Biggest Upset Ever in College Football?
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - What was supposed to be a tuneup turned into a stunner: Appalachian State 34, No. 5 Michigan 32. Julian Rauch's 24-yard field goal with 26 seconds left put the Mountaineers ahead of the Wolverines and Corey Lynch's blocked field goal in the final seconds sealed one of college football's biggest upsets.
The two-time defending champions from former Division I-AA were ahead of the nation's winningest program 28-14 late in the second quarter, then their storybook afternoon seemed to unravel late in the fourth quarter.
Mike Hart's 54-yard run put the Wolverines ahead—for the first time since early in the second quarter—with 4:36 left.
One snap after the go-ahead touchdown, Brandent Englemon intercepted an errant pass, but the Wolverines couldn't capitalize and had their first of two field goals blocked.
Appalachian State drove 69 yards without a timeout in 1:11 to set up the go-ahead kick, but it still wasn't over.
Chad Henne threw a 46-yard pass to Mario Manningham, giving Michigan the ball at Appalachian State's 20 with 6 seconds left.
Lynch blocked the kick and returned it to the other end of the field as the final seconds ticked off, and his teammates rushed across the field to pile on Lynch as the coaching staff and cheerleaders jumped with joy.
Appalachian State has won 15 straight games, the longest streak in the nation.
The Mountaineers are favored to win the Football Championship Subdivision—formerly known as Division I-AA—but they weren't expected to put up much of a fight against a team picked to win the Big Ten and contend for the national title.
Alas, that's the beauty of college football.
No Division I-AA team had beaten a team ranked in The Associated Press poll from 1989-2006, and it's unlikely that it happened after Division-I subdivisions were created in 1978.
Appalachian State's win does seem to pass the one second-tier programs used to regard as their crowning achievement—The Citadel's season- opening win in 1992 over Arkansas that led to the firing of Razorbacks coach Jack Crowe following the game.
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr will not get fired after this upset, but he might've wished he retired after last season when the Wolverines won 11 games and played in the Rose Bowl.
Carr will likely second-guess a lot from the game, and the practices that led to it, and might regret going for 2-point conversions twice in the final 15-plus minutes.
After Appalachian State went ahead 31-20, Hart scored with 24 seconds left in the third quarter and the 2-point conversion failed as Carr tried to pull within a field goal. Following Hart's late TD that put Michigan ahead by one, Carr couldn't justify kicking the extra point and backup running back Brandon Minor stumbled to the turf.
The Mountaineers improved to 7-36-1 against top-tier teams since 1978, beating a team other than Wake Forest in such matchups for the first time.
Since beating Wake Forest in 2000, they had been respectable against strong programs, trailing LSU and JaMarcus Russell by two touchdowns entering the fourth quarter before losing 24-0 in 2005 and leading Auburn late in the third before losing by a TD in 1999.
But Appalachian State proved it belonged from start to finish, making up for a slight size disadvantage with more speed.
Quarterback Armanti Edwards threw for 227 yards, three scores and two interceptions while he kept Michigan guessing with enough skills running to have 62 yards rushing. Dexter Jackson caught three passes for 92 yards, and scored twice, including a 68-yard reception that tied the game early and provided a glimpse of what was coming over the next three hours.
Hart, who went almost two quarters without a carry because of an injury, ran for 188 yards and three touchdowns. Henne was 19-of-37 for 233 yards in a lackluster game that included a TD and an interception in Mountaineer territory.