Iowa ready to crash Maryland, Penn State's parties


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For Super Bowl XLIX, Bobby Telford hosted a small get-together at his house, where some of his teammates came over and watched the Patriots beat the Seahawks. While there, Telford and 125-pounder Thomas Gilman talked about, among other things, road trips and parties.

“Like the parties you’ve been to in high school and college,” said Telford, the nation’s top-ranked heavyweight by Flowrestling. “Sometimes, it’s fun going there to terrorize — you know, get in and out and ruin everything you can. Have a blast, and then go home.

“You know what I mean? That’s kind of what we were talking about before going up to Minnesota.”

The result, of course, was a 23-12 win on Jan. 30. And while Telford and Company didn’t exactly make a mess of Williams Arena, they did spoil the Gophers’ Senior Night, as well as their opportunity to score a win over the top-ranked Iowa wrestling team.

The Hawkeyes will try to ruin two more parties this weekend when they travel to wrestle Big Ten-newbie Maryland today, as well as Penn State, the reigning four-time NCAA champion, on Feb. 8. Telford said the Hawkeyes’ plan is to treat both the Terps and Nittany Lions exactly as they treated Minnesota.

“It’s not our house. So go up there, trash it, and leave it in shambles,” Telford said. “Then go back to our house, where we have nice, clean beds, and go to sleep. That’s exactly the plan.

“You don’t have any responsibilities when you show up to someone else’s party. You just go in there, you have fun, you trash the place, you do what you want, you say what you want, and you get out.”

Iowa, at 11-0 this season with six wins against Big Ten opponents, has made a habit of crashing its opponents’ parties. Of its 11 dual wins this season, four have been on the road, including three over teams ranked among Flowrestling’s top eight.

On Jan. 4, the Hawkeyes escaped St. John Arena in Columbus, Ohio, with an 18-14 win over No. 4 Ohio State. A week later, Iowa traveled south to Stillwater, Oklahoma, and emasculated eighth-ranked Oklahoma State, 30-7.

With each stop — including the team’s trip to the Barn last week — Iowa has been met with an ample number of boos, which is expected for a team that many around college wrestling already love to hate. Gilman said that’s something he and the rest of the guys embrace.

“We love it,” the sophomore said. “We’re the bad guys, and we get to play the bad-guy role when we go on the road. Like Minnesota. Every time we step on the mat, and they say our names, they’re booing us. I like that. It feels good.

“We have missions, and we go out, and we accomplish those missions. And we have to keep doing that.”

Should the Hawkeyes complete their missions this weekend, they will earn a share of the Big Ten regular-season dual title for the seventh time in the last eight years. They can earn that honor outright by winning twice this weekend and beating Michigan in the regular-season finale on Feb. 13 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

But for now, the Black and Gold have their eyes set on Maryland, which is winless in its new conference this season. Perhaps that’s why Iowa coach Tom Brands said the focus is on the Terps, for sure, but he might already have one eye looking toward the showdown in State College, Pennsylvania.

“When you go on the road, you want to put on a show for their fans and flex your muscles on the national scene,” Brands said. “Put it this way: We have a philosophy, and we stick to that philosophy, so give our guys credit for doing the job.

“It’s very satisfying, when you go on the road and have success.”

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