Iowa win at Penn State clinches share of Big Ten title
It might not qualify as the type of party-crashing, house-trashing appearance that reinforces their status as the biggest bullies on the NCAA blocks.
But the Iowa wrestlers escaped hostile territory Sunday without getting bloodied in the process.
With six victories via decision, including Bobby Telford's dual-clinching win at heavyweight, the top-ranked Hawkeyes held off No. 5 Penn State 18-12 in front of 15,967 — the second-largest dual crowd in NCAA history — at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Iowa (13-0, 8-0 Big Ten) locked up a share of the Big Ten dual title for the seventh time in eight years when Telford downed Jimmy Lawson 3-0 in the final bout of a drama-packed meet.
Four matches teetered in the final seconds. The Nittany Lions (10-3, 6-3) tipped two in their favor with late takedowns at 133 and 165 and the Hawkeyes fended off shots as time expired to win at 125 and 149.
"Am I happy?" Iowa coach Tom Brands said afterward in response to a question about his team's performance as a whole. "I tell you what, you've got to give some credit to us. But that's more of a private question between me and my team."
The Hawkeyes had big plans coming into the day. They were favored in the Amateur Wrestling News rankings at nine weights and Telford talked about crashing Penn State's standing-room-only party.
"You just go in there, have fun, trash the place, do what you want, say what you want and get out," he said earlier in the week.
The Hawkeyes, though, found themselves in a last-minute battle at nearly every weight.
Thomas Gilman built a 3-0 lead, in addition to more than two minutes of riding time, but had to hold on for a 6-5 win at 125 after Jordan Conaway scored two third-period takedowns.
Penn State evened the dual score up at 133 when Jimmy Gulibon bear-hugged Cory Clark to his back for four points in the last 10 seconds of an 8-5 decision.
"I give them credit there," Brands said. "But the poor sport side of me says we gave the guy six points (with a takedown) at the end of the second period and the end of the third and we didn't come off the bottom at the end of the second. That's a seven-point swing in my mind."
Josh Dziewa (141), Brandon Sorensen (149) and Mike Kelly (157) reeled off three consecutive wins for the Hawkeyes to put Iowa ahead 12-3 at intermission. The Nittany Lions tightened the score when Garett Hammond upset ninth-ranked Nick Moore 4-2 with a takedown with six seconds remaining at 165 and third-ranked Matt Brown rode out No. 2 Mike Evans in the third period to win a 2-0 decision at 174.
Sammy Brooks stemmed the tide for the Hawkeyes. Iowa's seventh-ranked 184-pounder poured it on in the third period against Matt McCutcheon, scoring a takedown, three near-fall points and tacking on a riding-time point to win 7-1.
Penn State counterpunched at 197. Morgan McIntosh blew open a battle of All-Americans with a reversal and two backpoints in the second period on his way to a 7-1 win against Nathan Burak.
"A lot of guys seemed like they were dull," Telford said. "We need to get out some sharpening knives and get ready to gut some people."
Iowa 18, Penn State 12
125: Gilman (IA) dec. Conaway, 6-5; 133: Gulibon (PSU) dec. Clark, 8-5; 141: Dziewa (IA) dec. Moss, 9-4; 149: Sorensen (IA) dec. Beitz, 6-4; 157: Kell (IA) dec. Frey, 7-4; 165: Hammond (PSU) dec. Moore, 4-2; 174: Brown (PSU) dec. Evans, 2-0; 184: Brooks (IA) dec. McCutcheon, 7-1; 197: McIntosh (PSU) dec. Burak, 7-1; 285: Telford (IA) dec. Lawson, 3-0