In the first match, at 125, Iowa's Charlie Falck (14-5) used a 6-0 point advantage in the second period to pull away from Wisconsin's Collin Cudd (16-5) and get the decision, 12-9. Falck usually sets the tone for the Hawkeyes, but it was a bit off key from there.
At 133, Badger sophomore Zach Tanelli (16-2) used a 5-2 third period advantage to grab a 7-5 decision over Iowa senior Mario Galanakis (17-5). Tanelli struggled to get anything going in the first two periods, but hung tough. In the final stanza, Galanakis just ran out of gas and Tanelli capitalized.
Kyle Ruschell may mark tonight down as the turning key to the championship ignition. On paper, he was an underdog - even with a 20-4 record entering the dual. His opponent, Iowa's Alex Tsirtis (16-5), is ranked sixth in the country in the 141 weight class. Ruschell was on the defensive for the majority of the match, allowing Tsirtis to make all the moves and take all the chances. He quickly countered each move and then used his strength to control the match and, ultimately, win the match, 6-4.
That was the vital match for Wisconsin to have a shot at upsetting the home team on their mat.
Senior captain Tyler Turner (15-3), ranked number seven at 149, used a tactical approach and his experience to over power and, plain and simply, out wrestle Iowa's Alex Grunder (10-9). Turner used a series of single-leg takedown shots, and was never in any trouble. He collected an 8-2 victory.
At 157, Craig Henning notched his 19th win of the season. Neither wrestler, Henning nor Iowa's redshirt freshman Ryan Morningstar (17-7), really took many chances. There were a series of stalemate, stalling, and dangerous position calls throughout the match. Henning gained the lead in the second after escaping Morningstar's advantage at the beginning of the period. He collected 1:30 of riding time, and held that advantage to the end to collect a 2-0 win.
Through 157, the Badgers held a 12-3 cushion over the home team. Two of Iowa's strongest weight classes were yet to come.
All-American Mark Perry (15-3) got the Hawkeyes back in the match with a 17-2 major decision. The match was halted with :04 to go in the second period. Once a wrestler reaches a 15 point lead, a match is 'called'. Perry simply dominated the Badgers' Jake Donar (7-9) and showed why he is the number four rated wrestler in his class. That gave Iowa five points toward the team score.
At 174, Iowa's Eric Luedke wrestled a tactical match and defeated Mike Felling (10-8), 5-0. Luedke looked in complete control the whole match. It was the 20th win of the season for the second ranked wrestler.
With the Luedke decision, the team score tightened up at 12-11.
Two freshman stepped onto the mat at 184: Wisconsin's Trevor Brandvold (12-3) and Iowa's Phil Keddy (9-9). Brandvold used an escape and a quick takedown that followed to take a 4-2 lead into the final period. He quickly notched an additional takedown, and that served to be the final scoring maneuver. Brandvold wins 6-2 and the Badgers lead grew to 15-11.
At 197, Dallas Herbst (19-3) made quick work of Rick Loera (4-6), gaining a fall just :49 into the match. It was the 13th pin on the season for Herbst. The Hawkeyes are without top 15 wrestler Dan Ereksen due to a lingering injury. That may have made a difference, but the way Herbst came out with a blaze of glory...I doubt it.
The victory gave the Badgers a 21-11 lead, and secured a dual victory against the storied Iowa program for the first time since 1965.
An inconsequencial Matt Fields (15-7) 6-3 victory over Kyle Massey (10-5) at heavyweight made the final score, Wisconsin 21 - Iowa 14.
We attempted to get quotes from the team and coaching staff, but were unsuccessful. The team was in a rush to get out of the arena at to a private party in honor of Coach Davis' induction into the Hall of Fame.