August 25, 2022

Arrow Beyond the Call: Michigan upset by App State


September 1, 2007,         Appalachian State 34 – Michigan 32


What was the greatest upset in college football history?  Many historians point towards the Praying Colonels of tiny Centre College ending Harvard’s 25-game unbeaten streak in 1921.  The students back in Danville, Kentucky were so excited they painted the score (C-6, H-0) in large letters on administration building, where it remains 102 years later.

A more recent upset also resulted in some equally outlandish student behavior when Appalachian State went on the road and knocked off #5 Michigan 34-32.  Even though the game was played some 625 miles to the north, ASU students went to their own stadium, tore down a goal post and delivered it to the home of the school’s Chancellor.

The season opener featured a Michigan team with returning stars such as Chad Henne (QB), Mike Hart (RB), Mario Manningham (WR) and Jake Long (OT) and looked primed for a national championship run.  App State was the two-time FCS (then I-AA) national champion; however, a FCS team had never beaten a ranked FBS team in college football. The Wolverines were considered such outlandish favorites that Las Vegas didn’t even bother to post a betting line on the game.

The game was the first-ever broadcast on the new Big Ten network.  Viewers saw Michigan take a quick 7-0 lead on a Hart TD run.  At that point the teams traded touchdowns until the Mountaineers broke a 14-14 tie to go up 21-14.  They extended the edge to 28-14 before a UM FG sent the teams to the locker room with App State leading 28-17.

In the second half, Michigan eventually took the lead at 32-31 on a 54-yard Hart TD run.  But the Wolverines could have been up more failing on two two-point conversion attempts.  With 1:37 left, ASU went 69-yards kicking a field goal to go ahead 34-32.  Michigan only had 24 seconds to work with, but a 46-yard Henne to Manningham pass set up a game-saving 37-yard field goal with six seconds to play.  But safety Corey Lynch raced from the edge, blocked the kick, recovered the ball, and ran to the Michigan six-yard line bringing an end to the contest.

A wild aftermath in Boone was to be expected as was a stunned and shocked crowd of 109,000 in Ann Arbor.  But the upset also set off a rash of schadenfreude throughout the Big Ten as once hearing the score, fans at Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan State cheered excitedly reveling in the misery of their conference rival.

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