Zac Brunson led Iowa's Alex Meyer 5-3 late in the third period and it looked like he was going to give the Illini a 15-10 lead.
And then tragedy struck for the fifth-ranked Brunson.
Meyer hit an ankle pick that would have tied the match, but Meyer caught Brunson on his back to earn the fall, one second before time expired. With Meyer's upset win, Iowa regained a 16-12 lead and rode the momentum to three straight wins, all of which they were favored in, for a 25-12 victory Friday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.
Two-time defending national champion Jesse Delgado was again a scratch and he won't be back until the Northwestern dual in Evanston on Jan. 25. Dominic Olivieri fought off a technical fall from No. 5 Thomas Gilman as he fell by 18-6 major decision at 125-pounds.
Fifth-ranked Zane Richards put the Illini ( 9-2, 2-1 Big Ten) on the board with a victory over No. 4 Cory Clark in a Midlands final rematch. Clark tied the match 5-5 in the third, but with a little over 30 seconds left Clark cut Richards and was unable to grab a takedown the rest of the match.
Iowa scored consecutive decisions at 141- and 149-pounds to put the Hawkeyes up 10-3. Thirteenth-ranked Steven Rodrigues dropped a 3-2 match to No. 10 Josh Dziewa in a rematch of their quarterfinals bout at Midlands. Kyle Langenderfer fell 11-5 to Big Ten Wrestler of the week, No. 5 Brandon Sorenson.
Illinois registered back-to-back bonus wins at 157- and 165-pounds to take their first lead of the night. Fifth-ranked Isaiah Martinez hit several throws for a 21-6 technical fall over No. 15 Mike Kelly, cutting the deficit to 10-8.
Eighth-ranked Jackson Morse earned a 12-1 major decision against Iowa backup Logan Thomsen for a 12-10 Illini lead.
Iowa's No. 8 Sammy Brooks took down No. 20 Nikko Reyes 7-1 at 184-pounds, No. 5 Nathan Burak earned a 3-2 decision over Jeff Koepke and No. 1 Bobby Telford closed the meet with a 4-0 victory over Brooks Black.
Illinois will travel to No. 1 Minnesota for their next dual at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
125: No. 5 Thomas Gilman (IA) major dec. Dominic Olivieri (ILL), 18-6; 4-0
133: No. 5 Zane Richards (ILL) dec. No. 4 Cory Clark (IA), 6-5; 4-3
141: No. 8 Josh Dziewa (IA) dec. No. 13 Steven Rodriguez (ILL), 3-2; 7-3
149: No. 3 Brandon Sorensen (IA) dec. Kyle Langenderfer (ILL), 11-5; 10-3
157: No. 5 Isaiah Martinez (ILL) tech. fall No. 15 Michael Kelly (IA), 21-6; 10-8
165: No. 8 Jackson Morse (ILL) major dec. Logan Thomsen (IA), 12-1; 10-12
174: Alex Meyer (IA) pinned No. 6 Zac Brunson (ILL), 6:59; 16-12
184: No. 8 Sammy Brooks (IA) dec. No. 20 Nikko Reyes (ILL), 7-1; 19-12
197: No. 5 Nathan Burak (IA) dec. Jeff Koepke (ILL), 3-2; 22-12
285: No. 1 Bobby Telford (IA) dec. Brooks Black (ILL), 4-0; 25-12