Michigan's Hutchinson adds Big Ten title game MVP to growing resume
Indianapolis — If Aidan Hutchinson’s teammates have anything to say about it, the Michigan defensive end should get used to bringing home some hardware.
The senior was named MVP of the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday after No. 2 Michigan’s 42-3 domination of No. 13 Iowa, the first defensive player ever to win the award. And as Hutchinson was handed the trophy, his teammates showered him with “Hutch for Heisman” chants.
“Man, it's just so cool to see my teammates have my back like that and see them supporting me and doing all that,” Hutchinson said. “That was such a cool moment. And, man, it was so great just to see that and experience that.”
It was a typical game for Hutchinson, causing problems for the Iowa offense from the first snap to the last. He finished with four tackles and one sack while officially recording two quarterback hurries, though it seemed like Hutchinson was in the quarterback’s face far more often.
His performance helped Michigan lock down Iowa, limiting the Hawkeyes to three points and only 279 total yards after Iowa was inside the Michigan red zone twice in the first quarter but managed only three points.
“Tonight these guys played really good defense on us and got us in a lot of tough third-down situations,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “With their rush that's a concern because you don't want to give the game away just on a third down early, that type of deal. But we just couldn't knock it in there.”
After three sacks in the win over Ohio State last week, Hutchinson has vaulted himself into the talk for the Heisman Trophy. The votes are due on Monday and by next Saturday, there’s a good chance Hutchinson could be in New York as a finalist.
The odds are, long, of course. Only one other defensive player has won the award — Michigan cornerback Charles Woodson in 1997 — and Hutchinson will be up against the likes of Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud and Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III.
But win the award or not, Hutchinson has plenty of support in his locker room.
“I think it's pretty self-explanatory,” center Andrew Vastardis said. “I think he deserves to be the Heisman Trophy winner. He showed out every week, been a game changer, not just Saturdays. That guy puts it on the line every day in practice, every day in meetings. (He’s) more dialed in, more committed and more dedicated than any guy I've ever been around.
“So, you know, how can you not root for a guy like that? In our opinion (he) deserves it fully.”
Michigan is a virtual lock to play in the College Football Playoffs, and heading into its next game, Hutchinson has 58 tackles, 14 sacks and 12 quarterback hurries.
No, they’re not as flashy as the offensive players in the running for the Heisman, but they’re enough to at least get Hutchinson some votes.
“I think he's proved to the world why he should win the Heisman,” running back Blake Corum said. “He’s just a tremendous player and is probably going — I think he should get drafted No. 1. But, you know, it's great having a player like that on our team.”