By Tyler Devine
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Carver-Hawkeye Arena has been the setting for numerous matches featuring a college wrestling dynasty.
That was the case again on Friday, although, this time the dynasty was dressed in blue and white.
Penn State, which has won five of the last six NCAA national titles, won seven out of 10 matches during a decisive 26-11 victory over Iowa on Friday in front of a raucous crowd of 14,311 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Third-ranked Iowa fell to 3-1 in the Big Ten and 7-2 overall, dropping its second consecutive match. Penn State, which is ranked second nationally behind Oklahoma State, improved to 4-0 in the confernce and 8-0 overall.
"It was a great crowd," said Iowa coach Tom Brands. "Big crowd. I mean Penn State coming to town. You never know, you get beat down at Oklahoma State you worry that you maybe left some fans at home but the fans showed up. We've got the best fans. We've got the best head table. We just need to get the best wrestling.
"I got beat in the interview room (by Penn State coach Cael Sanderson). I got beat all over tonight. It's on me."
Iowa had a chance heading into the 184-pound match, trailing 12-11 with fifth-ranked senior Sammy Brooks facing Penn State's No. 2 Bo Nickal.
Nickal caught Brooks dragging his trail leg and pinned him in just 38 seconds, putting Penn State up 18-11 and all but assuring them a victory.
Brands thought Brooks made the right decision even though his execution may have been a little off.
"Technically, you can't leave your trail leg behind," Brands said. "You've got to wrestle that angle probably more into the guy and keep your head up. The other thing was I thought he wrestled it, when he was in trouble, I thought he wrestled it pretty smart. You don't move there. You got that there and then you kick you leg back and then when the guy adjusts you kick your leg straight.
"We were just kind of holding and then he adjusted to get a bigger bite and we didn't kick our leg. When the guy moves that's when I kick. It's like cradles. You don't move on a cradle, you break the grip. It doesn't matter how much time is left you don't try to roll and break those grips. You've got to break that grip and when you're breaking that grip you adjust and that's the way I break the grip.
"Brooks went to the leg and he went to the leg hard and I don't fault him for that. We just can't leave the trail leg behind."
Iowa's three victories came at 125, 133 and 174 pounds.
Top-ranked senior Thomas Gilman edged third-ranked Nick Suriano 3-2 at 125 pounds, improving to 18-0 on the season.
Third-ranked senior Cory Clark won by a technical fall at 133 pounds, while senior Alex Meyer defeated Mark Hall 7-5 at 174 pounds.
Brands doesn't necessarily believe in moral victories, but he used 149-pound junior Brandon Sorensen's gut-wrenching 9-8 double-tiebreaker loss to top-ranked Zain Retherford as an example of positives he saw from his team.
The challenge now is to turn those positives into victories.
"You talk about moral victories with Sorensen he showed he can escape and he showed that he can take Zain Retherford down," Brands said. "He's not about moral victories. I saw him up there at the break and I liked what I saw. There was a guy up there that wasn't about a moral victory. Now, that doesn't mean anything except for that we're moving forward the right way, the way that I like to see. He did show some things that if you're looking for progress there's some progress there, but slam the door on the guy. And if you want me to get detailed, you want me to get detailed? We take the guy down to go ahead and this is a competitor we're wrestling now, remember that. And escapes right back in on us and takes us down. And we were doing some things better than we were before, we weren't letting him get underneath us so much.
"You give yourself a chance but guess what, now you've got to ride him longer, or better yet, take him down again. We were reacting a little bit and even (senior 125-pounder Thomas) Gilman a little bit was overreacting. You see that at Oklahoma State with maybe Sorensen too where they looked at some film on Sorensen and maybe he overreacts a little bit."
Sorensen and Retherford were exhausted when their battle ended. Both wrestlers were pushed to the limit.
"At the end of that match both guys were like two punch-drunk boxers and it's just a matter of going again and making it happen," Brands said. "I mean, you're going to feel like that but you just can't feel like that when you feel like that."
<iframe width="640" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EXFjKb2ufF4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
<iframe width="640" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/O_Ij68GA2DE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
<iframe width="640" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/q0wdJtPlQeg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
<iframe width="640" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/v8uZZy_T95k" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
<iframe width="640" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/h6DQuPC_4wk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
<iframe width="640" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tZBcvQduhSI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
<iframe width="640" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/f_2nDQbz7pw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>