Jim Harbaugh isn’t exactly shy about displaying his emotion on the sideline and, on Saturday against Ohio State, that cost him and his team a personal foul penalty that, in part, led to an Ohio State touchdown. After the painful loss in Columbus, though, Harbaugh wasn’t close to done, going after the officiating that was controversial throughout the 30-27 epic.
The video above displays only part of Harbaugh’s thoughts, as he criticized the officials for whistling him for the aforementioned unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Harbaugh says the official told him it “would have been technical (foul) in basketball”. On cue, the coach said, “well, this isn’t basketball”.
The biggest controversy came in the closing seconds, however, as Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett seemed to be stopped short of the line to gain on 4th and 1. The officials, after a review, upheld the call on the field that Barrett made the first down marker and, predictably, Harbaugh was incensed.
“I thought there were some outrageous calls, including the one that would have ended the game. I was bitterly disappointed with the officiating.”
Throughout his post-game media availability, Harbaugh lambasted the officiating crew, referring to multiple occasions in which defensive pass interference penalties went uncalled in Michigan’s favor and called in Ohio State’s, highlighted by one that wasn’t whistled as Michigan was driving with the ball in the second overtime. Rarely do you see a high-level college football so singularly focused on officiating shortcomings, but Harbaugh wasn’t pulling any punches on Saturday evening.
Michigan looked to be the better team on the field in Columbus on Saturday but, in the end, it was the Wolverines that shot themselves in the foot with two interceptions that led to 14 Ohio State points. Officiating was surely a point of contention, but Michigan has itself to blame as well, and they will have to live with that for (another) 365 days.