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Breana Bacon | | September 1, 2017

10-year anniversary of App. State's unforgettable upset over Michigan

On Sept. 1, 2007, Appalachian State staged one of the greatest upsets in college football.

Friday, Sept. 1 marks one decade since arguably one of the greatest upsets in college football transpired in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

On this day in 2007, Appalachian State stunned the football world, beating then-ranked No. 5 Michigan 34-32 at "The Big House."

Even after ESPN's "30 for 30" documentary on the game, the season-opening upset win still has some scratching their heads. The question still lingers as for how an FCS team that was reported by the Associated Press to be nothing more than "sacrificial lambs" delivered such a humbling loss to the Wolverines, who clobbered fellow national power Notre Dame 38-0 two weeks later.

The Mountaineers' win was full of firsts and left quite an impact on college football.

The trip to Ann Arbor was the first time star quarterback Armanti Edwards had ever been on a plane. "When we went up, my stomach dropped," he'd tell Sports Illustrated in an interview before the two teams met for a rematch in 2014. Edwards passed for 227 yards and three touchdowns that Saturday afternoon.

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The game was the first broadcasted on Big Ten Network, which was making its debut. It also was the first time a FCS team beat a ranked team from the FBS. Ever. North Dakota State joined the Mountaineers on this short list with a win at then-No. 11 Iowa last season.

Appalachian State had a strong second quarter at Michigan Stadium that September afternoon, outscoring the Wolverines 21-3 to enter the locker room at the half leading 28-17. Michigan rallied in the fourth quarter, thanks to Appalachian State turnovers and a beautifully-run 54-yard touchdown by running back Mike Hart with less than five minutes left in regulation. Hart's score gave the Wolverines a one-point advantage.

But the Mountaineers didn't fold in. App State drove down the field to set up a 24-yard field goal for kicker Julian Raunch that put the Mountaineers back ahead by two with 26 seconds left. Despite Michigan's quick burst back down the field, a blocked field goal attempt by Corey Lynch would seal the jaw-dropping upset.

Michigan dropped out of the AP Top 25 rankings the very next week — the first time a top five team dropped that far after a single week. The Associated Press then also amended its polling methods to include FCS teams, making App State the first DI-AA program to receive votes in the AP poll. The Mountaineers tied South Florida for 34th place. 

Appalachian State went on to win its third consecutive FCS title in 2007, finishing the season with a 13-2 record. The Mountaineers smothered Delaware, led by current Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, 49-21. 

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Michigan did not fare as well following the crushing defeat. With the App State game virtually ending any national championship hopes that year, the Wolverines finished 9-4 and with a No. 18 final ranking. Head coach Lloyd Carr retired after Michigan's win over Florida in that season's Capital One Bowl.

Appalachian State and Michigan met again in 2014, the first year the Mountaineers became a member of the FBS. This time, there were no repeat surprises. Michigan came away with a 52-14 victory. 

  These two teams met for a second time in 2014.
In the decade since the shocking upset, several more FCS teams have upended FBS opponents in early season matchups. A record 16 would happen in 2013. Ten happened last season, including the Bison's statement in Iowa. But as the Mountaineers now prepare to take on No. 15 Georgia on Saturday, it's hard not to remember the win back in 2007 that proved that sometimes, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. 

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