This was a HUGE weekend for football! There were many rivalries that clashed, the most notable of those were the #3 team, the Ohio State Buckeyes, playing the #4 team, the Michigan Wolverines. This rivalry has existed for over 100 years, and many describe the matches between them as “The Game.” It’s known as an incredibly high energy and tense event, and this year was no exception.
From Yahoo Sports:
“Outside it was cold and gray and hostile, exactly as these Michigan-Ohio State games are supposed to be. Outside there were eyes overflowing with tears and a field overflowing with fans and a scoreboard that read Ohio State 30, Michigan 27, which didn’t even begin to tell the whole tale of what had just transpired.
Buckeye players couldn’t get through the throng to their locker room, too many red-clad fans taking selfies, too many dancing with friends (or strangers), at least one blazing a celebratory joint right there where Woody Hayes once patrolled.
Another got physical with Jabrill Peppers, who appropriately shoved him back. Later, as Michigan players and staffers were solemnly grabbing boxes of Chick-fil-A and heading to the bus as Ohio State fans, separated by a wrought iron fence, shouted at them and heckled them and sang that they didn’t give “a damn about the whole state of Michigan.”
On a beautifully powerful afternoon of football, on a day when so many fans here appropriately cheered their great fortune at witnessing the sport at its very best, at the first game in this rivalry to need overtime (and two of them at that), at least part of the ending was the sport at its petty and pathetic worst.
Meanwhile, inside a jammed news conference, Jim Harbaugh was spitting fire about the referees.
“Bitterly disappointed,” the Michigan coach said.
“Bitterly disappointed in the officials,” he added later.
“Yeah, I’m bitter,” he concluded.
In case this rivalry needed a reminder of its ferocity, of its fight, of the fierceness that can overwhelm everything, then across another gloriously competitive and brutally violent November afternoon, there they were, Buckeyes and Wolverines and a controversial ending.
Behind an open microphone, Harbaugh was railing now. He played 49 games as a Michigan QB back in the day and 177 more in the NFL. He coached 44 games in the NFL and 110 more in the college ranks and he said he’d never seen worse officiating, never saw a game decided by the refs like this.
“Not at this level,” Harbaugh said.
His bones of contention were four-pronged.
A pass interference that extended Ohio State’s game-tying fourth-quarter drive that he deemed “a gift.”
“The ball was uncatchable,” Harbaugh said. “Past the receiver when Delano Hill made contact.”
Then, to make matters worse, there was what he deemed a missed pass interference by Ohio State on Michigan’s Grant Perry that would have given a first down in double overtime. Instead Michigan had to kick a fruitless field goal.
“Fast forward to the second OT and Grant Perry is getting hooked, turned,” Harbaugh vented before returning to the pass interference that was called. “And that really benefited them, that gift interference penalty.”
There was also a misconduct penalty on himself for throwing papers in the air after he protested an offside call in the third quarter. Harbaugh said an official who also calls basketball games explained it was worth a flag because “it would have been a technical in basketball …
“Well,” Harbaugh steamed, “this isn’t basketball.”
And finally, a ball spot on the game’s penultimate play, a fourth-down, game-on-the-line J.T. Barrett carry that ended either on or just short of the 15-yard line. Harbaugh was convinced it was short. The ref said it was on the 15. A replay review held up the spot.
“That wasn’t a first down,” Harbaugh said.
Was it? Wasn’t it? The play will be debated with such vengeance that it’s impossible to rule out that it could ignite a border war near Toledo, or at least some bar-room brawls for a decade or so.
The situation was simple, Ohio State facing fourth-and-1 on the Michigan 16-yard line. Meyer chose to go for it rather than attempting to tie the game via a Tyler Durbin field goal, perhaps in part because Durbin missed a fourth-quarter chip shot.”
H/T: Yahoo Sports