The Wolverine

January 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 17 of 67

18 THE WOLVERINE JANUARY 2022 BY JOHN BORTON M ichigan players and coaches ex u l te d , e m b ra ce d a n d raised their arms in triumph over a long-awaited mo- ment on Lucas Oil Stadium's turf. They'd insisted for 10 months they were differ- ent, and this looked as different as noon and midnight. Big Ten champions, underscored in dominant fashion. Champions of the West, the East, The Game and everything else in sight. Jim Harbaugh's 12-1, Iowa Hawkeye-crushing conquerors made their first trip to the Big Ten champion- ship contest well worth their while. The 42-3 dismantling of the Hawkeyes put an exclamation point on Michigan's first conference title in a shocking 17 years. That drought ended in a flood of ascendant forcefulness leaving the critics slack-jawed. "Man, we defied all expectations," Big Ten MVP and chief turnaround instiga- tor Aidan Hutchinson declared. "No- body thought we could do this. Nobody thought we could ever do this, especially not this season. And, man, we did it. And we did it in a very dominant fashion." The junior defensive end insisted well before the season that he and his team- mates knew something everybody else didn't. They went out and proved it, in one of Michigan's best football seasons ever. "It was a consistent belief, really, from DEVELOPING A DEVELOPING A CHAMPION CHAMPION Michigan Rises As Leaders And Best Once Again

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