Johnson capitalizes on an opportunity

Feb. 13, 2009

Iowa-Purdue Photo Gallery

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Jordan Johnson was in search of his first collegiate dual victory Friday against Purdue and his golden opportunity came in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the most storied of all wrestling venues.

“I tried to stay calm and not let it get into my head that I was in Carver,” said Johnson, a University of Iowa redshirt freshman 285-pounder. “I wanted to get out there and wrestle.”

Johnson got his chance after No. 7-rated Dan Erekson sustained an ankle injury Feb. 6 at Michigan State. Johnson entered the dual against Purdue with an overall record of 4-4, 0-2 against collegiate competition and 0-1 in duals. He used two takedowns and an escape to defeat Boilermaker junior Chris Kasten (17-11), 5-2.

“It’s awesome,” Johnson said. “I just tried to stay in position. (Kasten) wants those close matches with not much action, so I knew he would get tired.”

The victory by Johnson sealed a 38-0 shutout for the top-rated Hawkeyes (21-0). Although he wasn’t thinking about keeping Purdue with a big zero on the scoreboard, the manner in which six of his teammates dominated their bouts helped provide a spark.

“I didn’t think about the team score,” Johnson said. “I was trying to keep everything out of my head and go wrestle. The way my teammates were wrestling motivated me, and I wanted to keep it going.”

Charlie Falck won 19-9 at 125 pounds, Daniel Dennis scored a 20-3 technical fall at 133 — one match before Alex Tsirtsis posted a 17-1 technical fall victory at 141. Brent Metcalf won 14-4 at 157, Jay Borschel was a 15-3 winner at 174 and Phillip Keddy won by 10 (14-4) at 184. Other Iowa winners were Matt Ballweg (157), Ryan Morningstar (165) and Chad Beatty (197).

Iowa has won its last 35 matches, and despite adverse weather conditions, 5,709 fans turned out for Friday’s dual. It was the first time the Hawkeyes shut out an opponent since beating Binghamton (48-0) on Nov. 29 at the Journeymen Duals in Troy, N.Y. Purdue fell to 11-5-1 (0-4-1 Big Ten) with the loss. It was Iowa’s first shutout against a Big Ten opponent since defeating the Boilermakers 42-0 during the 1999-2000 season.