Was He Short or Did He Make It...Watch for Yourself

J.T. Barrett's fourth-down conversion in 2016 Michigan game back in spotlight
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There aren't many, perhaps any, Ohio State fans who want to exonerate Jim Harbaugh for his failure to defeat the Buckeyes in any of his five tries so far.

But if you're into proving Harbaugh is an incessant whiner and that his most infamous sideline beef lacks merit, you'll want to pay close attention Thursday when ESPN re-airs the 2016 OSU-Michigan game.

That's the installment of the rivalry the Buckeyes won, 30-27, in double-overtime on Curtis Samuel's 15-yard touchdown run.

Samuel's run, though, isn't the play that's most memorable, or controversial from that game.

It's what happened one snap before.

Harbaugh believed, and still does, this Michigan defense stopped Barrett short of making the necessary yardage to continue the possession on fourth-and-one from the Wolverines' 16-yard line.

Barrett crashed into several defenders and was awarded the first down, which went to replay without reversal.

Harbaugh believed Barrett was short, and protested vociferously, to no avail.

Referee Dan Capron lamented the lack of a camera on the 15-yard line to the Chicago Tribune and labeled ESPN's failure, "broadcasting malpractice."

Samuel scored on the next play, but it was his eight-yard gain on a third-and-nine swing pass that gets overlooked in the controversy that prevails to this day.

Michigan, leading 27-24, had Samuel hemmed in along the right sideline at the 28 yard line. Had he been tackled there, Ohio State would have faced a fourth-and-13 and likely had to try a field goal to tie.

OSU's Tyler Durbin had missed a 21-yard field goal attempt with seven minutes left. Although he converted from 23 yards out with one second remaining in regulation to send the game to overtime, putting the outcome on a tying Durbin attempt from from 45 yards -- or converting on fourth-and-13 -- would perhaps have changed the outcome.

What that one win might have done for Harbaugh in rebuilding Michigan to a level closer to, or even with, Ohio State, we'll never know.

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