Cassioppi rebounds, caps off Iowa victory with fall
Hawkeyes improve to 3-0 after 36-6 win over Illinois on Sunday
By Tyler Devine
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Iowa heavyweight Tony Cassioppi showed no signs of a hangover from his loss by major decision to top-ranked Gable Steveson of Minnesota last week.
The third-ranked Cassioppi pinned Illinois’ fifth-ranked Luke Luffman 25 seconds into the second period to cap off a 36-6 win for the top-ranked Hawkeyes.
“It was good,” Cassioppi. “I wasn’t expecting to perform anything less than my best today. It doesn’t matter if we had last week off or what happened last week, it doesn’t matter.”
Iowa now has won 21 consecutive Big Ten dual meets and improved to 9-0 against Illinois under head coach Tom Brands.
Cassioppi’s pin was the first of his career against a top-five opponent.
Win or lose, Brands said he and his staff have the utmost confidence in the sophomore Roscoe, Ill., native.
“We don’t worry about what we’ve got with Tony Cassioppi as far as being able to bounce back or how level-headed he is,” Brands said. “Where I’m at with that is we belong with the best in the world. And that’s my opinion and I’m going to need a little help for Tony himself to back that opinion how. So, how’s that?
“I can shoot my mouth off all day long and I’m sure there’s plenty of enemies out there that love it, and they can crow on that. I know what this guy is capable of. We love how he operates, but I know he can get in there with the best in the world. That’s why he made it look easy. It wasn’t easy out there today, but it looked easy.”
Top-ranked 125-pounder Spencer Lee scored his third first-period pin in as many matches this season, and top-ranked Jaydin Eierman pinned Illinois’ No. 13 Dylan Duncan at 141 pounds.
Lee, a two-time national champion, has yet to lose a Big Ten dual in his career.
Austin DeSanto, Kaleb Young and Michael Kemerer all recorded major decisions at 133, 157 and 174 pounds, respectively.
The Hawkeyes have scored bonus points in half of their matches so far this season.
“That’s a tribute to our guys,” Brands said. “I think the philosophy has been there, but wrestling, it’s not easy. What you see looks easy, maybe, but it’s not easy. So, you’ve got to go out there, you’ve got to do things with energy and get yourself ready to go, and you’ve got to be able to come back things that don’t go your way.”
Iowa is set to face No. 11 Ohio State and No. 19 Purdue next Sunday in West Lafayette, Ind.
125 #1 Spencer Lee (IA) pinned #13 Justin Cardani (ILL), 2:27; 6-0
133 #5 Austin DeSanto (IA) major dec. #23 Lucas Byrd (ILL), 18-6; 10-0
141 #1 Jaydin Eierman (IA) pinned #13 Dylan Duncan (ILL), 6:08; 16-0
149 #6 Max Murin (IA) dec. #8 Michael Carr (ILL), 3-1; 19-0
157 #7 Kaleb Young (IA) major dec. Johnny Mologousis (ILL), 13-4; 23-0
165 Luke Odom (ILL) dec. Joe Kelly (IA), 10-6; 23-3
174 #1 Michael Kemerer (IA) major dec. #26 D.J. Shannon (ILL), 10-2; 27-3
184 #11 Zach Braunagel (ILL) dec. #6 Nelson Brands (IA); 3-1 SV1; 27-6
197 #3 Jacob Warner (IA) dec. #24 Matt Wroblewski (ILL), 4-0; 30-6
285 ##3 Tony Cassioppi (IA) pinned #5 Luke Luffman (ILL), 4:30; 36-6
Records: Iowa (3-0, 3-0), Illinois (4-1, 4-1)
Date: Jan. 31, 2021