2007 Appalachian State vs. Michigan football game
|2007 Appalachian State vs. Michigan|
|Date||September 1, 2007|
|Location||Ann Arbor, Michigan|
|Favorite||Michigan (no betting line)|
|United States TV coverage|
|Network||Big Ten Network|
|Announcers||Thom Brennaman (play-by-play)
Charles Davis (analyst)
Charissa Thompson (sideline)
The 2007 Appalachian State vs. Michigan football game was a regular-season college football game between the Appalachian State Mountaineers and Michigan Wolverines, held at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan on September 1, 2007. The Wolverines entered the game ranked No. 5 in both major Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) polls, and were considered the preseason favorites to win the Big Ten conference championship as well as possible contenders for the national championship. The Mountaineers entered the game ranked No. 1 in The Sports Network's Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) poll, and were preseason favorites to win their third consecutive FCS national championship.
Games between FBS and FCS teams typically result in lopsided victories for the FBS team, due to the status of the FBS as the upper-tier of Division I football. The Appalachian State-Michigan game was not expected to be an exception, with the predicted outcome being a lopsided victory for Michigan; Las Vegas sportsbooks refused to present a betting line for the game. The game, broadcast on the Big Ten Network, began with a strong first half for Appalachian State, who held a 28-17 lead at the end of the half. Michigan managed to regain the lead at 32-31 in the fourth quarter, but Appalachian State regained the lead on a short field goal with 26 seconds left in the game. The Mountaineers blocked a game-winning field goal attempt from Michigan at the end of regulation to secure a 34-32 win. The game was immediately hailed as one of the greatest upsets in college football history. Appalachian State became the first FCS team to defeat a ranked FBS team, and as a result of the game Michigan dropped out of the top 25 of the AP Poll entirely, the first time a team had dropped out of the top five of the poll as the result of a single game. In the aftermath of the game, the Associated Press decided to amend their polling policy to make FCS teams eligible for the AP Poll, which had previously been limited to FBS teams.
The Appalachian State Mountaineers would finish the 2007 season with a 13-2 record, winning a third consecutive FCS title. They also became the first FCS team to receive votes in the final AP Poll, tying South Florida for the 34th overall ranking. Michigan finished their season 9-4, winning the Capital One Bowl and ranking at No. 18 in the AP Poll. A rematch of the game is scheduled for the 2014 seasons of both teams, to be played at Michigan Stadium.
Divisions and subdivisions 
The NCAA is split into three Divisions: Division I, Division II, and Division III. The universities and colleges in each Division are determined by criteria such as the number of sports each school offers. Members of Division I and Division II can offer scholarships, while Division III schools can not offer scholarships. Division I is considered the top flight of NCAA athletics. Division I football is itself split into two subdivisions: the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), whose members vie for positions in bowl games, and the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), whose championship is determined by a playoff system. These two subdivisions were formerly known as Division I-A and Division I-AA, respectively. The FBS is considered the tier at which major Division I universities play, while the FCS is a tier in which "more modest" programs compete. FBS members are allowed to have up to 85 scholarship players, while the FCS is only allowed to have up to 63 scholarship players. One of the major differences between the two subdivisions is that the FBS teams vie to play in bowl games, while FCS teams aim to qualify for a postseason tournament. The two subdivisions were created in 1978, and no other Division I sports are split in such a manner. The difference between the two subdivisions is great enough that John V. Lombardi, a former chancellor at FCS-level UMass and a former president at FBS-level Florida and Louisiana State, said that "even a crummy team in I-A football has higher visibility than a great team in I-AA".
FBS teams are allowed to schedule FCS teams, and one win against an FCS team can be counted towards their bowl-eligible status provided the FCS team meets certain scholarship requirements. FCS teams are often paid upwards of 500,000 USD for participating in games against FBS teams. This arrangement generally results in lopsided losses for FCS teams; as of 2012, FBS schools hold a .820 winning percentage against FCS teams, with an overall record of 1,838 wins, 396 losses, and 18 ties. The average margin of victory in these games is 18.5 points, in favor of the FBS team. However, the money FCS schools earn from games against FBS is important towards funding their athletic departments, and the games offer a broader exposure for their athletic programs.
Appalachian State has routinely scheduled FBS teams, having played games against schools such as LSU, Auburn, Kansas, and NC State. Appalachian State had won six of these games, all of them against Wake Forest. Michigan, a historic college football power with a large fan base, had never played an FCS team. While attempting to determine the amount of money Appalachian State would be paid for playing Michigan, negotiations between the two schools reached a halt. Appalachian State's head coach, Jerry Moore, went to school officials and urged them to accept any offer Michigan gave them; he recalled telling them that "It's an opportunity game. It'll be a one-shot, once-in-a-lifetime deal to go up there and play. It's an unbelievable environment". Appalachian State ultimately settled on a 400,000 USD payment in return for playing against Michigan to open the 2007 season.
Michigan was expected to handily defeat Appalachian State, who entered the game as underdogs by at least three touchdowns. The game was expected to be such a mismatch that Las Vegas sports books refused to offer a betting line. The day before the game, an Associated Press article said that the Mountaineers were "almost certain to lose badly" and "aren't expected to be anything more than sacrificial lambs". Another article predicted that Michigan would easily win, but that Michigan's inexperienced secondary could possibly be tested by quarterback Armanti Edwards. This weakness is what the Mountaineers hoped to capitalize on - they spent most of the week leading up to the game studying game film, and felt the Michigan defense had a tendency to leave the middle of the field defenseless. On the other hand, the Mountaineers lacked the depth of the Wolverines, having 22 fewer scholarship players.
Appalachian State 
Appalachian State entered the game as the No. 1 team in the preseason FCS poll from The Sports Network, receiving 67 out of 70 first-place votes. The team had won the last two FCS National Championships and were favorites to win a third consecutive one. They entered the game on a 14-game winning streak, the longest in Division I at the time, and had an overall record of 6-34-1 against major FBS teams, with each of their six wins having come against Wake Forest. The Mountaineers' ran a no-huddle, spread option system, which they implemented in 2005, their first championship season. Two of the major weapons for the team were Edwards, who had scored 15 passing touchdowns and 15 rushing touchdowns in 2006, and running back Kevin Richardson, who had scored an FCS-record 30 rushing touchdowns in 2006.
Michigan entered the game as the No. 5-ranked team in the country and favorites to win the Big Ten conference. They were expected to contend for a national championship. Michigan featured a strong senior class of offensive tackle Jake Long, tailback Mike Hart, and quarterback Chad Henne, each of whom had decided to stay for their senior year. Their decision was attributed to Michigan having lost their last three games to rival Ohio State and their streak of three consecutive bowl losses, and they all wanted to finish their college careers on a high note. The Wolverine offense was expected to be among the best in college football. Michigan aimed to open the game in a three-receiver set.
Game summary 
The game was broadcast on the Big Ten Network, and was the first game to be broadcast on that channel. The Big Ten Network had approximately 17 million subscribers at the time, most of which came from a deal with DirecTV. Only a small number of Wolverine fans were able to watch the game, as Comcast and Charter, two of the major cable television providers in the state of Michigan, did not carry the Big Ten Network. Thom Brennaman provided play-by-play commentary, Charles Davis performed as the color analyst, and Charissa Thompson reported from the sidelines.
First quarter 
Michigan received the ball first, with Mike Massey returning the Julian Rauch kick to the Michigan 33-yard line. Michigan gained a first down after converting a 3rd and 1 with a three-yard run by Mike Hart. Chad Henne then completed an eighteen yard pass to Massey and recorded a 33-yard rush, pushing Michigan to the four-yard line of Appalachian State. Hart then ran the ball in for a touchdown, and the ensuing extra point attempt made the score 7 to 0. Appalachian State's CoCo Hillary took the kickoff to the 26-yard line of the Mountaineers. After the Mountaineers opened with a run for no gain and a six-yard completion, Armanti Edwards completed a 68-yard touchdown pass to Dexter Jackson. The extra point was converted, tying the game at 7 all. The following two drives resulted in three-and-outs for both teams but after a Mountaineer punt went out of bounds at the Michigan 48-yard line, the Wolverines mounted a ten-play, 52-yard drive culminating in a 10-yard touchdown pass from Henne to Greg Matthews. The extra point gave Michigan a 14 to 7 lead. Appalachian State started their drive with three minutes and nine seconds left in the half at their own 35-yard line, completing nine plays and driving to the Michigan 36 yard-line before the end of the quarter.
Second quarter 
Following the start of the second quarter, Appalachian State ran another six plays, ending the drive with a 9-yard touchdown pass by Edwards to Hans Batichon. The extra point again evened the score, this time at 14 all. Michigan was forced to a three-and-out and had to punt the ball, with Appalachian State starting their next drive at the Michigan 37. The Mountaineers, on the fifth play of the drive, scored a touchdown on a 20-yard pass from Edwards to Jackson, giving them the lead at 21 to 14. Michigan began their drive at their 20-yard line, and drove down to the Appalachian State 40-yard line in four plays. Their next play, a Brandon Minor run for five yards, was followed by a Minor run for no yards and an incomplete pass. The Wolverines opted to go for it on fourth down but failed to convert, turning the ball over to Appalachian State. The following Mountaineer drive featured nine plays, all of them runs, culminating in a six-yard run by Edwards for a touchdown. The extra point was successful, increasing the Mountaineer lead and making the score 28 to 14. Michigan returned the next kickoff to their 32-yard line, with two minutes and fifteen seconds left on the clock. The Wolverines drove to the Appalachian five yard line, ultimately settling for a field goal with 23 seconds left, cutting Appalachian State's lead to eleven points.
Third quarter 
Appalachian State returned the opening kickoff to their own 36-yard line, but Edwards threw an interception on the second play of the drive. Michigan began their series at the Appalachian State 40-yard line, driving to the 25-yard line before kicking a field goal to decrease the Mountaineer lead to eight points. Appalachian State began play after the kickoff at their own 24-yard line, driving 64 yards in 11 plays and scoring a 31-yard field goal to make the score 31 to 20 in favor of the Mountaineers. After the ensuing kickoff, Michigan ran four plays before Minor fumbled the ball on the fifth. The fumble was recovered by Appalachian State at the Michigan 28-yard line. However, Appalachian State failed to get a first down on the ensuing drive and a 46-yard field goal attempt by Rauch was missed. Michigan went three-and-out on their next drive and had to punt, but a fumble by Edwards on the following Appalachian State drive gave them control of the ball at the Appalachian State 31-yard line. Michigan drove 31 yards over six plays, scoring a touchdown on a 4-yard run by Hart. The Wolverines went for a two-point conversion but failed to convert, making the score 31 to 26 in favor of Appalachian State. Appalachian State received the kickoff at their own 26-yard line with 19 seconds left in the third quarter, and the quarter ended following a six-yard completion by Edwards to Batichon.
Fourth quarter 
Appalachian State continued their drive but were forced to punt after a three-and-out. Michigan began their drive at the Appalachian State 34-yard line, but a Henne pass was intercepted on the fourth play of the drive. Appalachian State began the drive at their own 41-yard line, but were forced to punt after going three-and-out. Michigan got the ball at their own 24-yard line and mounted a nine play, 43 yard drive to the Appalachian State 33-yard line. On the final play, a fourth and five, Henne's pass fell incomplete, turning the ball over to Appalachian State, who were again forced to punt after a three-and-out. After returning the punt to their own 46-yard line, Hart ran the ball 55 yards for a touchdown, giving Michigan the lead 32 to 31. Michigan chose to go for two, but the conversion attempt failed. Edwards was picked off on the first play of the ensuing drive, giving Michigan control of the ball at the Appalachian State 43-yard line. Michigan ran five plays before attempting a 43-yard field goal. The attempt was blocked, however, giving Appalachian State control of the ball with one minute and thirty-seven seconds left. With no timeouts left, the Mountaineers drove 69 yards down the field in one minute and eleven seconds, setting up a Rouch field goal from 24 yards out with 26 seconds left. The attempt was good, giving Appalachian State a 34-32 lead. Michigan regained control of the ball on the ensuing kickoff, and a 46-yard pass from Henne to Mario Manningham gave the Wolverines a 37-yard field goal attempt with six seconds left on the clock. The attempt was blocked by Corey Lynch, securing a 34-32 win by the Mountaineers.
The weather during the game was clear and sunny. Temperatures were in the mid 70s, with wind heading north at 10–15 miles per hour. The game was officiated by J. O'Neill. Overall attendance was 109,218. The game kicked off at 12:07 p.m.and ended at 3:40 p.m., having lasted a total of three hours and forty minutes.
Scoring summary 
Statistical summary 
|3rd Down Conversions||7–13||7–15|
|Time of Possession||31:12||28:48|
Overall, Michigan and Appalachian State finished with a similar number of passing yards, but Michigan finished with significantly more rushing yards. The Wolverines also had more first downs and fewer turnovers than the Mountaineers, but held the ball for a shorter period of time than the Mountaineers. Appalachian State was slightly more efficient on third down than Michigan, and recorded slightly less penalty yards than Michigan.
Appalachian State quarterback Armanti Edwards completed 17 of 23 passes for 227 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions, with an average of 9.9 yards per throw. Kevin Richardson led the team in rushing yards, running the ball 24 times for 88 yards, and Edwards was second on the team with 17 rushes for 62 yards and one touchdown. Edwards accounted for all four Mountaineer touchdowns. Dexter Jackson led the team in receiving, catching three pass for 98 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Michigan quarterback Chad Henne completed 19 of 37 passes for 233 yards, with an average of 6.3 yards per throw and one touchdown and interception. Mike Hart, who missed almost two quarters due to a thigh injury, led Michigan in rushing, recording 188 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries. Greg Matthews led the Wolverines in receiving, accounting for 68 yards and one touchdown on seven catches.
Pierre Banks led the Mountaineers in tackles, recording 12 tackles overall. Banks also recorded the only sack of the game for the Mountaineers and recovered a fumble. Corey Lynch finished second with 11 tackles, in addition to blocking a kick. Leonard Love recorded the only interception of the game for the Mountaineers. For Michigan, Shawn Crable led the team with 10 tackles. Crable also forced a fumble and recorded 1.5 sacks. Chris Graham finished with 9 tackles, the second-most on the Wolverines. Brandent Englemon and Morgan Trent each intercepted a pass, while Tim Jamison, Terrance Taylor, and Will Johnson received full or partial credit for sacks.
Appalachian State 
Appalachian State was unanimously selected the as the No. 1 team in the FCS football poll in the week after their victory against Michigan. After several voters in the AP Poll expressed interest in voting for Appalachian State, the AP amended their policy to allow FCS teams to receive votes. Appalachian State received 19 votes in the week 3 edition of the AP Poll, and 5 votes in the week 4 edition of the AP Poll. Appalachian State extended their winning streak to 17 games before losing to Wofford in week 5. Appalachian State lost to rival Georgia Southern in week 7, dropping them to 5-2 and 2-2 in the Southern Conference, which placed them in a poor position to repeat for a third time as Southern Conference champions. However, the Mountaineers won out the rest of their regular-season schedule to finish 9-2, and their 5-2 Southern Conference record was good enough to earn a share of the SoCon conference title with Wofford, who finished with an identical 5-2 SoCon record. After close victories over James Madison and Eastern Washington in the first two rounds of the FCS playoffs, Appalachian State easily defeated Richmond in the semifinals and Delaware in the championship game, securing their third consecutive FCS National Championship. At the end of the season, the Mountaineers became the first FCS team to receive votes in the final AP Poll. They received five votes, which placed Appalachian State at a tie for 34th overall with South Florida.
Michigan's loss to Appalachian State effectively ended their chances of winning a national championship. The Wolverines dropped out of the top 25 entirely on the AP Poll the following week, the first time a team had missed the top 25 in the AP Poll the week after they were in the top 10. The Wolverines would lose to Oregon 39-7 the following week, the largest margin of defeat for Michigan at Michigan Stadium since 1968. Michigan would go on to win their next eight games, leading the team to rank as high as No. 13 in the AP Poll. After losing their last two games and finishing their regular season at 8-4, Michigan dropped off the poll entirely. Michigan received an invite to the Capital One Bowl, where they defeated Florida 41-35 to finish their season 9-4. Following their win in the Capital One Bowl, Michigan finished at No. 18 in the final AP Poll.
Media reaction 
Thom Brennaman, the game's play-by-play commentator, immediately hailed the game as one of the greatest upsets in the history of sports; sideline reporter Charissa Thompson told coach Jerry Moore that the game was "one of the greatest upsets in college football history". Many media outlets described the game as one of, if not the greatest, upsets in the history of college football, Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports wrote that "This game was supposed to be the prime example of what had gone wrong in money hungry college football. The powers that be had expanded the season a couple years back, adding an extra game so big schools could bring in cream-puff opponents while collecting millions in revenue. Michigan had never played a I-AA opponent in its history. Now we know why, the Wolverines were ducking them. Instead of an easy tune-up for Michigan, Appalachian State leaves with its most profound victory ever and a check for $400,000 that was supposed to be their pay for getting punished". Sports Illustrated writer Stewart Mandel wrote that he felt "utterly unqualified" to put the game into perspective, and said "There’s no logical reason whatsoever this should have happened. But it did. And it wasn’t the slightest bit fluky". He also expressed disappointment that he would not be able to vote for them in his AP Poll ballot, and wrote "It may well turn out that Michigan was grossly overrated, but all I know is this: There will not be 25 other teams that accomplish more this opening weekend than Appalachian State did Saturday. There won’t even be five". Pat Forde of ESPN.com called the game "the most astonishing college football result I can remember", saying "Remember the score: App. State 34, Michigan 32. We'll still be talking about it a few decades from now. Especially in the locker rooms of every huge underdog, where they'll say, "If Appalachian State can beat Michigan, why can't we shock the world, too?". He felt the upset was particularly impressive because "These are the kinds of things that don't normally happen in college football, where the chasm between have and have-not is wider than in any other sport". New York Times writer Viv Bernstein called the game "one of the biggest upsets in college football history" and called it "a stunning upset by any measure". The game was the cover story for the following week's edition of Sports Illustrated featured the game as the cover story, with wide receiver Dexter Jackson featured on the cover.
In 2012, Jerry Hinnen of CBS Sports described the game as "the biggest upset of the past five years of college football", and described it as having "set the table for what proved to be an epically chaotic season in 2007, and four years' worth of headline-making upsets to follow--including what would prove to be the biggest upset in the history of Vegas point-spreads, the first-ever FCS upset of a future BCS conference champion, and arguably the sport's greatest program of all-time falling to a school that's never made a bowl appearance. Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports said in 2012 that "We may never see its likes again". He felt that "The result reminded us why the college game is the best. It reminded us that when the planets and goalposts align, anything is possible. Just not that often". He felt that such a result would become more unlikely in the future, as many conferences are moving to decrease to nine conference games, reducing the need to play FCS teams or powers.
Reaction in Boone and on other campuses 
Just minutes after the game, students began celebrating across Boone, North Carolina's two main streets, King Street and River Street. The group eventually advanced to Kidd Brewer Stadium, Appalachian State's home field, and tore down one of the goalposts. The students proceeded to carry the goalpost over a mile before depositing it in the front yard of ASU Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock. Peacock was fine with this, saying "As good as today was for Appalachian State, they can take it up there and put it down. I can't wait to get there and see it". Several students jumped nude into the duck pond behind ASU's dining hall, a campus tradition for celebrating big football victories. When the team returned to their stadium in buses at 11:00 p.m., they were met with a crowd of thousands of students and fans. It took the team 20 minutes to get from their buses to the locker room due to the crowd. The celebration was not limited to Appalachian State's campus; the Boone Mall was "flooded" with cars after the game, and a sports apparel shop carrying ASU gear, Sports Fanatic, reported seven times the amount of sales as usual.
Appalachian State's win was very popular among fans of Michigan's rivals. Following the end of their games, fans of Ohio State and Penn State crowded inside their stadiums to watch the conclusion of the game, where they erupted into cheers upon seeing the outcome of the game. Stores near the Ohio State campus in Columbus, Ohio, reported being "swamped" with request for gear with the ASU logo and colors, and a street vendor set up near the campus of Ohio State received "brisk business" by selling Mountaineers T-shirts. ASU's campus bookstore received a large number of phone calls from people wanting to buy gear, many of them from Ohio, but were unable to sell them in large quantities due to a state law prohibiting university bookstores from selling items to people who are not students, faculty, or alumni.
In 2011, Appalachian State and Michigan agreed to play a rematch of the game to open the 2014 season. Appalachian State will be paid 850,000 USD to play this game. Michigan's athletic director, Dave Brandon, felt the game would be an excellent way to gain attention for Michigan football and said "The networks were fighting over who gets to televise that game". Jerry Morre said that "To have the University of Michigan invite us back is the ultimate compliment for us as a program and a University. We’re grateful for the opportunity to have a new generation of players experience a gameday at the Big House and to test themselves against college football’s all-time winningest program". Appalachian State will be playing their first year of football in the FBS in 2014.
See also 
- 2007 Stanford vs. Southern California football game
- List of historically significant college football games
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