Giant Killing in the Appalachians: Edwards Reflects on Third Anniversary of Michigan Upset

 

Three years later, it still is something to marvel at for Armanti
Edwards. Three years ago, the former QB at Appalachian State
directed one of the greatest upsets in college football history.

“We had been studying Michigan for weeks and we knew we could spread
them out,” said Edwards, currently a member of the Carolina Panthers.
“Do that, we felt, and we could give ourselves a shot.”

On September 1, 2007, Edwards and the two time defending NCAA Division
I FCS champion Mountaineers marched into Michigan Stadium (aka the Big
House) hoping to take their best shot at the winningest program in
college football history and a program that was considered a BCS
national title contender.

“We didn’t [hinge the success of our season on whether or not we beat
Michigan]” Edwards said. “[FCS] national championships come first and
even if we had fallen to them we still felt that we could go 14-1 and
win a championship.”

But Edwards and his teammates had a much better shot at adding on to
the successes of what would go on to be a national championship season
than he realized. They pulled what many consider the greatest upset in
the history of college football as they stunned the Wolverines 34-32,
preserving the win on a blocked field goal by current Tampa Bay
Buccaneers safety Corey Lynch.

“It wasn’t too surprising to us because he had been doing that all
[offseason] camp long,” Edwards said. “I was speechless when he
blocked it and I’m surprised we didn’t get a penalty after the block
because we were coming off the sidelines celebrating.”

After being behind 14-7 going into the second quarter of the teams’
game, Appalachian State would go on to score 21 unanswered points, at
times freely running up, down and all around the Michigan defenders
thanks to speedy players such as wide receiver Dexter Jackson, who
also started this season with the Panthers. The Mountaineers
maintained a 28-17 halftime lead but due to numerous mistakes allowed
the Wolverines to stay in the game. Yes, they allowed Michigan to hang
around.

“We didn’t really get nervous when we were up,” he said “We just such
made some mistakes, like my interception early in the third quarter
when I made bone headed play and in the fourth when [I misjudged where
the receiver was] and threw another one.”

And despite nearly wasting a golden opportunity to defeat an FBS top 5
team, the Mountaineers had one more shot, with 1:37 remaining in the
game to drive down the field for a winning score.

“We knew that even though we had made some mistakes, we could still
drive down there for the win. We were confident.”

And they made good on their confidence, driving 75 yards in a little
over a minute’s time with no timeouts to set up kicker Julian Rauch
for the kick of a lifetime, one that would send shockwaves throughout
college football. Even after he made it, Michigan still had life after
current New York Giants receiver Mario Manningham caught a 46 yard
pass to set up one final field goal try for Michigan kicker Jason
Gingell at the ASU 20 yard line. But as is most famously known, Lynch
blocked the kick, setting off a wild celebration and instantly going
into college football lore as one of the greatest upsets of all time.
The win skyrocketed Appalachian State and even Edwards himself to
national fame and certainly made many people proud of what he
accomplished.

“Yes, I got so many calls and texts afterward,” he said.

The Mountaineers would go on to win the FCS national championship that
season for their third straight title and Edwards, after two more
outstanding seasons in Boone, NC for the Mountaineers was drafted in
the 2010 NFL Draft by the Panthers, an achievement that was certainly
enhanced by his team’s win in Ann Arbor three years ago today.

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