No. 1 Hawkeyes Top No. 7 Illinois

Dec. 2, 2011

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa wrestling team opened its Big Ten schedule with a 20-13 win over seventh-ranked Illinois tonight on Mediacom Mat inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa won six-of-10 matches and scored bonus points in the final two bouts to extend its unbeaten dual streak to 81.

“We were in a battle tonight,” said Iowa head coach Tom Brands, “and we saw some not-so-good things. We have to get on the offense and not let guys slow us down. We’re fortunate we get to go right back into it in less the 48 hours. We need to be sharper and we need to make some strides.”

Illinois grabbed the early 3-0 lead when eighth-ranked Eric Terrazas recorded an 8-4 decision over Iowa’s 149-pound junior Mark Ballweg. The Hawkeyes responded with three consecutive decisions from Derek St. John (157), Mike Evans (165) and Ethen Lofthouse (174). All three wrestlers led from start to finish to help Iowa stake a 9-3 advantage. St. John scored four takedowns to earn his ninth win of the season, a 10-5 decision, while Evans recorded his second straight shutout with a 5-0 victory in his Big Ten debut.

Lofthouse scored a second period escape and takedown to build a 3-0 lead and outscored Illinois’ third-ranked Jordan Blanton 3-1 in the final period to earn a 6-1 decision.

Illinois (6-1, 0-1) answered Iowa’s run with a major decision at 184 to cut into the Hawkeye lead. Iowa’s Jeremy Fahler battled back from an early 6-1 deficit to tie the 184-pound match, 7-7, but Illinois’ Tony Dallago out-scored Fahler 9-1 in the final period to secure the bonus point and pull the Illini within two points, 9-7, heading into intermission.

Illinois’s Mario Gonzalez then gave the Illini its second lead of the night with an 11-9 decision over Iowa’s Tomas Lira at 197 pounds.

Trailing 10-9, Iowa redshirt freshman Bobby Telford rode Illinois’ Pat Walker the entire second period and added an early third period escape to earn a 2-0 win and help Iowa reclaim the lead, 12-10.

Junior Matt McDonough looked like he would create some distance in the team race by jumping to a 6-2 lead in the 125-pound match, but a late second period reversal by Illinois’ Jesse Delgado turned the momentum against McDonough and the pair eventually went into overtime tied, 7-7. Delgado scored a takedown with 40 seconds left in the extra period and added a pair of back points to earn the 11-7 win and give Illinois a 13-12 advantage heading into the final two matches of the evening.

The night’s headlining match between Iowa’s third-ranked Tony Ramos and Illinois’ second-ranked B.J. Futrell looked good for the Hawkeyes when Ramos scored a pair of takedowns in the opening period to jump to a 4-2 lead. Futrell scored an early escape in the second frame before another Ramos takedown and an illegal holding call on Futrell helped the Hawkeye sophomore grab a 7-3 advantage. Ramos eventually used another pair of takedowns and more than two minutes of riding time to earn a major decision, 13-5, and return the lead back to Iowa, 16-13.

Iowa’s Montell Marion then secured the Hawkeye victory with an 11-2 major decision over Illinois’ Daryl Thomas. Marion scored a pair of first period takedowns and never trailed in the match, building 2:46 of riding time to earn his team-high fourth major decision of the year.

The Hawkeyes (4-0, 1-0) return to action Sunday when they travel to Ames, Iowa, to face Iowa State at 2 p.m. inside Hilton Coliseum. The dual will be broadcast live on AM-800 KXIC and Hawkeye All-Access, a subscription service committed to providing quality coverage of University of Iowa athletic events. Steven Grace and Mark Ironside with have the call live from Hilton Coliseum. The dual will also be televised live on Mediacom.

Hawkeye Notes: Iowa stretched its dual unbeaten streak to 81 duals… McDonough’s loss was his first in 43 career dual matches and his first loss in 23 matches inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena… Ramos, Marion, St. John, Evans and Telford remain unbeaten in 2011-12… Iowa has won its last six Big Ten openers… Tom Brands is 6-0 in Big Ten openers… Iowa has won its last 36 Big Ten duals.

#1 University of Iowa vs. #7 University of Illinois
149 – Eric Terrazas (IL) dec. Mark Ballweg (I), 8-4
157 – Derek St. John (I) dec. Jackson Morse (IL), 10-5
165 – Mike Evans (I) dec. Dan Stelter (IL), 5-0
174 – Ethen Lofthouse (I) dec. Jordan Blanton (IL), 6-1
184 – Tony Dallago (IL) major dec. Jeremy Fahler (I), 17-8
197 – Mario Gonzalez (IL) dec. Tomas Lira (I), 11-9
Hwt. – Bobby Telford (I) dec. Pat Walker (IL), 2-0
125 – Jesse Delgado (IL) dec. Matt McDonough (I), 11-7 (OT)
133 – Tony Ramos (I) major dec. B.J. Futrell (IL), 13-5
141 – Montell Marion (I) major dec. Daryl Thomas (IL), 11-2