Where were you the moment Appalachian State pulled off one of the true college football stunners of all time? I was actually in the car heading to a friend’s birthday party in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania listening to a Penn State game on the radio and getting sporadic updates on what was happening in Ann Arbor. So I missed the moment as it happened.
It has been 10 years since Appalachian State scored the biggest win in program history. The Mountaineers may have won a couple of national championships, but no win will ever be viewed as more monumental than the afternoon they shocked the college football world by pulling off an upset in the Big House against No. 5 Michigan.
Now sit back and listen to the local radio call of the biggest moment in school history.
Michigan started the 2007 season ranked fifth in the nation, but Appalachian State was no pushover. Before North Dakota State went on the run they have been having, Appalachian State was doing something similar. Having already won back-to-back national titles in the FCS, the Mountaineers were a preseason No. 1 with the kind of offensive skill that could exploit a relatively slower defensive team from the FBS. Michigan was ripe for the picking for Appalachian State, led by quarterback Armanti Edwards. The game plan for Appalachian State was simple in concept; expose Michigan in the middle of the field, where open space would be available and speed could create big plays.
Appalachian State scored three touchdowns in the second quarter to take a stunning 28-17 lead into halftime. If they were not confident already in their chances, going to the locker room certainly gave a nice boost to the upset-minded FCS school getting paid $400,000 to play the game.
Michigan did clamp down in the second half, as was expected of a team with a deeper roster in terms of size and depth. Mike Hart scored two touchdowns in the second half to help give Michigan a 32-31 lead, but Appalachian State but put together a seven-play drive over 69 yards to notch a 24-yard field goal to reclaim the lead with little time remaining. Needing a drive to setup a game-winning field goal, Chad Henne completed a 46-yard pass to Mario Manningham to set up a 37-yard field goal. For the moment, it seemed that Michigan was about to breathe a serious sigh of relief with six seconds to play.
The field goal was blocked by Corey Lynch and the return ran the remaining seconds off the clock, leaving Michigan fans dumbfounded. The moment was watched closely by fans at other football stadiums around the country too, most notably in the Big Ten:
Here is a nice troll job by some members of the Ohio State marching band:
In East Lansing:
And here is how students at Penn State reacted:
It was certainly one of those moments in college football that you may remember forever and where you were when it happened, perhaps just like the Kick Six a few years ago that sent Auburn to the SEC Championship Game (and eventually the BCS National Championship Game) instead of Alabama. We didn’t know that Michigan would later go on to prove to be not such a great team. They got smacked the following week at home by Oregon after plummeting out of the top 25 entirely, although they did score a victory at the end of the year against Tim Tebow, Urban Meyer and Florida.
The Appalachian State-Michigan game just so happened to be the first college football game broadcast by the brand new Big Ten Network. The game will forever be recognized as one of the greatest upsets of all time, and the Big Ten Network still shows it to this day, but it had to be a bit of a humbling experience to have the No. 5 team upset by an FCS program in the first game in the conference’s network history.
Today, Appalachian State has made the jump to FBS, and their most recent trip to Ann Arbor was nowhere near as memorable, losing 52-14.. Appalachian State hopes to recapture some of that magic with a game this weekend at Georgia. Though the impact would be less than it was a decade ago, a win in Athens would help spark Appalachian State once again as they look to be a top contender in the Sun Belt Conference this season.