COLUMBUS, Ohio – An official’s call can be the difference between winning and losing.
In a post-game press conference that will no doubt be remembered for Harbaugh’s reaction, specifically to the calls that didn’t go his way. Michigan's coach let his opinion on today's officiating come out, just moments after his Wolverines fell to rival Ohio State, 30-27, in double overtime.
The game will go down as an all time classic, no doubt about it. But it also ended in controversy when OSU’s J.T. Barrett appeared to be stopped on a fourth and one, which would’ve won the game for Michigan.
“My view of the first down was that it was that short,” Harbaugh said, while showing his hands about a foot apart.
But the call was originally called a first down, and after an official review, the play stood as called. And Harbaugh wasn’t happy about it.
“I’m bitterly disappointed in the officiating today,” Harbaugh said. “That spot.”
The rest is history. On the next play, Ohio State's Curtis Samuel ran in for the winning 15 yard touchdown to give the Buckeyes their fifth straight win in the rivalry.
But it wasn’t just that spot that had Harbaugh amped up. OSU was only assessed two penalties for six yards on the day, while Michigan totaled seven penalties for 59 yards.
In Michigan’s second possession of OT, Grant Perry appeared to be interfered with, and Harbaugh wasn’t happy about that either.
“The graphic display is the interference penalties,” Harbaugh said. “The one not called on us on Grant Perry. He was clearly being hooked before the ball got there.”
Also, Harbaugh wasn’t happy with pass interference called on Delano Hill on OSU’s game tying drive in the fourth quarter.
“And the previous penalty called on Delano Hill, the ball was uncatchable and by the receiver. I’m bitterly disappointed in the officiating.
“I can’t make that anymore clear.”
Harbaugh, though, still managed to praise the play of his team afterwards.
“I thought our guys have worked incredibly hard,” Harbaugh said. “Thye have done everything that they could. And they have done it so very well. I’m really proud of our players, yes. “
Then, well, Harbaugh continued to rant about the penalties or lack there of.
“They had two penalties called all day,” Harbaugh said. “Multiple holding penalties let go. Multiple false starts. The official on my side is supposed to be watching that is concerned about whether the coaches are in the white or not in the white (on the sideline). Not on the field, their coaches were practically on the field, practically in the huddle at times. I’m bitter.”
Promptly, the press conference ended with one last rant.
“They got a gift interference call, you see that one?” Harbaugh said. “We’re probably just beating a dead horse here, cause you know how I feel. I don’t know where else we can go with this.”
On when Wilton Speight was cleared to play:
“Doctors said to clear him to practice this week,” Harbaugh said. “And he was champing at the bit to go. That he was functional to the level he was playing at all year. I would say after he practiced on Tuesday, Wednesday, made the decision he would start.”null