Although it didn’t seem like it at the time, the top-ranked Penn State wrestling team might have done the Iowa Hawkeyes a favor on Dec. 21.
That was the day Penn State dismantled Iowa 24-12 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in a dual that wasn’t as competitive as the score might indicate.
Iowa has been virtually unstoppable since then and will try to continue its dominance against Indiana on Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Since losing to Penn State, Iowa has set a record for points at the Midlands Championships where they crowned three individual champions, crushed Purdue 30-3, blanked Michigan State 41-0 and thumped fifth-ranked Oklahoma State 24-6 Friday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa is now being the aggressor after looking passive and timid against Penn State.
“For this team to go forward, we have to keep hammering home the things we have to do to create separation,” Iowa coach Tom Brands said after Friday’s victory over Oklahoma State. “Really, what it boils down to is scoring points. Specifically … it’s being aggressive in positions, being confident to take risk and just letting it fly.”
A key development for Iowa since the loss to Penn State has been the emergence of sophomore Brody Grothus at 149 pounds. He defeated Oklahoma State’s fifth-ranked Josh Kindig 9-5 on Friday. It was Grothus’ third victory in 12 days against a top-five opponent.
Grothus said he takes it personally that Iowa has struggled at his weight class. The Hawkeyes haven’t had a wrestler at 149 pounds in each of the past three NCAA Championships.
“I’m taking it personally,” said Grothus, who scored 18 seconds into the match and took control of the bout in the second period by reversing Kindig to his back for five points. “I don’t like watching my weight (fail to) perform up to the expectations of this university. In order to be the guy at this school, you need to be a contender — and not just a contender, you need to be the guy on top.”
HawkCentral reporter Andy Hamilton contributed to this report.