The season record stands at 9-1, 0-1 in the Big Ten. But the match between the No. 23 Scarlet Knights and the No. 1 Iowa Hawkeyes was the test that Head Coach Scott Goodale had been waiting for for a long time.
Wait a minute. Rutgers....ranked....going against the top team in the country....in a conference match....live on BTN. Yeah, pretty cool. Throw in the fact that the head football coach came to watch and, yeah, that's really cool.
Yes, very cool. Except that bottom line was a 23-9 loss in a match where Rutgers only won three of ten bouts. So, what was gleaned from this first Big Ten match?
You're facing the best, night after night, every night
Iowa had seven wrestlers who were ranked by at least one of the three organizations that do that; all were in the top ten in at least one poll. Rutgers had five, with only one in the top ten (Billy Smith at No. 9). And Iowa, and the whole Big Ten conference, is a meat grinder night after night. Coach Scott Goodale on Iowa's wrestlers: "It's their will, meaning you have to match their intensity. In some spots we didn't match their intensity at all....It's a mindset. It's not that they're overall better wrestlers, it's they're tougher. We got overwhelmed at '25 [125 pounds] and got overwhelmed at '49  and I didn't see that coming. That was a little disappointing."
But Rutgers can and will compete. It wasn't what Goodale and the team wanted - it wasn't what he expected either from some wrestlers - but this won't be a lost season as the Knights head into the best wrestling conference in the nation.
There is a potentially rabid and passionate fan base for Rutgers Wrestling
Let's go back to that attendance total: 5,420. That's more than all but three of the nine men's home basketball games this year and larger than any women's home game. New Jersey has great scholastic wrestling and knowledgeable fans. And season ticket sales are up something like 300%.
Goodale on the bouts Rutgers won
Regarding Anthony Ashnault: "He's beating the number 6 kid in the country, whose been in that lineup, a part of that program for five years now....He's ranked sixth in the country for a reason, the kid can wrestle. That's a huge win and the first time in a big spot, in front of these fans."
Regarding Scott DelVecchio, recording the first ever B1G win: Big win for Scottie, he did what he had to do. That was important."
Regarding Anthony Campolattano: "First time he had to make weight in a year and a half and it's against an Iowa Hawkeye. We knew he'd hit a wall....Heck of a job by him. I thought he seemed really poised"
And on the bouts Rutgers lost
On Billy Smith: "Didn't seem confident in his attack....Let's not be happy losing 4-2 to the number one guy in the country....So it's frustrating."
On Anthony Perrotti: "You've got to do everything right at this level. You can read between the lines on that, right? If you cut corners, don't do your weight right, let the Christmas holidays soften you up, bad things are gonna happen to you. And that's where he's at."
Overall: "Just overwhelmed in some spots. But I like our efforts. I know where we are right now. How good we're gonna be. It's not every day we get to see number one."
Goodale on what you learn by wrestling the number one team
"That's a high level. I think that'll be good going forward. You've got to match it. Illinois is just as good. Minnesota can be number one. Let's get ready to go again. We'll have opportunities to win matches....You've got to take advantage of every single opportunity. This gives us a measuring stick. We knew that (Iowa) was going to be a fight....we've got to get used to it. It's the conference."
And on having an All American and a wrestler with Big Ten experience: "Everybody talks about he's (Campolattano) got Big Ten experience (at OSU), you throw all that out the window. It's seven minutes, you're putting yourself up against it. Guys like Anthony Perrotti, it doesn't matter he's an All American, it's about the seven minutes you're gonna wrestle, because the guy across the mat doesn't care that he's an All American".
Where RU is and where it was....as seen by Anthony Ashnault
"You take this team five years ago against an Iowa team, it's a lot different. Our effort's not where it needs to be right now...but it's gonna get there".
No. 1 Iowa 27, No. 23 Rutgers 9
125: No. 4/3/4 Thomas Gilman (IOWA) tech fall over Sean McCabe (RU), 25-10
133: Scott DelVecchio (RU) decision over Phillip Laux (Iowa), 10-3
141: No. 11/7/11 Anthony Ashnault (RU) decision over No. 6/5/8 Josh Dziewa (IOWA), 3-1
149: No. 10/NR/16 Brandon Sorensen (IOWA) major decision over No. NR/NR/17 Ken Theobold (RU), 18-5
157: Mike Kelly (IOWA) decision over No. 13/12/13 Anthony Perrotti (RU), 4-0
165: No. 7/6/7 Nick Moore (IOWA) major decision over Nicholas Gravina (RU), 16-4
174: No. 2/2/2 Mike Evans (IOWA) decision over No. NR/20/16 Phil Bakuckas (RU), 5-0
184: No. 8/9/7 Sammy Brooks (IOWA) wins by fall over Hayden Hrymack (RU), 3:52
197: Andrew Campolattano (RU) decision over Kris Klapprodt (IOWA), 8-5
285: No. 3/3/3 Bobby Telford (IOWA) decision over No. 9/NR/12 Billy Smith (RU), 6-2
|01/09/15||at Illinois *||Champaign, Ill.||7:00 p.m. ET|
|01/11/15||vs. Minnesota *||RAC||12:00 p.m. ET|