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How about Appalachian State UPSETTING Michigan!!!

I-AA COLLEGE FOOTBALL is no joke folks, and the Mountaineers of Appalachian State, ranked #1 in the FCS/I-AA, proved that Saturday as they beat #5 Michigan at the Big House!

I got a kick out of this.
There used to be a running joke in North Carolina that the best college football team in the state couldn't be found at any of those esteemed campuses with basketball traditions in Chapel Hill, Durham or Raleigh. You had to go to a small resort town in the Blue Ridge Mountains named after Daniel Boone to find North Carolina's top program.

But as Appalachian State proved Saturday, when it pulled off one of the biggest upsets in college football history with a 34-32 victory at fifth-ranked Michigan, it isn't a joke anymore. The Mountaineers, a mostly unknown collection of players who would probably never show up on Michigan's recruiting radar, showed up at Michigan Stadium and proved they belonged.

"Hopefully the whole world knows," quarterback Armanti Edwards said at a news conference at Appalachian State.

It was a stunning upset by any measure, like a second-division soccer team beating Manchester United. But, oddly, it was not as great a shock to those who have followed Appalachian State. As Michigan's powerhouse of a team rolled through college football's Division I-A, the Mountaineers were winning the last two championships in Division I-AA, the equivalent of a grouping of top minor leagues.

The Mountaineers were not the creampuff opponent that Michigan fans might have envisioned, even if they do play in the Southern Conference against opponents like Wofford and Elon. In fact, a university official said the team has had difficulty scheduling nonconference teams in its own state, like North Carolina and Wake Forest, which apparently want no part of Appalachian State. They know better.

Appalachian State is 27-4 since the start of the 2005 season and has a 15-game winning streak. Jerry Moore, in his 19th season at Appalachian State, was named coach of the year the past two seasons by the American Football Coaches Association.

"I feel like everybody here who starts or even backs up can play for a Division I school anywhere in the country," receiver Dexter Jackson, who had three catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns, said during a news conference at Appalachian State on Sunday. "Coach Moore told us to play like we had a chip on our shoulder and show these boys."

Moore finds players with that requisite chip and brings them to Appalachian State. Many are players who have the ability to play in Division I-A, but for some reason never quite made it there. They are too short or too thin or, in some cases, too obscure to have been noticed by the major programs. Among the program's alumni is Dexter Coakley, a former linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Rams, who is undersized at 5 feet 10 inches, or 1.78 meters.

Moore is like many coaches at smaller programs; he identifies players on the bubble and then waits to see if they get an offer from a top university. Moore targets speed in recruiting, crucial at every position but particularly for his wide-open spread offense.

Edwards fit the mold. A 6-foot sophomore from Greenwood, South Carolina, he had a chance to play for Clemson, a traditional Atlantic Coast Conference power. But Edwards said that Clemson wanted him to switch to cornerback or receiver.

So he committed to Appalachian State, stayed at quarterback, earned a starting position as a freshman last season and became only the fifth quarterback in Division I history to throw for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in one season. Against Michigan, Edwards was 17 of 23 for 227 yards passing and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 62 yards and another touchdown.

Jackson, the speedy wide receiver, was another Division I-A hopeful who wound up at Appalachian State. He grew up in Atlanta wanting to play for the Georgia Bulldogs, only to be told he wasn't quite tall enough at 5-10. Jackson's 68-yard touchdown catch-and-run in the first quarter answered Michigan's opening scoring drive, tied the score at 7-7 and sent a message to the Wolverines.

"'We just wanted to show y'all boys we could play with y'all,"' Jackson said he told Michigan cornerback Morgan Trent in the end zone after the touchdown. "He started snickering a little bit, knowing like, 'What's going on; we're Michigan and we're letting this school come in here and show they can play with us.' "

Moore called that drive the turning point of the game, even though it came in the opening minutes.

"When they go down and score to make it 7-0, there were 109,000 people and millions of people watching who thought that's what was going to happen," Moore said. "We came right back and countered with that touchdown and it was a 7-7 ballgame, and from that point on I think people just said, we could play with these guys."
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