Jan. 10, 2014
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By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Oklahoma State head wrestling coach John Smith said the University of Iowa punched his team in the mouth Friday… and the Cowboys laid down.
If that interpretation is correct, then Hawkeye sophomore 149-pounder Brody Grothus threw the first haymaker.
Grothus, ranked 15th in the country, was an underdog against third-ranked Josh Kindig, who had beaten him 5-4 at the Joe Parisi Open on Nov. 23 in Missouri.
This match would be different Grothus said, and he delivered a 9-5 victory that included three back points and 3-minutes, 15-seconds of riding time.
“I have been building all season, getting tougher, and tonight was going to be my breakout night,” Grothus said. “I decided that.”
His strategy, embedded by associated head coach Terry Brands, of scoring first, fast, and often, was on display when he took Kindig down 18 seconds into the bout. Grothus blew the match open in the second period with a reversal and three nearfall points to take an 8-3 lead.
“Grothus did some good things to control that match,” UI head coach Tom Brands said. “The back points were the difference, but when you’re in good position, those things happen.”
After the result at 149, the No. 3 Hawkeyes (9-1) won five of the last six matches to defeat No. 5 Oklahoma State (3-3), 24-6. It is the most lopsided score in the series since the Cowboys posted a 30-10 decision Jan. 11, 2004, in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It is Iowa’s largest over Oklahoma State since a 29-10 win in 1995.
“I have been building all season, getting tougher, and tonight was going to be my breakout night. I decided that.”
UI 149-pound wrestler
“They punched us in the mouth and we laid down,” Smith said. “Winning at 141 was a lift and should have given us more energy as Kindig stepped out there. What was disappointing was he chased the cradle, got reversed to his back, and got rode for about a minute and half rather than respond to a guy reversing you.”
Brands refers to the success at 149 as “another cylinder” in a Hawkeye lineup that hasn’t had a national qualifier at that weight class since Brent Metcalf won the NCAA title in 2010.
“I’m taking it personally,” Grothus said. “I don’t like watching my weight class not perform up to the expectations of this university. In order to be the guy at this school you need to be a contender up there — not just a contender — you need to be the guy on top.”
Grothus improved to 18-5 on the season and has now defeated three straight ranked opponents: No. 8 David Habat of Edinboro (fall in 1:38), No. 2 Jason Tsirtsis of Northwestern (3-2) and now Kindig. Kindig is a two-time national qualifier who redshirted last season.
“When you start to learn to win, there is a lot to that,” Brands said. “When you’re winning, you’re winning. It’s that simple. It’s about putting the emphasis on getting the W and then starting to get the W the right way and widening the gap.”
Grothus, a 2010 Iowa state champion from Davenport Assumption High School, has won seven of his last eight matches. His lone loss was at Midlands to teammate Brandon Sorensen, 4-2, who is wrestling unattached.
“I’m constantly moving my feet and getting to my offense,” Grothus said. “I have been looking for big moves in the past and now I’m just moving my feet and it’s happening on instinct. It’s not looking for those big moves, they’re coming because I’m wrestling hard.”
Grothus is undefeated in Big Ten Conference duals and he is riding a three-matching winning streak.
“I’m going to remember this one and keep building off this win tonight,” he said.
Grothus and the Hawkeyes host Indiana on Sunday at 2 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Mat inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.