September 1, 2007, 15 years ago today: Regarded as the biggest upset in the history of college football, Appalachian State goes into the “Big House” at Michigan and stuns the No. 5 Wolverines 34-32 before 109,000 fans.The two-time defending Division I-AA (now FCS) national champions dominated the first half, taking a 28-17 lead at the intermission. But Michigan roared back and went on top 32-31 on a 54-yard run by Mike Hart with 4½ minutes left in the game.
The Mountaineers were picked off on their ensuing drive, but the drama was just beginning. The Wolverines were unable to cash in on the interception, as App State blocked a 43-yard field goal attempt. The Mountaineers then marched 69 yards in just over a minute and booted a 24-yard field goal with 26 seconds left. Michigan desperately got into position for another field goal try from 37 yards out with six seconds remaining. That was blocked, too. “Pandemonium” is an understatement.
It was the first time a I-AA team had ever beaten a ranked I-A school. It was also the first time Michigan had ever faced a I-AA program—and it was the first football game ever broadcast on the new Big Ten Network. The Wolverines were the preseason Big Ten favorites and were in the BCS championship conversation. Instead, they plummeted all the way out of the AP Top 25. The stunner spurred AP to allow voters to include FCS teams on their ballots for the first time a couple weeks later. Consequently, Appalachian State was the first FCS program ever to receive votes in the AP Poll.
Appalachian State would go on to win its third straight FCS national championship and finish 13-2. Michigan, under coach Lloyd Carr, would finish a pedestrian 9-4 with a win in the Capitol One Bowl after its season of high expectations. In 2014, the Mountaineers moved to the FBS and the Sun Belt, and their first game at the new level was right back in the Big House against Michigan. The Mountaineers won 52-14. App State took home $850,000.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)