IOWA CITY — Daniel Dennis took his latest win in stride.
It was a nice feat that sent the University of Iowa fans in a frenzy at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, but he knows it shouldn’t be his most important win this season.
Dennis did post an impressive win, beating top-ranked Franklin Gomez in overtime, leading the top-ranked Hawkeyes to a dominant 37-0 win over Michigan State in front of 7,120 fans. It extended the Hawkeyes’ record win streak to 56 straight duals and 23 in a row at CHA. It was also Iowa’s sixth shutout this season, setting another school mark.
“It’s a win but it doesn’t entitle me to anything and I’m not going to get too excited over it,” Dennis said. “It is a step in the right direction and it shows that I’ve made progress toward what I want to achieve in March.”
Dennis (12-1) trailed 1-0, entering the third period. He hit a Granby about 25 seconds in to score a key reversal, rolling through and catching Gomez on his side.
“Staying where I’m good on bottom and not venturing into places where he may be good on top,” Dennis said. “Things open up when you just try to wrestle solid.”
He was solid in the tiebreaker after getting in on deep but finishing a takedown as time expired in sudden death. Dennis escaped in 13 seconds of the tiebreaker, and rode Gomez for 30 seconds in the second tiebreaker. He held on late as the two scrambled for position.
“That got into a little more rolling around than I should have,” Dennis said.
Dennis is undefeated against Gomez.
“He wrestles like every match is important,” Iowa Coach Tom Brands said. “That’s why (he’s) been beating him.”
Dennis has been challenged in some bouts since returning Jan. 16 from an ankle injury that kept him out of the lineup for more than a month. Toughness has led to him coming out on the winning end.
“A close match and not getting what you want and a close match and getting your hand raised is a big difference,” Brands said. “I’ll tell you what. It makes this program’s coaching staff and coaches a lot happier when you get your hand raised, because it’s progress.”
Matt McDonough, who improved to 24-0, opened the dual by grabbing a 4-1 lead before turning Brennan Lyon for the fall in 2:52. McDonough has been a spark for the Hawkeyes (18-0, 4-0), setting the tone for the meet.
“You have to have it in the back of your head. You want to start the team off on the right note,” McDonough said. “The main purpose is for you to start yourself off on the right note and battle every step of the way.”
He posted his seventh fall of the season, adjusting multiple times to flatten Lyon. He, and senior Brent Metcalf, who also won by fall, turned up the pressure when they had their opponents in a vulnerable spot.
“Once you get that sense of fear and helplessness, you get that fire in your belly,” McDonough said. “You just want to stick it to them as hard as you can and not give them a chance to breathe.”
Top-ranked Metcalf (24-0) pinned David Cheza at 149 after building a 9-2 advantage. Metcalf (24-0) tallied three takedowns in the opening period, adding another in the second, getting the fall in 3:37.
“There was no keeping it close because you’re hitting holds with authority and it was just all over the place. Now you see me, now you don’t. I’m here. No, I’m not here, I’m over here now. You didn’t even know that I went from here to over there,” Brands said. “That’s good stuff.”
There were enough goose-eggs to make an omelet at CHA last night. As the entire team blanked the Spartans (7-4-1, 1-3), individuals added their own shutouts. Montell Marion (141), Aaron Janssen (157), Ryan Morningstar (165) and Jay Borschel (184) each blanked foes with Borschel earning a major decision.
It was indicative of Iowa winning almost every stat battle, holding a 22-1 takedown advantage. That one takedown was the Spartans lone offensive score.
“You have to be trained to be stingy and not give up points, but the ultimate goal is to score points and put as many on the board as you can,” McDonough said. “It’s kind of in the back of your mind to give them nothing and take everything from them.
Brands said he was pleased in heavyweight Dan Erekson’s performance, being just his third match back in the lineup. Erekson, now 3-0 after returning from injury, racked up three takedowns for an 8-2 win. Phil Keddy (184) and Luke Lofthouse (197) scored decisions, leading into the final bout.