Gophers Host No. 1 Iowa on Friday Night on BTN

The No. 11 Gophers (2-1) will host their first home dual of the season when they face top-ranked Iowa (1-0) at Maturi Pavilion on Friday. The match will begin at 8 p.m. and air live on Big Ten Network.

#11 Minnesota Golden Gophers (2-1)
125 #9 Patrick McKee (Soph.)
133 #20 Boo Dryden (Sr.)
141 Marcos Polanco (R-Fr.)
149 #17 Michael Blockhus (Soph.) -OR- Jake Bergeland (Jr.)
157 #6 Brayton Lee (Soph.)
165 #16 Andrew Sparks (Fr.) -OR- Bailee O’Reilly (Jr.)
174 #16 Jake Allar (Jr.)
184 #19 Owen Webster (5-Sr.)
197 Garrett Joles (Soph.) -OR- Dylan Anderson (Sr.)
285 #1 Gable Steveson (Jr.)

#1 Iowa Hawkeyes (1-0)
125 #1 Spencer Lee (Sr.) -OR- Aaron Cashman (So.)
133 #5 Austin DeSanto (Sr.)
141 #1 Jaydin Eierman (Sr.) -OR- Carter Happel (Sr.)
149 #6 Max Murin (Jr.) -OR- Bretli Reyna (Fr.)
157 #7 Kaleb Young (Sr.)
165 #2 Alex Marinelli (Sr.)
174 #1 Michael Kemerer (Sr.) -OR- Patrick Kennedy (Fr.)
184 #6 Nelson Brands (So.)
197 #3 Jacob Warner (Jr.) -OR- Connor Corbin (Jr.)
285 #3 Tony Cassioppi (So.)

Watch Iowa at Minnesota Extra Matches at 6:00 pm on BTN+

Series with Iowa
Iowa leads the all-time series with Minnesota by a 75-29-2 margin, including a 41-17-2 advantage in Minneapolis. The Hawkeyes have won six in a row as visitors with the Gophers’ last home win coming on Jan. 22, 2006, by a score of 25-9.

Last Meeting
The Gophers and Hawkeyes met in Iowa City on Feb. 15, 2020, with top-ranked Iowa claiming a 35-6 win. Owen Webster and Gable Steveson gave the Gophers an early 6-4 lead, but the Hawkeyes closed out the dual with seven straight wins.

Potential Matchups
Friday’s dual meet could feature as many as eight ranked matchups, including three top-10 showdowns.

Highlighting the dual is the matchup of No. 1 Gable Steveson and No. 3 Tony Cassioppi of Iowa at heavyweight. Steveson defeated the Hawkeye, 7-5, in their dual meeting and then 9-4 in the semifinals of the Big Ten Championship last season.

True freshman Andrew Sparks is 3-0 to start his career and will face his third ranked opponent – No. 2 Alex Marinelli at 165 pounds. No. 16 Sparks has wins over No. 10 and No. 19.

Minnesota’s four unbeaten grapplers – Steveson, Sparks, Boo Dryden and Brayton Lee – will all face top seven opponents.

For Openers
The Gophers have won eight of their last nine home openers dating back to the 2011-12 season.

Native Son
Sophomore Michael Blockhus is the first Iowa native on the Gopher roster since the 2016-17 season. Blockhus spent his first two seasons at Northern Iowa.

Last Time Out
Minnesota spent its second weekend in a row on the road with a trip to East Lansing. The Gophers dominated its first B1G tri-meet since 1996 with a 48-0 win against Maryland and 28-6 victory over host Michigan State. Eight of Minnesota’s 10 starters finished the day with 2-0 records. The 48-point win over the Terrapins was the Gophers’ biggest conference winning margin since a 51-0 victory over Purdue on Feb. 10, 1979.

McKee Honored
Sophomore Patrick McKee was named Big Ten Co-Wrestler of the Week after a perfect weekend in East Lansing. McKee began his day with a 19-6 major decision and followed that with a 10-6 upset of No. 2 Rayvon Foley of Michigan State. He’s the first Gopher honored since Brayton Lee in December, 2019.

The Legend Grows
Junior heavyweight Gable Steveson has provided countless highlights in his two-plus seasons with the Maroon & Gold. On Saturday, Steveson needed just 13 seconds to pin Maryland’s Connor Bowes. That is tied for the second-fastest fall in school history.

Fastest Pins in School History:

  • 1. 11 sec. Owen Webster (11/5/17)
  • 2t. 13 sec. Gable Steveson (1/16/21)
  • 2t. 13 sec. Mitch McKee (12/30/17)
  • 2t. 13 sec. Jim Martinez (11/14/81)

Did You Know?
Minnesota’s current streak of 14 seasons with a winning dual meet record is a school record. The Gophers have not finished below .500 since 1991-92.

Familiar Faces
Minnesota has started the same lineup for the first three dual matches. The last time the Gophers have used the same lineup in four straight duals was Dec. 29-30, 2018 at the South Beach Duals.

In the Rankings
Entering the third week of the regular season, the Gophers now boast eight ranked wrestlers.

Junior Jake Allar entered the rankings at No. 16 after a big weekend in East Lansing. After making his first career dual start at Nebraska on Jan. 8, Allar earned a pin in 1:58 against Maryland’s Dominic Solis and followed that with a 13-1 major decision against No. 15 Drew Hughes of Michigan State.

After transferring from Northeatern Oklahoma A&M at midseason a year ago, senior Boo Dryden is now ranked No. 20 after a 3-0 start. He began the season with a 9-2 decision against No. 15 Alex Thomsen of Nebraska. At 6 feet tall, Dryden has been a tough matchup for 133 pounders in 2021.

Knocking Off #1
The last time Minnesota defeated the nation’s top-ranked team was an 18-17 win against Penn State on Feb. 9, 2014. Dylan Ness’ pin at 157 pounds gave the Gophers a 12-7 lead, while Tony Nelson sealed the victory with a 6-0 decision at heavyweight.

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