Photos from the match between James Green of Nebraska and Derek St. John of Iowa at 157 pounds by Darren Miller, the University of Iowa.
Iowa claims fifth straight dual in 22-9 win over Nebraska, but Green tops St. John in battle of unbeatens
Story by Connor Stange, Special to TheMat.com
LINCOLN, Neb. – The University of Iowa jumped out to a 10-0 lead after three matches and never looked back as the Hawkeyes won seven bouts in a 22-9 triumph over Nebraska at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Saturday evening.
The Hawkeyes improve to 11-1 on the season as the victory marks their fifth consecutive dual win following a 24-12 loss to Penn State on Dec. 21. The Huskers suffer their first loss of the season after an 8-0 start. Despite Iowa’s victory, however, Head Coach Tom Brands was not completely satisfied.
"I feel like we left some points off the board,” Brands said. “We have to continue to move forward."
Some of those points came at 157 pounds, where undefeated returning national champion Derek St. John of Iowa faced unbeaten James Green of Nebraska. These athletes are developing a fierce rivalry, and this match lived up to its billing.
Green struck first with a takedown as time was winding down in the opening period to send the Husker crowd into a frenzy. St. John started the second period in the down position and earned an escape, but Green managed a second takedown and took a 4-2 lead into the final period.
Green chose down and escaped to extend his lead to 5-2 before he earned another takedown on Iowa’s three-time All-American. Green added an additional takedown in the third period and held on for a 9-7 win over the top-ranked wrestler in the nation. Green has defeated St. John on back-to-back appearances after taking down the Hawkeye at last year’s Big Ten Championships.
"I could see him two more times,” Green said. “It’s the same game plan. I'm gonna build off that and I'm looking at going to March undefeated and going through the Big Ten undefeated and winning a national title."
The Hawkeyes rule the dual right from the start. At 125 pounds, Iowa’s Thomas Gilman battled Nebraska’s Tim Lambert in a top-10 showdown. Following a scoreless first period, Gilman earned an escape in the second period to take a 1-0 lead into the final stanza. Lambert chose down to start the third and earned an escape, but Gilman was awarded a point for riding time en route to a 2-1 victory.
Gilman, a redshirt freshman, improved to 15-2 on the season and handed the limelight to senior Tony Ramos in the 133-pound match. Ramos, facing Husker senior Shawn Nagel, earned two takedowns in the first period and never looked back in a 15-4 major decision. The Hawkeye notched three additional takedowns while not surrendering any to Nagel and moves to 18-2 on the season.
Iowa continued to roll at 141 pounds as Josh Dziewa managed a 9-2 decision over Nebraska freshman Colton McCrystal. Dziewa, a junior, earned a takedown in the first period and tacked on another in the second before a near fall to take a 7-0 lead into the third period. Both wrestlers started in neutral and McCrystal, an Iowa native, earned a takedown, but Dziewa managed an escape and an additional point for riding time.
Nebraska won its first match of the night in front of its home crowd of 3,946 fans at 149 pounds as junior Jake Sueflohn won a 5-2 decision over Brody Grothus. Sueflohn managed two takedowns in the bout and started Nebraska’s attempt at a comeback as the Huskers won two of the next three matches. Iowa’s Brands said it was the start of his concerns for the Hawkeyes.
Iowa held a 10-6 lead into the halfway point and won four of five matches the rest of the way starting at 165 pounds. The Hawkeyes’ Nick Moore led from start to finish in an 8-2 decision over Nebraska’s Austin Wilson coming out of the locker room. Moore, a junior, moves to 14-2 on the season.
Nebraska struck back in the next match at 174, however, as Robert Kokesh controlled Iowa’s Mike Evans in a 7-3 decision. Kokesh, a junior, managed three takedowns in the match and improves to 24-1 on the season with his lone loss coming to top-ranked Andrew Howe of Oklahoma.
"The big three matches, 149, 157 and 174 (were my main concern),” Brands said. “The whole country is talking about it. Well… if you are around both of these schools. We were 0-3 in those matches. We won seven matches. I did not feel like we won seven matches. We left two major decisions off the board. We have to keep moving forward."
Nebraska, trailing by a 13-9 margin, hoped for a rally in front of its fans when redshirt freshman TJ Dudley took the mat at 184 pounds. Facing Iowa’s Sammy Brooks, Dudley struck first with a takedown in the opening stanza to build a 2-0 lead. Brooks responded with an escape in the first period an added another one in the second after choosing down. The pair battled to a 4-4 tie after the third period and headed to sudden victory. Brooks took down Dudley and paved the way for Nathan Burak (197) and Bobby Telford to cap the Hawkeye victory.
Burak and Nebraska’s Caleb Kolb battled to a scoreless first period before Burak earned an escape and takedown in the second period. Kolb managed a third-period escape but it wasn’t enough in a 3-1 decision that defused a potential Husker rally.
Nebraska Head Coach Mark Manning mentioned the match as one of the close bouts that his team could have used down the stretch.
“You know, 197 was really close,” Manning said. “Obviously you have to continue to battle back. Our guys gained a lot of experience last year wrestling (at Iowa) in front 10,000 fans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Mentally they were better with wrestling (Iowa). That is progress. But we have a long way to go. We have to get more guys that are pushing the pace of what we want to do. Good things will happen."
At heavyweight, Telford earned a second-period escape and added a point for riding time to notch a 2-0 decision over Collin Jensen of Nebraska in the final match. Telford, a junior, improves to 15-1 on the season.
IOWA 22, NEBRASKA 9
125 – Thomas Gilman (Iowa) won by decision over Tim Lambert (Nebraska) 2-1
133 – Tony Ramos (Iowa) won by major decision over Shawn Nagel (Nebraska) 15-4
141 – Josh Dziewa (Iowa) won by decision over Colton McCrystal (Nebraska) 9-2
149 – Jake Sueflohn (Nebraska) won by decision over Brody Grothus (Iowa) 5-2
157 – James Green (Nebraska) won by decision over Derek St. John (Iowa) 9-7
165 – Nick Moore (Iowa) won by decision over Austin Wilson (Nebraska) 8-2
174 – Robert Kokesh (Nebraska) won by decision over Mike Evans (Iowa) 7-3
184 – Sammy Brooks (Iowa) won by sudden victory over TJ Dudley (Nebraska) 6-4
197 – Nathan Burak (Iowa) won by decision over Caleb Kolb (Nebraska) 3-1
HWT – Bobby Telford (Iowa) won by decision over Collin Jensen (Nebraska) 2-0
Iowa vs. Nebraska Photo Gallery by Darren Miller