Monday, January 21, 2008
HAWKS PUT ON A SHOW
No. 1 Iowa overpowers seventh-ranked Penn State
By Andy Hamilton
Iowa City Press-Citizen
Iowa's Phil Keddy works to flatten Penn State's Phillip Bomberger during the 184-pound match Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Press-Citizen / Hannah van Zutphen-Kann
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? Photo gallery: of Iowa vs. Penn State Wrestling
The line stretched around Carver-Hawkeye Arena's north concourse where hundreds of autograph seekers gathered Sunday afternoon, some waiting more than an hour to meet the victorious Iowa wrestlers.
Most of those in line were too young to remember the days when the Hawkeyes regularly racked up points against opponents who couldn't match their breakneck pace, or the times when Iowa frequently won close matches with late takedowns.
The top-ranked Hawkeyes reconnected with their glory years Sunday, winning seven matches and introducing a young generation of fans to old-school Iowa wrestling during a 27-13 victory against No. 7 Penn State in front of 7,525.
"We put on a show," Iowa coach Tom Brands said. "I think our fans are starting to develop some guys they really look forward to seeing wrestle, and that's what this (coaching) staff, from our perspective, has liked all along with these guys."
Brent Metcalf pinned sixth-ranked Bubba Jenkins at 149, Phil Keddy notched a technical fall at 184 and Dan LeClere scored a late takedown to beat highly touted freshman Garrett Scott at 141, highlighting the afternoon for the Hawkeyes. Iowa also got a major decision from Joey Slaton at 133 and wins from Jay Borschel (174), Matt Fields (heavyweight) and Charlie Falck (125).
"We can't really take too much out of this," Metcalf said. "We were just doing our job."
The Hawkeyes (13-1, 2-0 Big Ten) held a 24-11 advantage in takedowns and an 11-6 upperhand in near-fall points. Metcalf and Keddy were most responsible for Iowa's edge in both categories.
Metcalf spotted Jenkins a 6-1 lead, giving up two takedowns and a two-point near-fall in the first two minutes before a furious rally. The third-ranked Iowa sophomore scored 16 points in the second period, turning an 8-5 deficit into a 21-12 advantage. Metcalf increased the lead to 23-13 early in the third period before whipping Jenkins to his back for the fall.
"I really just enjoy pounding a guy, breaking him and making him quit," Metcalf said. "Then I enjoy having the fans love it. I enjoy putting on a show for people."
Brands appreciated the display.
"He's physical, he's strong, he hustles; guys have to raise their level just to keep up with him," Brands said. "Even that first takedown he gave up, that was hard on (Jenkins) because that's a lot of energy (expended. Metcalf is) heavy. When you get in on him, he's heavy on your head, he's heavy on your lock. Very rarely are you going to hit a shot and boom, boom, put him down. If you do, he's popping back up."
Eighth-ranked Keddy set a similar pace for the Hawkeyes early in the dual. He gave up the first takedown of the meet's second match before scoring 16-straight points on his way to a 19-3 win against No. 15 Phillip Bomberger.
"I was disappointed giving up that first takedown just because I felt like it was kind of a dumb mistake I made," Keddy said. "(I wanted to) come back and prove to him that he got a lucky one and he's going to have to work his (butt) off if he wants anything else in the match."
Keddy bear-hugged Bomberger to his back for five points early in the second period and cranked him over with an arm bar for three more points, nearly getting a fall at the end of the period.
"Metcalf and Keddy together are probably selling 2,000 tickets by themselves," Brands said. "We've got 7,500 fans announced. We average 6,000, so where did those extra 1,500 come from? Well, Penn State's No. 1 at one time, and Metcalf and Keddy and Falck, if he's on, (are fun to watch)."
LeClere's fan base probably increased Sunday, too. The No. 10 sophomore scored a takedown with 23 seconds remaining and rode Scott the rest of the way to win a 4-3 decision. The Penn State freshman, who has been competing with fifth-ranked Jake Strayer for the starting job, rode LeClere for most of the second period after scoring the tying takedown and then escaped in the third to take a 3-2 lead.
"The match never really should've been in question," LeClere said. "I had him on my feet, I just relaxed for a few seconds, snapped him, didn't move my feet and snapped him right into my legs. But I came out with a win and that's all that matters."
Slaton used six takedowns on his way to a 14-6 win against Tim Haas at 133. Borschel piled up four takedowns in an 11-5 win against Mark Friend. Fields had a pair of takedowns in a 7-3 victory against No. 15 John Laboranti. Third-ranked Falck rode out No. 8 Mark McKnight in the third period for a 2-0 win at 125.
Penn State picked up victories from Phil Davis, Dan Vallimont and Dave Rella. Second-ranked Davis pinned Chad Beatty at 197, No. 4 Vallimont won a 6-2 decision at 157 against Ryan Morningstar and Rella won an 11-3 major decision at 165 against Iowa freshman Aaron Janssen, who filled in for top-ranked Mark Perry Jr.
Perry sat out for the third straight dual after re-aggravating a knee injury at last weekend's National Duals. Brands said Perry was "ready to go" Sunday.
"He would've run out there if the dual was on the line," Brands said. "He didn't necessarily tell me that, but I just know how he is."
IOWA 27, PENN STATE 13
174 -- Jay Borschel (I) dec. Mark Friend 11-5.
184 -- Phil Keddy (I) tech. fall Phillip Bomberger 19-3 in 6:35.
197 -- Phil Davis (P) pinned Chad Beatty 4:57.
Hwt. -- Matt Fields (I) dec. John Laboranti 7-3.
125 -- Charlie Falck (I) dec. Mark McKnight 2-0.
133 -- Joey Slaton (I) major dec. Tim Haas 14-6.
141 -- Dan LeClere (I) dec. Garrett Scott 4-3.
149 -- Brent Metcalf (I) pinned Bubba Jenkins 5:33.
157 -- Dan Vallimont (P) dec. Ryan Morningstar 6-2.
165 -- Dave Rella (P) major dec. Aaron Janssen 11-3.
Reach Andy Hamilton at 339-7368 or firstname.lastname@example.org.