Penalties take luster off dominating Michigan victory

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh did not agree with all 13 penalties called against team in Saturday's win over SMU, including a roughing-the-passer infraction whistled against Aidan Hutchinson in fourth quarter.

Ann Arbor — Michigan had 434 total yards against SMU. The Wolverines had 237 yards passing and 197 rushing. They also had 137 yards on 13 penalties.

They entered Saturday’s game with 14 penalties and now have 244 penalty yards through three games. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was particularly mystified by a targeting call on Khaleke Hudson in the third quarter.

“My thought on that, are we going down that road of we’re going to review every play in that box area?” Harbaugh said after Michigan’s 45-20 victory over SMU at Michigan Stadium. “Running backs are going to be going through there, they’re going to be lowering their head and defenders are going to battle to see who can get lower when you have a runner versus a tackler.

“Interesting it wasn’t called on the field, it came from the booth. That seems like a high level of scrutiny to be placing on a play between the tackles.”

Defensive end Chase Winovich said the penalties will be “fixed and corrected.”

“When you’re out there, it’s so tough to gauge how a penalty is judged,” Winovich said. “The Khaleke one is the only one I can really comment on and I just don’t think it was, I’ve got to see it again, but I just don’t know how they call that when he’s a runner. He’s running the ball.”

Harbaugh said they will back and evaluate each of the penalties. The Wolverines were burned early in the Notre Dame loss because of key defensive penalties that helped keep drives alive for the Irish who took a quick 14-0 lead.

“I know some of them were penalties and penalties are hurting us,” Harbaugh said of the 13 in the SMU game. “That’s something we have to clean up and get better at. You address each of them, the technique we’re using, the discipline we have and get them corrected and coached and improve. We don’t want 13 penalties in a game. I don’t think anybody does who’s rooting for Michigan. Coach them and get them addressed.

“We had two on offense, a holding on Tru (Wilson) and a false start by Zach (Gentry). That definitely was legit. I didn’t see the Tru penalty. You go back and look at them and evaluate them and look at the technique and what they’re being taught, take each one of them and address them through coaching, through discipline.

“There’s going to be a couple, yeah, I don’t agree with them now and I don’t think I’m going to change my mind when I see the tape. Wait until you see that. We also turn them into the Big Ten office and get their feedback. That helps us address them.”

Which ones did Harbaugh disagree with?

“The one with Aidan Hutchinson at the end,” Harbaugh said, referring to a roughing the passer penalty. “It seems like a quarterback that’s throwing, that’s leaning back and throwing it out of bounds, he’s going to land on his back. I don’t think Aidan pulled him back and drove him into the ground. He tackled him. Saw that one pretty clear.”