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No. 3 Iowa set to rebound against Buffalo

BY DANNY PAYNE | DECEMBER 12, 2013 5:00 AM

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The last time we saw Tom Brands’ crew on the mat, the Hawks were lackluster, to say the least. The nation’s then-No. 1 team (according to InterMat) was in Edinboro taking on the Fighting Scots in McComb Field House in northwestern Pennsylvania.

The dual started off well for Iowa — redshirt freshman Thomas Gilman got the nod over starter Cory Clark at 125 pounds and put a beat-down on then-No. 17 Kory Mines, scoring a major decision, 12-3, to kick off the event. Next came the most highly anticipated bout of the night — then-No. 1 Tony Ramos and then-No. 8 AJ Schopp.

Schopp used a takedown and escape to top Ramos, 3-2 at 133 pounds. Then Josh Dziewa got pinned in the second period at 141, and the Hawkeyes were trailing for the first time this season.

Iowa clawed its way back into the lead, mostly thanks to Derek St. John, Mike Evans, and Sammy Brooks, all of whom scored major decisions, and eventually managed to squeak out a 22-19 road win.

With Edinboro seven days in the rearview mirror, Brands and Company are now ranked third in the nation. The Hawkeyes will welcome Buffalo into Carver-Hawkeye Arena for a final tune-up before squaring off against No. 2 Penn State on Dec. 21.

When speaking of factors that go into preparation, senior Ethen Lofthouse said blocking outside variables is key.

“You wrestle to compete every day,” he said. “Every day, you come in here ready to compete, and you take it just like a match.”

Ramos had a similar attitude, saying nothing changes despite the way he wrestled at Edinboro.

“Are we worried about a guy like Ramos and how he comes back?” Brands said. “Not really, unless it becomes a habit.”

As mentioned in Tuesday’s wrestling notebook, Brands gave mixed signals regarding the status of starters No. 10 Nathan Burak at 197 and No. 3 heavyweight Bobby Telford. Despite Brands’ somewhat cryptic words, one would think they will get on the mat before the Nittany Lions come to town.

Burak and Telford aside, Ramos had a very focused demeanor when available to the press Tuesday, and he is quite poised for his match. He said he will iron out the wrinkles and get back on the mat today, ready to dominate.

“I didn’t need more motivation, but I didn’t need more motivation,” Ramos said. “It’s motivation for next time you wrestle not to even keep it close.”

Scouting Buffalo

Buffalo is scheduled to come into Carver for the first time in school history with no probable starters ranked in any of the three major college rankings. Buffalo’s top-two wrestlers in terms of winning percentage are 174-pounder Rrok Ndokaj (7-3), who will wrestle No. 6 Mike Evans — Evans has picked up bonus points in every match he has wrestled this year — and Max Soria, a 125-pounder with a 9-5 record. Soria will square off against No. 4 Cory Clark, who owns an 8-0 record.

Last year on the road, Iowa routed Buffalo, 39-3.


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