East Bladen graduate Kevin Richardson ran for 88 yards on 24 carries and Julian Rauch's 24-yard field goal with 26 seconds left Saturday gave the Appalachian State University football team a 34-32 win over the University of Michigan in what is considered by many as the biggest upset ever in college football. Richardson also caught two passes in the contest.
Corey Lynch blocked a field goal in the final seconds to seal the win for the Mountaineers.
The two-time defending champions were ahead of Michigan, the nation's winningest program, 28-14 late in the second quarter, then their storybook afternoon seemed to unravel late in the fourth quarter.
Mike Hart's 54-yard run put the Wolverines, the No. 5 ranked Division 1 team in the nation, ahead with 4:36 left.
One snap after the go-ahead touchdown, Brandent Englemon intercepted an errant pass, but the Wolverines couldn't capitalize and had their first of two field goals blocked.
Appalachian State drove 69 yards without a timeout in one-minute and 11 seconds to set up the go-ahead field goal.
But it still wasn't over. Chad Henne threw a 46-yard pass to Mario Manningham, giving Michigan the ball at Appalachian State's 20 with six seconds left.
Lynch blocked the kick and returned it to the other end of the field as the final seconds ticked off.
Appalachian State has won 15 straight games, the longest streak in the nation. The Mountaineers are favored to win the Division I-AA championship again this season, but they weren't expected to put up much of a fight against a team picked to win the Big Ten and contend for the national title.
No Division I-AA team had beaten a team ranked in The Associated Press poll from 1989-2006, and it's unlikely that it happened after Division-I subdivisions were created in 1978.
Appalachian State is not eligible to receive votes in the AP Top 25 poll because the school is not in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Richardson is one of 16 players on the official Walter Payton Award watch list, announced Wednesday by The Sports Network. The Payton Award is presented annually to the top player in the NCAA Division I-AA. Richardson was a finalist for the 2006 Payton Award, placing twelfth in voting for the award.
The senior ran for an Division 1-AA national record 30 touchdowns last season, including all four of Appalachian’s scores in the 28-17 victory over Massachusetts in the NCAA Division I-AA football national championship game. The former walk-on already has a hold on all of ASU’s single-season and career scoring records and needs just 954 yards to surpass John Settle as the school’s all-time rushing leader.