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Michigan's Jim Harbaugh not happy with officiating in Penn State game

Sam Cooper
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Jim Harbaugh was not happy about the officiating in Michigan’s 28-21 loss to Penn State on Saturday night.

After the game, Harbaugh — who was asked about UM’s final offensive play — brought up the officiating unprompted.

"It'll be interesting to compare some of the different scenarios in the game, in terms of the calls," Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh was skeptical about a holding penalty assessed to defensive back Lavert Hill, especially when comparing it to some of the non-calls on Penn State later in the game.

"Some of our receivers were getting tackled there on the last couple plays of that drive,” Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh also thought Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth got away with offensive pass interference on the play where he caught a touchdown pass in the first quarter. Michigan was hit with two OPI penalties later in the game.

“The OPI they called on us versus the OPI that I thought should've been called on them on their first touchdown. As far as the officiating goes, it will be interesting to compare some of those,” Harbaugh said.

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA - OCTOBER 19:  Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines discusses a previous play with a line judge during the fourth quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions on October 19, 2019 at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania. Penn State defeats Michigan 28-21.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was not happy with some of the officiating against Penn State on Saturday night. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

Harbaugh: ‘Sometimes it’s not fair’

On Monday, after having had the time to review the tape of the PSU game, Harbaugh seemed ready to move on, but still said things weren’t “fair” on Saturday night.

“There were some, definitely. And you have a human reaction of what your human reactions are. And then sometimes it’s not fair. I learned a long time ago the only fair is the county fair,” Harbaugh said. “If you expect it, then you’ll be disappointed sometimes. Yeah. Looked at those. Make no excuses and continue onward.”

Harbaugh’s team showed a lot of fight in a hostile environment, coming back from a 21-0 deficit to nearly tie the game in the final minutes. Trailing 28-21, Michigan drove inside the five-yard line and nearly tied the game, but a fourth-down pass from Shea Patterson to Ronnie Bell fell incomplete in the end zone. Bell dropped the pass, and was shown in tears on the sideline.

In the aftermath, Bell caught some flak from fans. Harbaugh was quick to stick up for his receiver on Monday.

“We would take as many Ronnie Bells as we could possibly get on this team,” Harbaugh said. “How far he’s come, what he does for our team, the way he played in the game, he was one of our top performers. Tough as nails. Mentally as tough as anybody we got, physically the same. So we’ll take as many Ronnie Bells as possible.”

The Wolverines, now ranked No. 19 in the country, dropped to 5-2 with the loss. Next on the schedule is a home game against No. 8 Notre Dame on Saturday.

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