Last of B1G Unbeatens Collide
Jan. 30, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- When the third-ranked University of Iowa wrestling team hosts No. 1 Penn State on Friday, the head Hawkeye, Tom Brands, wants his team to make statements, be exclamation marks, and become the answer to the question.
"Let's do a good job of fighting and then we will let the results lay where they lay," Brands said Tuesday at a news conference in the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex. "But we can't have situations where you're not fighting. Who is going to win this weight class? We want to be the answer to that."
Iowa leads the all-time series against the Nittany Lions 25-7-2, including a 29-6 dual victory on Jan. 29, 2010, the last time the teams met in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The past two seasons the team competed in State College, Pa., with Iowa winning 22-13 in 2011 and the Nittany Lions winning 22-12 in 2012. Penn State has won the last two Big Ten and NCAA championships.
The Hawkeyes are 15-1 overall, 5-0 in the Big Ten. Penn State is 8-0, 5-0.
"Yep, this is a big one," Brands said. "We always talk about the next event on the calendar. This is the one you probably have highlighted and you point toward, but last week was, too."
The reference to "last week" is a 16-15 win on Jan. 26 at Minnesota, the Hawkeyes' fourth consecutive dual away from home.
"Competing in Carver-Hawkeye Arena is that much more of a call to action to put on a show," UI senior 125-pounder Matt McDonough said. "When it comes down to it, it's you against one other guy, mano-a-mano. It doesn't matter where it is or what time of year it is, it's a battle and you have to go out there with an iron will."
In McDonough's case, that one other guy on the mat will be Penn State sophomore Nico Megaludis. It is a rematch of the 2012 NCAA championship bout at 125, won by McDonough, 4-1. McDonough also defeated Megaludis in the dual a year ago, 3-1 in overtime.
"I'm going out there and I'm trying everything I can to get that dual started off on the right note," McDonough said. "That's with high pace, that's with a lot of scoring, and some stingy wrestling."
Speaking about the entire Hawkeye lineup, McDonough said the dual against Penn State is a chance to "show everyone what you're made of."
"It's No. 1 versus whatever we are," McDonough said. "Doesn't matter though. It's a chance to wrestle the best team in the country."
McDonough and junior Derek St. John (157) are defending NCAA finalists for the Hawkeyes; Penn State counters with 2012 finalists Megaludis, junior David Taylor (165 champion), junior Ed Ruth (174 champion, now at 184) and senior Quentin Wright (197 runner-up).
"It's like building," Brands said. "It's easier to build and make this meaningful with a win and some success last week (at Minnesota). It's about getting to the next step with some success. I like our guys and I like the way we are coming along. The No. 1 thing is fight. It takes a lot of work and a lot of energy to wrestle that way and to get that result."
The dual Friday will be broadcast live by BTN, beginning at 8:04 p.m. (CT). Fans are encouraged to wear black for the annual "Blackout," and the first 4,000 fans through the doors will receive a free 2013 Iowa Wrestling calendar. Fewer than 1,700 tickets remain, so those who historically purchase tickets at the door are encouraged to buy in advance by calling 800-IA-HAWKS or visiting hawkeyesports.com