The seventh-largest dual crowd in NCAA history watched Iowa knock off reigning NCAA champion Penn State last Friday in Iowa City, Iowa. The Hawkeyes (16-1) won six of 10 bouts in front of a frenzied 15,077 inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena, getting a pin from All-American 133-pounder Tony Ramos and a 9-2 victory by All-American heavyweight Bobby Telford in the finale to secure a 22-16 victory.
“When you’re poking holes in people’s tails, there’s going to be other doubters, there’s going to be other teams that are going to try to take a piece out of Penn State,” said Iowa’s Mike Evans, who beat Matt Brown 4-3 in a key bout at 174 pounds. “But Penn State is a good team, and they’re going to bounce back from this. I guarantee it.”
Penn State took its first loss in 20 duals dating to a setback to Minnesota early in the 2011-12 campaign.
“In the grand scheme of things, you’ve got to get ready every week,” Iowa head coach Tom Brands said after the dual. “This was a big one. We highlighted it, they highlighted it, and now you go forward. Sometimes, though, you can maybe smile a little bit, and I’m probably smiling a little bit right now. Not to the point where you’re slapping yourself on the back so much, but more [because] there was some toughness.”
2012 NCAA champion Matt McDonough won an overtime bout at 125 pounds and All-American Derek St. John won a one-point match at 157 to help Iowa to a 16-4 advantage. The Nittany Lions got a technical fall from David Taylor and a major decision from Ed Ruth, winning three of the last five bouts, but the early hole was too deep.
“Carver-Hawkeye is a lot of fun and you have to appreciate that as a coach, a wrestler, or wrestling fan,” Penn State head coach Cael Sanderson said. “We stayed real positive [after the loss]; we have a lot to be positive about.”
Sanderson summed it up after the dual when he said his squad will be tough to beat come March. Duals and tournaments are different animals.
How did PSU respond? On Sunday, the Nittany Lions beat No. 6 Illinois 37-0.
What does this mean for the rankings?
Oklahoma State, ranked No. 2 in the past NWCA Coaches’ Poll, beat the Hawkeyes on Jan. 13 and improved to 13-0 during the weekend with victories against Missouri and Iowa State. Iowa and Oklahoma State are both among the field for the NWCA National Duals which kicks off next weekend, so it is possible the winners of the past two NCAA Championships will be ranked third entering the postseason.
Curley Culp, a two-sport star for Arizona State from 1965-67, will be a part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2013.
An All-American defensive lineman in 1967, Culp, a native of Yuma, Ariz., also won an NCAA title in wrestling as a heavyweight at the 1967 NCAA Championships in Kent, Ohio. Culp pinned Adams State’s Nick Carollo in 51 seconds in the finals and had three pins in the tournament to earn the Gorriaran Trophy, given to the wrester with the most pins in the least amount of time.
As a defensive lineman, Culp played 179 games during 14 NFL seasons and helped the Kansas City Chiefs win Super Bowl IV.
With the addition of Missouri, the Mid-American Conference has a handful of national-title contenders.
In a year filled with plenty of star power, Central Michigan 184-pounder Ben Bennett might be as under the radar as anybody ever ranked No. 2. A senior from Rockford, Mich., Bennett improved to 20-0 this past weekend. He was a three-time Michigan state champion, winning 213 of 216 career bouts, and is a three-time All-American for the Chippewas, having eclipsed 100 career victories. Bennett’s teammate, Jarod Trice, an All-American two seasons ago, is ranked fifth at 285 pounds.
Kent State’s Dustin Kilgore certainly is not under the radar. A senior 197-pounder, Kilgore won the 2011 NCAA title and is 32-0 with 16 pins this season. His win streak is now 51.
Missouri heavyweight Dom Bradley is 27-0 and ranked No. 1 and 125-pounder Alan Waters also is unbeaten and ranked third.
Ten wrestlers from the conference were ranked inside the top 10 at their respective weight classes last week.
Missouri’s Dom Bradley, the top-ranked heavyweight in Division I, did not suit up for the Tigers in a 23-13 loss to Oklahoma State this past Friday. OSU heavyweight Alan Gelogaev, ranked third, and who lost to Bradley earlier this year, pinned Devon Mellon. A day later, Bradley wrestled and beat Oklahoma’s unranked Keldrick Hall. The Oklahoma State-Missouri dual also saw OSU’s Chris Perry, previously unbeaten, take his first loss of the season, a 9-1 setback to Todd Porter. … 174 pounds is the only weight class in Division I which does not have an undefeated wrestler. … Division II No. 1 St. Cloud State moved its dual win streak to 44 with a 39-6 victory against Mary this past Thursday. … Wisconsin-Oshkosh’s Nazar Kulchytskyy, the NCAA Division III champion at 157 pounds in 2012, improved to 32-1 this season with a title at the Pete Willson Invitational in Wheaton, Ill., during the weekend. A junior and native of the Ukraine, Kulchytskyy is 89-3 with 43 pins for his career. … Wartburg beat rival Augsburg this past Thursday, improving to 18-0 this season. The Knights are 37-1 since the start of last season, the lone loss coming last season to DI Wisconsin. … There are plenty of big duals this week with Iowa traveling to Illinois on Friday before playing host to Nebraska on Sunday. Penn State is at Ohio State on Sunday. For the American history aficionados the Washington & Lee Generals face the Gettsyburg Bullets in Gettysburg, Pa., on Saturday in a DIII matchup.