Sept. 1, 2014. Michigan broke open a 14-0 ballgame with three touchdowns in the final four minutes of the first half and went on to avenge its 2007 loss to Appalachian State University football with a 52-14 win over the Mountaineers on Saturday afternoon at Michigan Stadium.
Appalachian State (0-1) remained within striking distance for most of the first half but Michigan’s three touchdowns over a 3:11 span in the waning minutes before halftime squelched any hopes of the Mountaineers replicating their historic victory over the No. 5-ranked Wolverines seven season openers ago.
Michigan’s three-touchdown spurt was sparked by stopping true freshman Jaylan Barbour (Monroe, N.C./Monroe) just short of a first down on third-and-seven from the Appalachian State 30 yard line more than halfway through the second quarter. On fourth-and-inches from the 37, App State was forced to punt after failing to get a play off and calling timeout.
On the first play after the punt, Michigan’s Derrick Green rushed 59 yards to the Appalachian State 23 and two plays later, Devin Funchess caught his third touchdown pass of the first half from Devin Gardner and U-M stretched the lead to 21-0.
The Mountaineers were forced to punt again on their ensuing possession and Michigan needed just two plays — 61 and 12 yard runs by De’Veon Smith — to make it 28-0 with 1:26 to go in the half.
Just 38 seconds later, U-M’s Mike McCray got a hand on a punt by Bentlee Critcher (South Daytona, Fla./Warner Christian Academy) and Ben Gideon returned the block 32 yards for a touchdown that gave the Wolverines a 35-0 halftime lead.
After being limited to just 74 yards and no points in the first half, Appalachian State put together a pair of long touchdown drives after the break.
Midway through the third quarter, starting quarterback Kameron Bryant (Cary, N.C./Panther Creek) engineered an 11-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by an acrobatic eight-yard touchdown catch by Simms McElfresh (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian) in the back of the end zone that got the Mountaineers on the board.
In the final period, redshirt freshman Taylor Lamb (Calhoun, Ga./Calhoun) led an impressive 19-play, 96-yard drive that culminated with a one-yard touchdown run by Marcus Cox (Dacula, Ga./Dacula).
However, the story of the game offensively for Appalachian State was redshirt freshman running back Terrence Upshaw (Duluth, Ga./Northview), who rushed for 109 yards on 18 carries (6.1 avg.) in his collegiate debut. Cox, who did not start after missing much of the last two weeks of practice due to a lower-body injury, picked up 47 yards on 11 rushes (4.3 avg.).
McElfresh led the Mountaineers with five receptions while Barbour tallied a team-high 40 receiving yards.
Michigan was paced by Funchess, who had game highs with seven receptions and 95 receiving yards — including touchdown catches of nine, 34 and eight yards. In the process, he became the first Wolverine to ever haul in three touchdown receptions in a season opener.
Green (170) and Smith (115) both rushed for 100 yards for Michigan while Gardner completed 13-of-14 passes for 173 yards.
In all, the Wolverines doubled the Mountaineers up in terms of total yardage (560-280).
Appalachian State returns to action next Saturday when it opens the home portion of its first NCAA Division I FBS campaign versus Campbell. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
NOTES: Appalachian State safety Doug Middleton (Winston-Salem, N.C./Parkland) led all tacklers with eight … App State Appalachian State was 0-for-9 on third downs before McElfresh’s touchdown catch on third-and-goal midway through the third quarter … the Mountaineers finished 5-of-17 on third downs while Michigan was 5-of-8 … Appalachian fell to 3-9 in its last 12 season openers (all 12 have been played on the road) … the Sun Belt Conference fell to 2-22 all-time versus Big Ten opponents … the game was Michigan’s first ever against a Sun Belt member.
• Michigan avenged its 34-32 loss to Appalachian State in 2007.
• Appalachian State (0-1) trailed just 14-0 late in the first half before Michigan (1-0) scored three touchdowns in the final 3:59 of the half to take a commanding 35-0 lead.
• Appalachian State was 0-for-9 on its first nine third-down opportunities before converting its first third down on Simms McElfresh’s eight-yard touchdown reception from Kameron Bryant 7:12 to go in the third quarter. The Mountaineers finished just 5-for-17 on third down.
• Appalachian State fell to 3-9 in its last 12 season openers. Each of the last 12 season openers have been played on the road.
• The Sun Belt Conference fell to 2-22 all-time versus Big Ten opponents.
• The attendance of 106,811 is the second-highest ever for an Appalachian State football game (record: 109,218 at Michigan, 9/1/2007).
• Appalachian State’s Simms McElfresh’s (Jr. WR) eight-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter was the third of his career (all in the last seven games).
• Redshirt freshman RB Terrence Upshaw ran for 109 yards on 18 carries (6.1 avg.) in his collegiate debut.
• Doak Walker Award candidate Marcus Cox (So. RB) did not start after being sidelined for much of the last two weeks due to a lower-body injury but rushed for 47 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries (4.3 avg.).
• Sophomore DB Dante Blackmon made his first-career interception in the third quarter.
Football Notebook: More On Upshaw’s Big Debut
Sept. 1, 2014. With 109 rushing yards against Michigan on Saturday, redshirt freshman Terrence Upshaw (Duluth, Ga./Northview) became the first Appalachian State University player in 40 years to rush for 100 yards in his collegiate debut.
The last Mountaineer to accomplish the feat was quarterback Robbie Price, who ran for 140 yards and a touchdown on just 18 carries against East Tennessee State on Sept. 7, 1974. Price was a sophomore playing in his first varsity game after quarterbacking Appalachian’s junior varsity squad in 1973.
Upshaw and Price are the only players to rush for 100 yards in an Appalachian State debut since the school began keeping full single-game records in 1959.
Upshaw also became the first non-conference opponent to rush for 100 yards against Michigan since Air Force’s Cody Getz had 130 yards on 20 carries against the Wolverines on Sept. 8, 2012. U-M had not allowed a 100-yard rusher in eight-consecutive non-conference games, which included two contests against Notre Dame and bowl matchups against South Carolina (2013 Outback Bowl) and Kansas State (2013 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl).
Upshaw averaged 6.1 yards per rush (109 on 18 carries) against the Wolverines’ stout defense, which returned nine starters from last year’s unit that ranked fifth in the Big Ten against the run.
The redshirt freshman started at running back for Appalachian State due to Doak Walker Award candidate Marcus Cox (Dacula, Ga./Dacula) missing much of the previous two weeks of practice due to a lower-body injury. Cox came off the bench to rush for 47 yards on 11 carries (4.7 avg.) and a touchdown against Michigan.
19-PLAY DRIVE APPALACHIAN STATE’S LONGEST IN 25 YEARS: Appalachian State’s 19-play, 96-yard touchdown drive that began in late in the third quarter of Saturday’s game at Michigan and culminated with Cox’s one-yard touchdown run with 9:05 to go in the ballgame, was the Mountaineers’ longest possession in terms of plays in 25 years.
Prior to Saturday, Appalachian State had not put together a 19-play drive since it marched 99 yards in 19 plays against Marshall on Nov. 4, 1989. That series was capped by a five-yard touchdown run by quarterback D.J. Campbell in an eventual 28-7 App State victory.
The 96-yard drive was also the Mountaineers’ longest in terms of yardage since they had a lightning-quick two-play, 97-yard series in the first quarter of a 55-14 win over Coastal Carolina on Sept. 29, 2012. Steven Miller began that possession with a 28-yard run and one play later, Jamal Londry-Jackson connected with Sean Price for a 69-yard touchdown pass.
Saturday’s 19-play, 96-yard touchdown drive was engineered by backup quarterback Taylor Lamb (Calhoun, Ga./Calhoun), who completed 5-of-9 passes for 37 yards in the first series of his career. Upshaw and Cox combined to rush for 43 yards during the drive.
Appalachian State, which had converted just 1-of-11 third downs prior to the possession, made good on 3-of-4 third-down opportunities during the 19-play, 96-yard drive (the Mountaineers picked up a first down on fourth-and-four following the only third down that they didn’t convert).
HALL OF FAME DAY, HEROES DAY ON TAP FOR HOME OPENER: Saturday’s home opener against Campbell (6 p.m. — ESPN3) marks Hall of Fame Day and Heroes Day at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
During halftime of the game, Appalachian State will recognize the five newest members of its Athletics Hall of Fame, which includes former football all-AmericansDamon Scott (1993-96) and Matt Isenhour (2003-06). The Hall of Fame class will be inducted during Appalachian’s annual Hall of Fame breakfast at 9 a.m. at Plemmons Student Union. A very limited number of tickets still remain for the induction ceremony and can be purchased by contacting Natalie Harkey in the Yosef Club office at (828) 262-3108 or [email protected].
In honor of the upcoming 13th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, Saturday will also be Heroes Day at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Throughout the game, App State will honor U.S. military personnel, veterans and local first responders with special ceremonies and recognitions.
Exclusive Appalachian State Heroes Day apparel is available for fans that wish to honor military and first-responder heroes during Saturday’s game. Heroes Day apparel can be purchased from Appalachian’s official online store (shop.appstatesports.com) and at retailers throughout Boone.
THE ROCK READY TO HOST FIRST GAME AS MEMBER OF SUN BELT, FBS: As Appalachian State readies for its first home game as a member of the Sun Belt Conference and NCAA Division I FBS on Saturday against Campbell, one of the most visible preparations was made last Friday when the Sun Belt logo was permanently added to the Kidd Brewer Stadium turf.
Workers painted the logo at the north and south 25 yard lines following Appalachian’s walkthrough practice on Friday morning. Both logos face the west side of the stadium in order to be oriented towards television cameras.
The logo was temporarily painted on the turf by Chancellor Dr. Sheri N. Everts and former athletics director Charlie Cobb in a ceremony on July 1 to commemorate Appalachian State’s first official day in the Sun Belt Conference.
ONLINE TICKET SALES CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE: Online ticket sales are currently unavailable at appstatesports.com due to a network-wide outage affecting nearly 200 schools whose websites are hosted by Neulion. The outage includes all online ticket sales, including student guest tickets.
Neulion is working to address the issue. Updates will be posted as they are available at appstatesports.com/tickets and twitter.com/appstatetickets.
Tickets are also available by phone (828-262-2079) and in person at the Appalachian State athletics ticket office (located in the Holmes Center) Tuesday-Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The ticket office is closed on Monday in observance of Labor Day.
You must be logged in to post a comment.