No. 2 Hawkeyes Down Illinois in B1G Opener

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Senior Tony Cassioppi stalled out Illinois’ Matt Wroblewski at the 5:57 mark of the third period to send the second-ranked University of Iowa wrestling team to a 25-19 victory over the Fighting Illini on Friday night inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The two teams split the 10 matches, but the Hawkeyes got four bonus point victories to improve to 8-0 overall and 1-0 in Big Ten action.

“We cannot get caught up in strategy,” said head coach Tom Brands. “There is a concerted effort to keep things close when you’re outmatched or because you like to wrestle that way. If we let that happen, we’ll be in these situations all year because that’s reality and that’s wrestling.

“We don’t have to be in them like we were tonight. There was a 1-1 match at 174, 1-1 match at 184 until late and a 1-1 match at 197 until late. We’re letting that happen.”

The dual was tied at 19 when Cassioppi took the mat in the finale. The nation’s third ranked heavyweight led 12-0 when the match when called. It is his second win via a stall DQ in his career.

No. 1 Spencer Lee opened the dual with his second straight pin, sticking Maximo Renteria in 2:22 at 125. Lee had an early takedown and three tilts to build a 12-0 lead in the first period before recording the fall. It was his second of the season and 28th of his career.

After Illinois took a 10-6 lead courtesy of No. 8 Lucas Byrd’s pin over No. 17 Cullan Schreiver at 133 and a 20-8 major decision from Danny Pucino over Drew Bennett at 141, the Hawkeyes regained the advantage with their second fall of the dual.

No. 5 Max Murin dominated Kevon Davenport at 149 as he built an 8-3 courtesy of four takedowns in the first. After getting three stall calls, Murin locked up the cradle and finished the fall in 3:34. It was his third fall of the season, but just his second career pin in Carver.

“That was long overdue, I can’t remember the last time I got a pin in Carver,” said Murin. “I think it might have been my first match. It felt good. I need to keep moving forward, keep getting better. Now it’s on to Purdue.”

Murin has matched a career-high with three falls this season and eight of his 11 wins have come via bonus points.

Illinois took a 13-12 lead with a win in the final match before intermission. Michael Carr defeated No. 15 Cobe Siebrecht, 12-7, at 157 to hand Siebrecht his first loss of the season.

No. 12 Patrick Kennedy put Iowa back on top, 16-13, with a major decision over No. 11 Danny Braunagel at 165. The Minnesota native was in line for a decision before catching Braunagel for a takedown and four-point near fall in the final 10 seconds to post a 15-4 win.

“I stayed relax and wrestled the whole seven minutes,” said Kennedy. “I was running behind him; he threw his arm up and I punched it right through. When you see it, hit it hard.”

“Ironside on the radio gave Kennedy his OW award,” said Brands. “Kennedy had to come out to a cold arena. I agree with Ironside, you come out to a cold arena, you have to do some business. He did a good job.”

It was Kennedy’s second win over a ranked opponent this season.

Illinois’ No. 7 Edmond Ruth edged No. 15 Nelson Brands with a 2-1 win in a tiebreaker to tie the dual at 16 before Iowa regained the lead when No. 8 Abe Assad used a third-period takedown to down No. 29 Dylan Connell, 3-1, at 184.

The dual was deadlocked for a third time – at 19 all — when No. 10 Zach Braunagel won a 3-1 decision against No. 6 Jacob Warner at 197.

– Iowa has won the last 12 meetings over Illinois.
– Spencer Lee ran his winning streak to 44 straight matches. In six wins this season, he has been on the mat for 22:28.
– Murin has eight bonus point victories this season – the most of his Hawkeye career.
– Iowa had its second sellout of the season.
– The dual victory was head coach Tom Brands’ 275th win of his career.

#2 Iowa 25, Illinois 19
125 – #1 Spencer Lee (UI) pinned Maximo Renteria (ILL), 2:22; 6-0
133 – #8 Lucas Byrd (ILL) pinned #17 Cullan Schriever (UI), 2:59; 6-6
141 – Danny Pucino (ILL) major dec. Drew Bennett (UI), 20-8; 6-10
149 – #5 Max Murin (UI) pinned Kevon Davenport (ILL), 3:34; 12-10
157 – Michael Carr (ILL) dec. #15 Cobe Siebrecht (UI), 12-7; 12-13
165 – #12 Patrick Kennedy (UI) major dec. #11 Danny Braunagel (ILL); 15-4; 16-13
174 – #7 Edmond Ruth (ILL) dec. #15 Nelson Brands (UI), 2-1 (TB1); 16-16
184 – #8 Abe Assad (UI) dec. #29 Dylan Connell (ILL), 3-1; 19-16
197 – #10 Zac Braunagel (ILL) dec. #6 Jacob Warner (UI), 3-1; 19-19
285 – #3 Tony Cassioppi (UI) winner by stalling disqualification Matt Wroblewski (ILL), 5:57; 25-19

Attendance: 14,905
Officials: Jason Wedgbury, Curt Frost

The Hawkeyes return to action Sunday, traveling to West Lafayette, Indiana, for a 1 p.m. (CT) dual against Purdue. The dual will be televised on BTN.