Maybe Tom Brands didn?t preach the gospel of wrestling aggressively to his entire team this past week.
Maybe the talking points inside the Iowa practice room weren?t team-wide sermons about letting loose and creating more scoring opportunities in the wake of a tie at Oklahoma State in a dual devoid of bonus points.
Maybe the message was intended for certain individuals and it filtered down throughout the roster.
?Maybe it was across the board,? Brands said. ?But it?s not like you?re standing in front of the team preaching where I put my tie up, check the mirror and go out and have a sermon to the team.?
No matter how Brands conveyed the directive, the eighth-ranked Hawkeyes applied it Saturday during a 33-3 beating of Ohio State in front of 8,976 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa came one escape away from its first shutout in 25 years against the Buckeyes. The Hawkeyes (9-0-1, 2-0 Big Ten) had to settle for their 34th straight win in the series and their most lopsided win against Ohio State since 1991 when Brands and Tom Ryan wrestled for Iowa.
Ryan?s Buckeyes (2-6, 1-2) entered Carver-Hawkeye Arena as sizeable underdogs. Iowa won the first eight matches, picking up bonus points in four by suffocating Ohio State with persistent offense and relentless riding.
The Hawkeyes held a 27-4 advantage in takedowns for the dual and owned an 85-28 upper hand in match points.
?Coach has been talking to us recently about opportunities and making opportunities,? Iowa sophomore Matt McDonough said. ?The only way you?re going to score is if you make attempts and attempt again and again. I think that?s something I?m trying to do more of and that?s something everyone?s trying to do more of that. We?ve got to keep going until we start to get those huge blowout matches every single match.?
Brands said a bullet point in his talks this week was a simple message: Do what you do best.
?The thing is, the overriding essential in wrestling, doing what you do best is attacking and putting pressure on opponents and scoring points,? he said. ?I don?t know how to do that without across-the-board attacking.?
McDonough may have been the best illustration Saturday, scoring nine points in the first period and building a 15-4 lead before pinning Bo Touris in 4:37 at 125 pounds. But he wasn?t Iowa?s only shining example.
Heavyweight Blake Rasing fired a shot off the opening whistle that set the tone for his highest scoring output of the season. Rasing scored seven points in the second period on his way to a 12-3 major decision against Zach Stolarsky, matching his point total in his previous three bouts combined.
?I just worked hard, kept moving, kept shooting and stayed aggressive through the whole match,? Rasing said. ?I think it started with that shot at the beginning. I think that kick-started me.?
Rasing?s win gave the Hawkeyes a jolt after Grant Gambrall and Luke Lofthouse won decisions to open the dual.
Tony Ramos scored a pair of takedowns in a 5-2 win against No. 16 Ian Paddock at 133. Brothers Mark and Matt Ballweg registered major decision wins at 141 and 149, respectively. Derek St. John rolled to a 9-3 win against Sean Nemec at 157 and classmate Ethen Lofthouse scrambled for a takedown with 17 seconds remaining to beat No. 12 Nick Heflin 3-1 at 174.
Iowa accumulated 17 minutes, six seconds of riding time in victories at 184, 197, heavyweight, 141, 149 and 157.
?We have to be tough like that on our opponent, and it needs to be consistent,? Brands said. ?In a way, we haven?t done it all year. But we have to be bullies in those tough matches. If we can be bullies in those tough matches, then we?ve got a team.?
Ohio State?s only win came at 165 when eight-ranked senior Colt Sponseller scored a takedown with 35 seconds left in regulation to force overtime and won 5-3 with another takedown in sudden victory.
?That was the key match of the night from my point of view,? Brands said. ?When a guy gives full effort I don?t get upset too much, and Janssen gave full effort. But I?m upset because when you give full effort and you need one point and you can bring the house down with one point, that?s something. Find the point.?
Tags: Matt McDonough, Tom Brands