Jan. 16, 2015
- Iowa-Illinois Photo Gallery | Iowa-Illinois Photo Gallery 2
- Read the January issue of Hawk Talk Monthly
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly iOS app
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly android app
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye iPad and iPhone app!
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye Android app!
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The last time the University of Iowa wrestling team competed in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, sophomore Alex Meyer posted a come-from-behind decision against Michigan State at 197 pounds.
That was 41 days ago.
On Friday, Meyer brought a crowd of 8,652 to its feet by pinning sixth-ranked Zac Brunson (18-2) of Illinois with one second remaining in their 174-pound bout. In the previous two matches of the dual, the Hawkeyes lost by technical fall (21-6 at 157) and major decision (12-1 at 165). Meyer was behind 5-2 with 1:41 left, and had he lost, Iowa would have been in a 15-10 hole with three matches to go.
“A lot of teams don’t want to wrestle seven minutes, so coming to the end of the match we’re favored,” Meyer said. “But we would be even more favored if we score in that first period — then they don’t have a lot of hope.”
Meyer escaped with 1:32 left, cutting Brunson’s advantage to 5-3. Brunson was warned for stalling with 32 seconds left. Then, in the final 20 seconds, Meyer heard cheers and a buzzer. In between he heard the sound of referee’s hand slap the mat…with a second to spare. That put the Hawkeyes ahead for good, 16-12.
“Most people dream about being up 10, 12 points and then sticking him,” Meyer said. “But getting a fall is huge, getting the crowd on its feet is awesome no matter how it is done. People come to watch exciting wrestling.”
“Most people dream about being up 10, 12 points and then sticking him. But getting a fall is huge, getting the crowd on its feet is awesome no matter how it is done. People come to watch exciting wrestling.”
UI 174-pound wrestler
Meyer’s result helped the top-ranked Hawkeyes to their 13th consecutive dual win, 25-12. Iowa won the final three matches by a combined score of 14-3 to improve to 9-0 this season, 4-0 in the Big Ten. No. 11 Illinois falls to 8-2, 2-1.
Brunson’s only other loss this season was to senior Mike Evans — Iowa’s regular at 174 — by a score of 2-1 in the finals of the 2014 Midlands Championship.
“I give Meyer a lot of credit,” UI head coach Tom Brands said. “We have to put the spotlight on him.”
Brands echoed Meyer’s sentiments that a late fall can feel just as nice, if not better, when it is done after building a large lead. Brands was torn between celebration and frustration for Meyer after the meet. While Meyer undoubtedly came up big in crunch time, Brands hopes next time there is no crunch time.
“He can do that attack he hit earlier and he can do it and do it and do it,” Brands said. “That doesn’t mean he can’t also use the first 30 seconds, the first 45 seconds, the first minute, the second minute, third minute, first period, then into the fourth, fifth minute, sixth, seventh minute, and then at 419 seconds get a fall.
“You can do that by grinding it out and you can be up 15-1 and get the fall with one second to go. That’s what we want to see. I’m greedy, I’m a poor sport.”
Meyer, a native of Pleasant Hill, Iowa, and Southeast Polk High School, improved to 15-2 on the season and 2-0 all-time in duals.
Iowa returns to action Friday, Jan. 23, against Northwestern in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The dual will begin at 7 p.m. (CT).