Iowa lacked bonus points against ISU


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There was a lot of good that came from No. 2 Iowa’s 23-9 win over No. 6 Iowa State over the weekend in the annual Cy-Hawk wrestling dual.

For starters, the win was Iowa’s 11th-straight in the series, keeping the Dan Gable Traveling Trophy in Iowa City. It was also the Hawkeyes’ first real competition, and they left Ames with a solid victory under their belt.

But with it came a tad bit of concern: Iowa only recorded two bonus-point wins against the Cyclones.
“We missed some scoring positions,” Iowa wrestling coach Tom Brands said. “We had opportunities to put matches away with wider gaps, and we missed opportunities.”

The two bonus-point victories came where most Hawkeye fans figured they might. Mike Evans opened the dual with a 10-1 major decision over Tanner Weatherman at 174 pounds, and Tony Ramos used seven takedowns to dismantle Dakota Bauer by way of a 16-5 major decision at 133 pounds.

But other than those two, Iowa wrestlers struggled to separate themselves in the other five matches they won. The average margin of victory for Black and Gold wrestlers in the dual was a mere 5.4 points.

The closest any other Hawkeye came to earning a bonus-point victory was at 141 pounds, where Josh Dziewa overcame an early takedown to notch a 12-5 victory — just one point off the 8-point advantage needed for a major.

But there are reasons for this, as Evans pointed out afterward.

“We were definitely looking for bonus points,” he said. “When you go out and wrestle Iowa State, they want to keep it close, because that’s the way they can beat you.”

That exact scenario happened against Michael Kelly at 149 pounds. With the match tied at 2 and the third period winding down, Iowa State’s Luke Goettl was able to score a takedown with two seconds remaining to take the match, 4-2.

A similar scenario happened at 285 pounds. Iowa’s Terrance Jean-Jacques, taking the place of Bobby Telford, nearly lost his match with Quean Smith in regulation. Smith took down Jean-Jacques with 33 seconds remaining in the match, but an escape and a stalling point pushed the match into overtime — where Smith used a quick takedown to win the match.

“I think we got a couple of them tired,” Iowa State wrestling coach Kevin Jackson said on Sunday. “You normally don’t see that with the Hawkeyes. I saw a few of them breathing hard, a few of them winded.

“If you look at last year’s match and you look at this year’s match, there’s a little change, a little improvement.”

Jackson makes a point here. Iowa blew through the Cyclones last year en route to a 32-3 beating. And as one might guess, the Hawkeyes racked up plenty of bonus points in that dual — five major decisions, to be exact, in nine victories.

And that’s just one example of how bonus points can be a factor in competition. Most Iowa wrestling fans remember last season’s dual with top-ranked Penn State. The main reason the Hawkeyes upset the Nittany Lions was, by and large, the bonus point victories throughout the dual.

Brands is well aware of that. And he knows to stress the importance of bonus-point wins if the team is really going to compete for a national title.

“They’re going to be coached to strategized,” he said. “And we have to beat that … we have to handle that better.”

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