I-A College Football News
Big shocker in the Big House
Sep 1, 2007, 20:07 GMT
Ann Arbor, MI - Julian Rauch kicked a 24-yard field goal with 26 seconds remaining to give Appalachian State the lead and Corey Lynch blocked a last-second field goal attempt by Michigan's Jason Gingell, as the Mountaineers stunned the fifth-ranked Wolverines with a 34-32 victory in one of the biggest upsets in college football history.
Armanti Edwards threw for three touchdowns and ran for another score for the Mountaineers (1-0), who are the top-ranked team in the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-AA. Coming off back-to-back I-AA titles, Appalachian State was not intimidated by the crowd of more than 109,000 in the Big House.
'That may be one of the great victories in college football -- maybe the greatest,' said Appalachian State head coach Jerry Moore. 'This victory today -- you've got to remember these kids have won two national championships -- and this is not bigger than those because the championships are in our league, our division. We're the best that year. But they will never ever forget today's experience as long as they live.'
Appalachian State opened a lead of 28-14 in the second quarter and led 31-20 in the third before Michigan stormed back to move in front on a pair of Mike Hart touchdown runs.
The Wolverines had a chance to salt it away, but could not run out the clock and Gingell missed a 43-yard field goal try with 1:37 to play.
Edwards then directed a seven-play, 69-yard drive for the go-ahead score. He started it with an 18-yard run and added passes of 20 and 24 yards to set up Rauch's kick.
Michigan had little time, but Chad Henne found Mario Manningham with a 46-yard pass to the Appalachian State 20 with just six seconds remaining. Gingell then set up for a 37-yard attempt, but Lynch stormed through the line and blocked it. He also scooped it up and rumbled the other way before being tackled as time expired.
'I know I had to block the field goal,' said Lynch. 'I had to step up and make a play for my team. I've been practicing for a week field goal blocking -- only one week. I had to get my timing down and it paid off today.'
Edwards was the unquestioned star for the Mountaineers. He finished 17-of-23 passing for 227 yards, after a near-perfect 10-of-11 effort in the opening half, and totaled 62 yards on the ground.
Hart tried to save Michigan (0-1), which lost a season-opener for the first time since 1998. The Heisman Trophy candidate finished with 188 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries. His two scoring runs in the second half put the Wolverines ahead.
'It's a huge win for them, obviously, and a huge loss for us,' said Hart. 'But we have to regroup, it's a long season.'
The Mountaineers held an 11-point lead late in the third, but their upset hopes appeared to dwindle away.
Michigan recovered a fumble at the Appalachian State 31 late in the third quarter and the offense took advantage of the short field as Hart scored on a four-yard run. Henne, though, lost control of the snap on the ensuing two- point conversion attempt and was stopped short of the goal line, leaving the Wolverines down 31-26 heading to the fourth quarter.
After a punt, Michigan took over on the Appalachian State 34 in prime position to finally regain the lead, but Henne was picked off by Leonard Love at the 15-yard line.
Michigan's next offensive series ended with a fourth-down incomplete pass by Henne at the ASU 33, but the Wolverines got the ball right back after a punt and Hart zig-zagged across the field for a 54-yard touchdown run on the very next play to put his team ahead. Again, Michigan was unable to convert the two-point try.
'Give Appalachian State credit. I thought they did a great job. I felt that we were not a well prepared football team. That is my job and I take full responsibility for that,' said dejected Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr.
Edwards' first try to rally his team ended after one play when he was picked off by Brandent Englemon at the ASU 43. The Wolverines, however, were unable to run out the remaining 4:25 and had to settle for Gingell's field goal try that was partially blocked, setting up the wild finish.
'We didn't execute,' Carr remarked. 'We simply made too many mistakes and had too many missed opportunities. Now we have to fight back and we have to deal with some adversity to find out what we are made of.'
Michigan wasted little time reaching the end zone, as Hart's 33-yard jaunt led to his four-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead just 2 1/2 minutes into the game.
But any thought that this would be a walkover was quickly erased when Appalachian State answered with a 68-yard touchdown strike from Edwards to Dexter Jackson. The quick slant pass covered only a few yards, but Jackson was able to sprint away from the Michigan secondary for the score.
'We knew they had a great team, great team speed,' Hart added. I don't think we played as well we could, but they played a great game.'
After a trade of punts, the Wolverines again found the end zone with a 10-yard pass from Henne to Greg Matthews late in the first quarter. Again, Appalachian State immediately answered when Edwards hit Hans Batichon with a nine-yard TD pass just under 90 seconds into the second quarter.
The Mountaineers also scored on their next possession when Jackson caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Edwards for a 21-14 lead with 9:47 to play in the half.
Michigan followed with a march to the Appalachian State 35, but a fourth-down pass fell incomplete and the Mountaineer offense again went on the attack. Edwards converted 3rd-and-5 with a 21-yard scamper to the Michigan eight and soon followed with a six-yard touchdown run to increase the lead to 14 points.
Appalachian State's defense then held the Wolverines out of the end zone in the final seconds of the half, as Gingell booted a 22-yard field goal to pull Michigan within 28-17 heading to the locker room.
Michigan came out fired up to start the second half and Morgan Trent picked off an Edwards pass on the second play after the kickoff. However, the offense stalled and managed only a 42-yard field goal from Gingell.
Edwards didn't let the interception deter him on the next Appalachian State possession, as he guided the Mountaineers to a 31-yard field goal by Rauch for a 31-20 lead midway through the third period.
Rauch hit the right upright on a 46-yard field goal try on ASU's next series.
The Wolverines' last season-opening loss was a 36-20 setback at Notre Dame in 1998...Michigan has lost three in a row dating back to last season...Appalachian State has won 15 straight games...Henne finished 19-of-37 for 233 yards...This was the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
© 2007 The Sports Network