LINCOLN — The marquee matchups went to the Huskers.
Thanks to their depth, the dual went to the Hawkeyes.
Iowa, ranked third nationally, won the first three matches and the last three to earn a 22-9 Big Ten win over No. 8 Nebraska on Saturday in front of 3,946 at the Devaney Center.
Despite the win, Iowa coach Tom Brands was hoping to see more from his team.
“I feel like we left some points off the board,” Brands said. “We won seven matches. I do not feel like we won seven matches. We left two major decisions off the board, but you have to keep moving forward.”
It was Iowa’s seventh straight win in the series with Nebraska. A year ago at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa won eight of the 10 matches in a 31-7 win. Nebraska coach Mark Manning said his team mentally handled the Iowa dual better this season.
“I think these guys are coming around. We have a lot of freshmen who haven’t been in this situation before, and they responded pretty well,” Manning said. “But we need to get over the hump. We need to find a way to win those close matches.”
Four of Nebraska’s losses were by two points or less. That included the opening match, when third-ranked Thomas Gilman, an Omaha Skutt graduate, edged ninth-ranked Tim Lambert 2-1 at 125 pounds.
Gilman earned a point in the second period on an escape and Lambert got an escape point with 45 seconds left in the match. But Gilman earned a point for riding time, giving him the victory. Gilman has beaten four ranked opponents since Christmas.
Leading 13-9 with three matches left, Iowa got another close win at 184. Sammy Brooks recorded a takedown 17 seconds into overtime to beat TJ Dudley 6-4.
In between those matches, Nebraska earned a pair of wins against highly ranked Hawkeyes.
At 157 pounds, NU’s James Green, ranked third nationally, recorded four takedowns on No. 1 Derek St. John in a 9-7 victory. And at 174, Nebraska’s Robert Kokesh, ranked fourth, controlled No. 6 Mike Evans for a 7-3 victory.
Green’s victory snapped St. John’s 27-match win streak. That streak started at last year’s NCAA tournament when St. John won the 157-pound title.
On Saturday, Green got a takedown in the final seconds of the first period for a 2-0 lead. He stretched his lead to 9-4 before St. John got a takedown in the final seconds.
“I knew I wanted to put on a show. I love to entertain,” said Green, who improved to 22-0 this season. “I fed off the crowd. I loved it.”
Green’s victory “was huge,” Kokesh said.
“At the end of last year, I knew James was the best in the country, even though the standings didn’t show it,” Kokesh said. “I think this year he’s going to prove it.”
Kokesh also proved he’s made strides with his victory over Evans. Evans had beaten Kokesh three times during his first two seasons before Kokesh finally earned a 3-2 decision at the NCAA tournament last March. Kokesh went on to finish in third place.
On Saturday, Kokesh got a takedown 20 seconds into the match and never trailed. He led 7-2 after two periods.
“Mike Evans owned him a couple of years ago,” Manning said, “but Robert really had a great performance today.”
Said Kokesh: “I just had to go out there and stay smart, stay patient and stay in good position. Evans is a good competitor. He’s going to come at you. Positioning was the key to that match.”
Nebraska’s only other win came at 149 as fifth-ranked Jake Sueflohn decisioned No. 13 Brody Grothus 5-2.
Iowa has another big dual next Saturday when it hosts No. 2 Minnesota. Nebraska will visit Ohio State on Friday and Purdue next Sunday.
125 pounds: Thomas Gilman, UI, dec. Tim Lambert, 2-1. 133: Tony Ramos, UI, major dec. Shawn Nagel 15-4. 141: Josh Dziewa, UI, dec. Colton McCrystal, 9-2. 149: Jake Sueflohn, NU, dec. Brody Grothus, 5-2. 157: James Green, NU, dec. Derek St. John, 9-7. 165: Nick Moore, UI, dec. Austin Wilson, 8-2. 174: Robert Kokesh, NU, dec. Mike Evans, 7-3. 184: Sammy Brooks, UI, dec. TJ Dudley, 6-4 SV. 197: Nathan Burak, UI, dec. Caleb Kolb, 3-1. Hwt: Bobby Telford, UI, dec. Collin Jensen, 2-0.