Luke Lofthouse ran off the mat Friday soaking in the euphoria of perhaps his biggest win since he joined the Iowa wrestling team seven years ago.

The senior 197-pounder sprinted off the mat, pumping his arms to the crowd and slapping teammate Montell Marion?s right hand so hard the smack could be heard over the applause from 7,067 inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

It was an unusual outburst for one of the least demonstrative Hawkeyes, but it probably was appropriate given the circumstances surrounding second-ranked Iowa?s 35-6 victory against Indiana.

Iowa assistant coach Terry Brands celebrates as Luke Lofthouse defeats Indiana's Matt Powless in their 197-pound match on Friday. (Matthew Holst/Press-Citizen)

Lofthouse?s 10-5 victory against No. 5 Matt Powless punctuated the 29th consecutive conference dual win for the Hawkeyes (12-0-1, 5-0 Big Ten).

?I think it?s partially because you?re wrestling well,? Lofthouse said of his post-match reaction. ?It?s energy, it?s excitement (for) me, personally, because things are starting to click for me a little bit.?

There?s a lot for Iowa feel good about with four weeks remaining in the regular season, especially after smacking another opponent around so hard that even the Hawkeyes felt it.

?I had to shake it off,? Marion said. ?Lofthouse has got some firepower, I?ll tell you that right now. He?s tough.?

Suddenly, the Hawkeyes are starting to look tough, too. Iowa registered three pins and two major decisions on its way to extending its unbeaten string to 74. The Hawkeyes scored 32 of the 37 takedowns in the dual and racked up a 92-39 advantage in match points in their first outing since their victory Sunday against then-No. 1 Penn State.

?I was concerned at the beginning,? Iowa coach Tom Brands said. ?The locker room talk was one of the more unusual ones I?ve had. I?m not saying they weren?t ready, but there were some things I saw where there were some guys who needed to wake up.?

That was hard to tell when Iowa opened the dual with pins from Matt McDonough and Tony Ramos.

Marion got a standing ovation as he stepped onto the mat for his first home match since returning from a suspension that sidelined him for the first 11 weeks of the season.

?There are a lot of fans in Iowa City for me, and I appreciate every single one of them,? said the third-ranked junior 141-pounder, who posted a 13-5 major decision against Mitchell Richey.

Derek St. John pinned Paul Young at 157, putting the No. 5 Hoosier on his back during a third-period scramble that came after the ninth-ranked Iowa freshman scored a takedown to go up 5-0.

?It was just going to my offense,? St. John said. ?It all happened from creating my action. I got in position, put him on his back and stuck him.?

St. John?s victory started a string of five Iowa wins. Aaron Janssen scored four takedowns in the span of a minute during the third period on his way to a 14-5 major decision at 165 against Ryan LeBlanc.

Lofthouse capped the run of Hawkeye victories with his win against Powless, who entered the match 30-2. The Indiana junior scored the first takedown of the match before Lofthouse took the lead with a takedown with 15 seconds remaining in the first period.

?I started off slow,? Lofthouse said. ?There were opportunities there in the first period for a couple more takedowns, but the pace was high, and I think that?s what helped me toward the end of the match. There was a lot of action going on there in the first period, and even if I wasn?t scoring as many points as I wanted to, you know if you push that first three minutes, the second and third period, the guy is going to have a hard time really being able to wrestle with you.?

Lofthouse led the rest of the way, tacking on a pair of takedowns in the third period.

?That?s how you win matches like that,? Brands said. ?That?s how you?ve got to beat (a highly ranked opponent). You?ve got to get to them and keep getting to them. ? That?s a lesson on a lot of ways. Keep plugging away. Don?t just get the takedown, make it easy and start coasting. Continue to build. That?s good stuff. That?s a good template, a good lesson on how to beat good guys.?

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Tags: Iowa wrestling, Luke Lofthouse, Tom Brands

Category: Wrestling

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