Technically, Saturday’s Ohio State-Michigan game ended when the Buckeyes’ Curtis Samuel scored a 15-yard touchdown in double overtime for a 30-27 win. But to hear some Wolverines tell it, the game was decided by an unfair officiating crew.
At a postgame news conference, Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh said he was “bitterly disappointed in the officials.” Harbaugh was particularly incensed by a ruling that Ohio State had barely made a first down on a crucial, late-game fourth-down play, one in which it appeared that Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett may have come up short.
He also pointed to a play in the second overtime in which the Buckeyes were not called for defensive pass interference on a third-down play. Michigan settled for a field goal, then lost on Samuel’s end-zone jaunt shortly afterward.
Harbaugh was not the only member of the Wolverines pointing the finger at the officiating crew. Senior cornerback Channing Stribling tweeted after the game that the “refs got paid.”
Another Michigan cornerback, Jourdan Lewis, was revealed on Twitter to have been complaining about the officials. Ohio State running back Mike Weber, a Detroit-area high school teammate of Lewis’s, tweeted out a image of a text-message exchange between them.
The Wolverines certainly had reason to be upset as the agonizingly close loss may have cost them a berth in this year’s College Football Playoff. On the other hand, they could also blame themselves as the team committed three extremely costly turnovers and allowed the Buckeyes to come back from a 17-7 third-quarter deficit.