IOWA CITY, Ia. – The booing began during pre-meet introductions — the first sign emotions were bubbling a whole lot hotter than usual inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The tempers kept flaring Friday night until Iowa coach Tom Brands pounded the table in front of him before bolting from his post-meet news conference with smoke coming from his ears.
And he coached the winning team.
Fifth-ranked Iowa claimed victories in seven matches to handle No. 4 Ohio State 22-9 in front of a boisterous crowd of 8,687 that was perturbed from the start when the Buckeyes trotted out an overmatched freshman in place of injured NCAA champion Logan Stieber and the marquee match never materialized.
By the end of the night, both head coaches were bent out of shape, too.
“This guy’s not happy, and we’re not putting up with it,” Brands said. “I’m waiting for a team to emerge, and I don’t have a team right now. Don’t get hard on them, get hard on me because you cannot have a team go out there and wrestle like that and take it off me and always on them. My goodness, when something happens over and over and over again, look right here.”
While Brands fumed, the Buckeyes gathered their belongings and shot out of the arena before Iowa’s interviews ended. The Hawkeyes (11-0) held a 78-49 advantage in match points, scored 24 of the 33 takedowns in the dual and the Buckeyes (6-1) were warned for stalling eight times to Iowa’s one.
“It looked like the whole aura got to us,” Ohio State coach Tom Ryan said when contacted by phone afterward. “It looked like we were overwhelmed. There were too many stalling calls, too much backing up. That’s not Ohio State wrestling, that’s not what we preach.”
The Hawkeyes won five straight matches, highlighted by victories by Mike Evans and Nathan Burak, to put the dual away after the two teams split the first four bouts.
Seventh-ranked Evans toppled No. 2 Nick Heflin 9-4 in overtime, launching the Ohio State all-American to his back for five points with a bodylock throw that came seconds after Iowa assistant Kurt Backes cautioned the sophomore in the upperbody position.
“I did catch eyes with him,” Evans said. “You don’t want to be in those positions because it’s 50-50. It’s a coin flip every time you’re in those over-unders.
“The first time we got in that position he won the coin flip and I shouldn’t have been in there. The second time I was a little more cautious, got my hips down more and maybe it was 70-30 (in my favor).”
The Evans takedown sparked a roar from a crowd that came looking for a showdown between the Stieber and Iowa junior Tony Ramos, the nation’s top two 133-pounders.
Ramos had been waiting nearly 10 months for another shot at the Ohio State sophomore, who handed him three of his four losses last season, including defeats in the Big Ten finals and NCAA semifinals.
Ryan said Stieber suffered an injury Dec. 21 and the Buckeyes put freshman Kyle Visconti in his place.
“We just couldn’t put (Stieber) in,” Ryan said. “I can’t really say what it is, it’s just an injury that’s very delicate.”
Ramos spent 5 minutes, 20 seconds running a takedown drill during a 30-14 match termination victory. He scored takedowns so fast in furiously he left himself out of position once, allowing the Buckeyes freshman to score one of his own.
In the end, Ramos scored when he was trying not to score, registering his 14th takedown when Visconti went into a shell as the second-ranked Hawkeye looked for an opening to launch the freshman to his back.
The Buckeyes seized victories at 141 and 149, where all-Americans Hunter Stieber and Cam Tessari held off Mark Ballweg and Michael Kelly, respectively.
Iowa reeled off five consecutive wins to put the dual away, punctuated by true freshman Burak’s 3-2 victory against No. 9 Andrew Campolattano at 197.
Brands, though, saw too many instances where his team waded into
unfamiliar territory and not enough hustle and awareness. He said it cost the Hawkeyes the three matches that stood
between them and a shutout.
“Those are two things (hustle and awareness) that are big,” Brands said. “You can add 18 other things underneath those two things. We are good. These guys are good. We can be good, but we weren’t good tonight. We weren’t good and we won seven matches.”
IOWA 22, OHIO STATE 9
At Iowa City
125 pounds: McDonough dec. Triggas, 10-5; 133: Ramos won by technical fall over Visconti, 30-14; 141: Stieber (O) dec. Ballweg, 6-4; 149: Tessari (O) dec. Kelly, 8-7; 157: St. John dec. Demas, 4-2; 165: Moore dec. Martin, 4-2; 174: Evans dec. Heflin, 9-4 (SV1); 184: Lofthouse dec. Courts, 5-3; 197: Burak dec. Campolattano, 3-2; hwt: Capone dec. Telford, 3-2 (TB1).