It was not a fun weekend for the Iowa wrestling team.
The Hawkeyes lost 21-9 at Ohio State on Friday, and 22-12 at Penn State on Sunday.
Iowa (9-3, 4-2) fell from No. 2 to No. 6 in the national rankings. The Hawkeyes host No. 3 Minnesota (8-2, 5-0) on Sunday.
“You’ve got to be woken up by something like that,” junior Matt McDonough said. “That’s a ‘Hey, what’s going on here?’
“We’ve got to get it figured out and improve our wrestling.”
Iowa coach Tom Brands, dealing with back-to-back dual losses for the first time since taking over in 2006, said it wasn’t time to panic.
“I’m not a from the hip guy,” Brands said. “From the hip, gets you in trouble. We continually evolve, and you have to have that mindset.
“You’re looking inside a program that hasn’t been in this position for a long time, so maybe there needs to be a little bit more of the curve skewed. And we’re working on it, we’re working on it.”
Brands still was a little irritated two days after Iowa jumped out to a 12-0 lead on the Nittany Lions and then lost seven straight matches.
“I know one thing, your heads not right when you are losing seven bouts in a match,” Brands said. “You’re head isn’t right when your teammates are going down like flies in front of you and you don’t do ANYTHING to stop it.
“It’s going down, boom, boom, boom, now it’s my turn on the mat, what am I going to do? You have to turn that emotion.”
Brands didn’t indicate any big lineup shifts are coming. Derek St. John continues to be a question mark at 157 after re-aggravating his injury Friday in a 7-3 loss to Josh Demas.
“There was a setback,” Brands said. “You saw he finished the match. We’re back on track and moving forward.”
Uranked senior Blake Rasing split a pair of matches at heavyweight over the weekend. Redshirt freshman Bobby Telford, ranked 10th, had been on a four-match losing streak.
Brands said that spot would remain fluid. Rasing is 3-0 in three career matches against Minnesota heavyweight Tony Nelson, ranked No. 4.
Junior Grant Gambrall did offer that he was trying to cut from 197 to 184. When asked if that was an option, Gambrall said “definitely.”
“I think that if I’m wrestling to the best of my ability, the weight doesn’t make that big of difference,” Gambrall said. “That being said, ‘84 is probably more of my natural weight class.”
Gambrall placed third at the NCAA Championships at 184 last season, was 25-8 overall, and had a 7-1 record in Big Ten duals.
This season Gambrall, who started the season late after working back from a concussion, is just 1-3 in Big Ten matches at 197 and 7-6 overall.
Brands said “right now” Gambrall was a 197-pounder.
“It’s not weight when you’re out front riding a guy and he grabs your leg and you give up a reversal with 12 seconds to go,” Brands said. “That’s positioning and head smarts.”
Gambrall, a fourth-year junior, had not experienced a dual loss as a Hawkeye. Now Iowa has had three in two weeks.
“Its probably something that’s going to be hard to put behind us,” Gambrall said. “Obviously there’s a lot of work to do.
“There’s only two months left in the season, we don’t have a lot of time to dwell on this. We have to get better in a hurry.”