The numbers don’t lie.
In this matchup between the No. 1 and No. 6 ranked college wrestling teams in the country, the difference was slightly more than five.
Top-ranked Iowa won eight of the 10 bouts, scored 26 takedowns — to Nebraska’s five — and 90 match points en route to a 31-6 rout of the Cornhuskers on Friday night at a mostly empty Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
It was a dominant opening to this shortened 2021 season, but Iowa Coach Tom Brands said it could have been better.
“They responded well to the long, long lay off,” he said. “But we can get better ... we’ve got to keep getting better.”
The defending Big Ten champion Hawkeyes won the first six bouts, getting a pin from two-time national champion Spencer Lee at 125 pounds and a 21-6 technical fall from Austin DeSanto at 133. Lee needed just 1 minute and 21 seconds to finish Liam Cronin and DeSanto scored eight takedowns and four nearfall points, finishing Edwin Thomsen in 4:57.
Jaydin Eierman, a three-time All-American at Missouri, made his Hawkeye debut at 141 and scored a pair of takedowns in an 8-4 win over seventh-ranked Chad Red.
“It was just amazing to get out there and do what I had to do,” Eierman said of his first match in an Iowa singlet. “I could have been more dominant ... it’s just going to get better from here.”
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Nebraska’s first win came at the expense of another debut. True freshman Patrick Kennedy, a four-time Minnesota state champion, took the mat in place of All-American Michael Kemerer at 174 and lost to fourth-ranked Mikey Labriola, 7-4. It was a loss, but a solid performance.
“To be really game, you’ve got to finish,” Brands said of Kennedy, who was in a couple of shots.
Kemerer wanted to wrestle, Brands said, but the coach and “the medical team” made the call to sit this dual out.
“He’ll be in the lineup Friday night” at Minnesota, Brands said.
The Hawkeyes also got wins from Max Murin, who has moved up to 149 to make room for Eierman, Kaleb Young at 157, Alex Marinelli at 165, Nelson Brands at 184 and Tony Cassioppi at heavyweight.
“We were sharp, really sharp in some weights,” Tom Brands said.
Young was impressive in his 17-5 victory over Caleb Licking, scoring four takedowns and a couple of nifty reversals. But it was Nelson Brands who really impressed, looking bigger, stronger and better than during his limited freshman campaign.
Abe Assad won the starting spot last year and placed fourth in the Big Ten Championships.
Brands scored five takedowns last night in a dominating, 13-5, win over sixth-ranked Taylor Venz. The score was 6-3 going into the third period.
“I just enjoy wrestling,” Nelson Brands said, keeping his answers short to all questions. “I was just enjoying wrestling.
“I’m looking forward to keep enjoying wrestling.”
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IOWA 31, NEBRASKA 6
(Takedowns in parentheses)
125 pounds — Spencer Lee (I) pinned Liam Cronin, 1:21 (1,0); 133 — Austin DeSanto (I) tech. all over Edwin Thomsen, 21-6, 4:57 (8,0); 141 — Jaydin Eierman (I) dec. Chad Red, 8-4 (2,1); 149 — Max Murin (I) dec. Brock Hardy, 6-2 (2,0); 157 — Kaleb Young (I) dec. Caleb Licking, 17-5 (4,0); 165 — Alex Marinelli (I) dec. Peyton Red, 9-3 (3,0); 174 — Mikey Labriola (N) dec. Patrick Kennedy, 7-4 (3,0); 184 — Nelson Brands (I) dec. Taylor Venz, 13-5 (5,0); 197 — Eric Schultz (N) dec. Jacob Warner, 3-2; Hwt. — Tony Cassioppi (I) dec. Christian Lance, 4-0 (1,0)
Takedowns — Iowa 26, Nebraska 5; Escapes — Iowa 12, Nebraska 25; Reversals — Iowa 3, Nebraska 0; Nearfall points — Iowa 14, Nebraska 0; Penalty points awarded — Iowa 1, Nebraska 0; Riding time points — Iowa 5, Nebraska 0; Total match points — Iowa 90, Nebraska 35
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