IOWA CITY - Bobby Telford may not have progressed as much as he wants this season, but he took steps in the right direction.
Those steps came with every penetrating shot he made in his latest match.
After posting just one takedown in his last four matches, the University of Iowa heavyweight took to the offensive and scored two Sunday, including on in overtime, to beat seventh-ranked Adam Chalfant, 9-5, highlighting the third-ranked Hawkeyes' 38-4 whipping of Indiana at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Telford showed more action, taking multiple shots. He appeared more aggressive with his leg attacks, finishing the decisive takedown midway through minute-long sudden victory period and adding two nearfall points.
“I’m building right now,” third-ranked Telford said. “I’m building my shape. I’m not where I want to be."
An early deficit may have been the much-needed catalyst to rediscover his offense from his feet. Chalfant posted the first takedown, forcing a response from the Hawkeyes' All-American and two-time national qualifier.
“The thing that is interesting about that is maybe that is what is going to get us moving forward, because he had to come from behind,” said Associate head coach Terry Brands, who handled post-match interviews while head coach started on a work-related trip to California. “He had to go underneath the guy, and it proved to himself that he can do the things he was doing at the end of the last year.”
Telford (14-1) was derailed from a second straight All-American finish by a knee injury in the 2013 NCAA Championships. After offseason surgery, Telford aggravated the injury and missed some time in December. Both mental and physical blocks may have limited his attacks.
“I think it’s both,” Brands said. “Obviously, the way he went to the legs and brought the leg up, it’s always been there, I believe.”
He looked strong, getting in on Chalfant's legs and pulling him back to the center of the mat on occasion. He may have received the push toward his old form.
“I’m building on my wrestling, but there are times in the matches where I’m starting to feel like I’m starting to hit on all cylinders," Telford said. "I’m not there yet. Not there at all, but I got a little kick start or backfire, so maybe we’ll get started.”
The Hawkeyes (10-1, 3-0) posted their fourth straight dominant performance. They have lost just two matches in three Big Ten duals and just four matches in four duals since their Midlands title. Iowa racked up 30 takedowns, 10 nearfall points and 97 match points in nine contests against the Hoosiers (7-4, 0-3).
The focus is to see if the Hawkeyes are improving, making strides each match and in all the situations that come up in those matches.
“Those are great measuring sticks to how good a team is,” Brands said, “and how good a team is going to be tomorrow.
"We have to go forward individually," Brands also said, "building this team where every individual becomes a contender at every individual weight class.”
Telford opened the dual and gave Iowa the lead they wouldn't come close to surrendering. Thomas Gilman collected a forfeit at 125 and Tony Ramos added his ninth pin of the season, accumulating five first-period takedowns before sticking Chris Caton in 3:27.
Josh Dziewa (141) followed with a wild 20-10 victory over Ethan Raley. Dziewa ranked up 10 points in the second period with a pair of takedowns and six nearfall points.
Brody Grothus remained strong for the Hawkeyes at 149, posting an 11-3 major decision against Eric Roach after upsetting Oklahoma State's third-ranked Josh Kindig two days earlier. Nick Moore also was impressive, coming off an overtime win over Oklahoma State's second-ranked Tyler Caldwell. Moore throttled Ryan Leblanc, 13-3, with five takedowns.
No hangover for them.
"It's big," said Terry Brands, point out it doesn't matter who the opponents are in the duals. "We still have to be at our best. Either way you want to spin that or look at it, we were getting ready. We moved on Friday night from Oklahoma State, and we've moved on right now."
Sam Brooks (184) and 197-pounder Nathan Burak closed the dual with major decisions in the final two bouts. Brooks, wrestling in placed of fourth-ranked Ethen Lofthouse who Tom Brands said Friday is resting from being "dinged up" in the Michigan State dual, had five takedowns in a 12-3 victory, following Mike Evans decision at 174.
Defending NCAA champion and top-ranked Derek St. John did not wrestle Sunday. Mike Kelly, who weighed in at 149, moved up to 157 and lost a major decision to sixth-ranked Taylor Walsh. St. John beat Walsh, 9-3, in the finals of the Midlands Championships.
“He works so doggone hard in his matches and practices,” Terry Brand said. “We were in a situation where we could go with Kelly and we’re building Kelly.
“We wanted to see where he’s at, too, and see what we got there.”
AT CARVER-HAWKEYE ARENA
Iowa 38, Indiana 4
(Individual takedowns in parentheses)
Hwt. - Bobby Telford (Iowa) dec. Adam Chalfant, 9-5 (2, 1); 125 pounds - Thomas Gilman (Iowa) won by forfeit; 133 - Tony Ramos (Iowa) pinned Chris Caton, 3:27 (5, 0); 141 - Josh Dziewa (Iowa) major dec. Ethan Raley, 20-10 (3, 3); 149 - Brody Grothus (Iowa) major dec. Eric Roach, 11-3 (4, 1); 157 - Taylor Walsh (Ind) major dec. Mike Kelly, 17-6 (2, 0); 165 - Nick Moore (Iowa) major dec. Ryan Leblanc, 13-3 (5, 0); 174 - Mike Evans (Iowa) dec. Nate Jackson, 6-2 (2, 1); 184 - Sam Brooks (Iowa) major dec. Luke Sheridan, 12-3 (5, 0); 197 - Nathan Burak (Iowa) major dec. Garrett Goldman, 10-2 (4, 0).
MEET STATISTICSTakedowns - Indiana 8, Iowa 30; Reversals - Indiana 2, Iowa 4; Escapes - Indiana 17, Iowa 12; Nearfall points - Indiana 11, Iowa 10; Penalty points (awarded) - Indiana 0, Iowa 1; Riding time points - Indiana 1, Iowa 6; Total match points - Indiana 49, Iowa 97; Attendance - 6, 447.