout matches every single match.”

The key match of the dual came at 165 pounds, when Aaron Janssen and Colt Sponseller took the mat. Janssen jumped out to a 3-1 lead over the eighth-ranked Buckeye, but Sponseller scored a takedown with 37 seconds left to tie the score. The match went into sudden victory, and with 8,976 fans on their feet screaming for a Hawkeye victory, Sponseller was able to secure a takedown and take the air out of the arena.

“I tell you what, when a guy gives full effort, I don’t get upset too much,” Iowa head coach Tom Brands said. “And Janssen gave full effort, but I’m upset because when you give full effort and you need one point and you can bring the house down with one point — that’s something. Find the point.”

Matt Ballweg also stood out on a day full of dominating Hawkeye wins. The Waverly, Iowa, native had struggled in his career in Big Ten dual competition — he had just one career Big Ten win — but he notched a major decision victory over Mike Fee. Ballweg scored five takedowns in the match to win, 12-3.

“He got crisper as the match went on, and sometimes he gets sloppier,” Brands said. “He was sloppy on that first takedown, but he actually got less sloppy as the match went on, and that’s important. He’s a senior; we want that success. You’ve only got so many more opportunities.”

Not every Hawkeye was happy with his result. Despite his 6-4 win, Luke Lofthouse said he was disappointed in his performance. He noted a lack of first period scoring and a need to get on his attacks earlier.

Brands said the Hawkeyes should have been able to dominate an Ohio State team that isn’t as formidable as years past. He expected to widen the gap — though he noted he expects that regardless of the opponent.

Still, the team showed it can put together a strong performance against a tough foe, and the Hawkeyes demonstrated an edge Brands will want for the rest of the year.

“If we can be hard like that, we give ourselves a chance to win,” the fifth-year head coach said. “And that’s what we have to be, we have to be hard. We have to be a bitch. We have to be tough like that on our opponent. And it needs to be consistent.

“In a way, we haven’t done it all year, but we need to be bullies in those tough matches. And if we can be bullies in those tough matches, then we got a team.”


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