Lofthouse leads Iowa past Illinois
Sophomore hands Blanton first loss in past 11 matches
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The first of three bouts between nationally ranked wrestlers from the University of Iowa and Illinois on Friday on Mediacom Mat inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena was at 174 pounds.
Although technically the match went the full seven minutes, to victorious Hawkeye sophomore Ethen Lofthouse, his 6-1 upset of No. 3 Jordan Blanton lasted about 5:40.
"I felt him look up at the score clock with about 1:20 left and he was done," said Lofthouse, who is rated No. 6. "There was nothing left in him."
Lofthouse used two takedowns, an escape and 2 minutes 41 seconds of riding time to hand Blanton his first loss in 11 matches. Lofthouse improves to 8-1.
"It was a good win," Lofthouse said. "There are still a lot of things to work on. I got the legs twice and I scored both times; there was no reason to take more attempts."
Lofthouse avoided some early takedown attempts by Blanton during the first three minutes. After a scoreless first period, Lofthouse took down and escaped in three seconds. He earned his first takedown with 57 seconds left in the period to lead 3-0 heading into the final two minutes.
"I expected to win," Lofthouse said. "I knew he was a good opponent. I just got ready like I do every other match and I came out and scored points."
Three more to be exact in the final two minutes.
UI head coach Tom Brands graded his team's effort a D-minus and he wasn't giving an easy A to Lofthouse for his performance, either.
"If I can nitpick, I'll look at Ethen Lofthouse and say you can't let guys in on your legs," Brands said. "I think he dodged two bullets. [Illinois] is going to tell their guy if you finish here, it's a different match."
The teams split the other two matchups that featured two rated wrestlers. Illinois freshman Jesse Delgado (rated ninth) overcame a 6-2 deficit to upset top-rated Matt McDonough, 11-7 in overtime, at 125; No. 3 Tony Ramos from Iowa dominated No. 2 B.J.Futrell, 13-5, at 133.
Iowa won the dual, 20-13, and is now unbeaten in 81 consecutive dual meets.