On September 1, 2007, FCS school Appalachian State defeated No. 5 Michigan 34-32 with a last-second field goal block in one of the biggest upsets in college football history.
Most games between Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and the lower-level Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) finish lopsidedly favoring the FBS team. Appalachian State’s game in front of 110,000 Michigan home fans at “The Big House” in Ann Arbor should have been no exception. Even though the Mountaineers had claimed back-to-back FCS National Championships, Michigan came into the game ranked No. 5 in the FBS by the Associated Press’ poll and was a heavy favorite.
Despite anticipated bashing, Appalachian State started hotly and built a 28-14 second quarter lead highlighted by a 68-yard touchdown pass from Armanti Edwards to Dexter Jackson. The Wolverines eventually rallied and took a 32-31 lead with 4 minutes, 26 seconds left in the contest.
With no timeouts remaining, the Mountaineers drove 69 yards to set up the go-ahead field goal. Senior kicker Julian Rauch nailed the 24-yard attempt with 26 seconds left to put the underdogs up 34-32.
The Wolverines then reached the Appalachian State 20-yard-line to set up a field goal with six seconds remaining. However, Corey Lynch broke through the Michigan line, blocked the potential game-winning kick, and sealed the victory for the Mountaineers.
Appalachian State has stunned the college football world! One of the greatest upsets in sports history!
The game’s play-by-play announcer after the blocked kick
Appalachian State would go onto finish the regular season 9-2, with losses to Wofford and rivals Georgia Southern. They would receive an at-large bid to the FCS playoffs and went on to claim a third straight FCS National Championship. Their performance against Michigan enabled the school to become the first FCS program to receive votes in the AP Poll. The program eventually moved up to the FBS, joining the Sun Belt Conference in 2014.
Michigan slipped up the next week against Oregon before winning their next eight straight. The Wolverines the closed out the regular season with losses to Wisconsin and Ohio State before winning the Capital One Bowl over Florida. Their 9-4 overall record saw them finish No. 18 in the AP Poll. The program would then enter a couple years of futility by posting two straight losing seasons—its first back-to-back sub-.500 seasons since 1962-63.
We’re still sort of shocked. Someone said it might be one of the big victories in college football. It may be the biggest.
Appalachian State’s head coach after the game
Video footage of the game’s final kick is available on YouTube. I’ve embedded the clip below:
This image below is perhaps one of the better ones available that shows Corey Lynch (47) blocking the Michigan kick:
And here’s a look at the final scoreboard above Michigan Stadium:
- Football Championship Subdivision school Appalachian State upset the heavily-favored Michigan 34-32 at “The Big House” in the opening weekend of the 2007 season.
- The decisive play came in the closing seconds when Corey Lynch blocked Michigan’s potential game-winning field goal.
- Appalachian State finished the regular season 9-2, but went on to win the FBS National Championship. Michigan finished 9-4 and No. 18 in the AP Poll.
- “2007 Football Schedule”, Appalachian State University Athletics
- “2007 Michigan Wolverines Schedule and Results”, College Football at Sports-Reference.com
- “Appalachian State Stuns Michigan”, The New York Times