It was a cold fall afternoon in Columbus, Ohio at about 4:00pm on November 26th, 2016 when JT Barrett handed the ball off to Curtis Samuel who ran it into for a touchdown. This sealed the win for the Ohio State Buckeyes after a long, back and forth game with 2 overtimes. It also assures the Buckeyes that they will be headed to the playoffs. The atmosphere was breathtaking as the fans stormed the field, players hugged their families, Urban Meyer had a beautiful moment with his son and LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers looked on with pride. The biggest game in sports had just been played, Ohio State vs Michigan. As the evening started to slow down and the respected coaches headed to their press conferences, Jim Harbaugh had the audacity to say, “It wasn’t a first down. I thought there were some outrageous calls, including one that blatantly ended the game. They had a good camera angle on it, the ball doesn’t make it to the line, gave them a first down.” Really Jim? Really? But it wasn’t just him, players and fans alike only care about the 1st down basically blaming that on their loss. Nobody is discussing the real reasons they lost.
Let’s begin with the quarterback, Wilton Speight. Don’t get me wrong, he had a fantastic game, but what about the game changing mistakes he made? Ohio State’s first touchdown was from him throwing an interception. Then to begin the 3rd quarter when he is a yard from scoring, he fumbles the ball and it is recovered by Ohio State. Then to end the 3rd quarter, he intercepts the ball which eventually leads to Ohio State getting a touchdown making the score 17-14. Is this really not part of Michigan’s loss or are we just going to continue to ignore it?
Next let’s talk about running into the Ohio State kicker which ended in Ohio State getting a 1st down. Not a huge play that ended in a touchdown but come on Michigan you did this twice during the Iowa game did you not learn?
Then there's the coach, Jim Harbaugh. He threw his play sheet, broke his head set and yelled some expletives which gave Ohio State first and goal at the 6 which ended in the 17-14 touchdown. Did that also have no part in Michigan's loss?
And there’s just the simple stats such as Ohio States 24 first downs, while Michigan’s 17. Ohio State’s one turnover, instead of Michigan’s three, 1 fumble and 2 interceptions. Ohio State’s 330 total yards and Michigan’s 310 total yards. Or Ohio State scoring 30 and Michigan scoring 27.
So was the first down really the reason Michigan lost? Both teams made plenty of mistakes, but one team made one too many which ended in their own demise. When you lose, you cannot blame one play on your loss. If those mistakes wouldn't of happened this could have been a whole different game.
Finally Michigan, here is your photo evidence that it was in fact a 1st down.