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The Greatest Upset in All the Universe

Charlie Schroeder

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On the Bus
(Kameron Radford)
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It's been arguably the most unpredictable college football season ever as seemingly every week a top-ranked team fell to an underdog. The upsets started immediately, back on September 1, when tiny Appalachian State University traveled from Boone, NC to Ann Arbor to play the winningest team in college football history, the University of Michigan.

Everyone thought Appalachian would get slaughtered--including the Las Vegas odds makers who refused to cover the game.

The two colleges are pretty far apart-573 miles to be exact-so only a handful of Appalachian fans made the trip. But the 300-member band was there, including two of its drum majors, Jeff Lazenby and Kameron Radford, who remember that day.

Jeff Lazenby: Going into the stadium there were 107,000 Michigan people and here was this 300-piece band that was ready to take on the entire stadium if we needed to. So we kind of dubbed ourselves "The 300."

Kameron Radford: I think it came over the Jumbotron that that was the highest attendance that had ever been attended in a college football game.

Lazenby: I've never sat at a football game in this particular spot. They had our band in bleachers down on the field on the sidelines.

Radford: I was standing conducting and somebody was talking to me, then all of a sudden somebody screamed and I turned around and as I turned around a football was heading right toward my head. It was like being there right with the football team. We were on the field with them trying to pull us towards a victory.

Lazenby: Starting in the first quarter after the kickoff Michigan ran down and scored on their opening drive and to me that only affirmed my belief that it was going to be a rough day for the Appalachian football team.

Radford: I thought and a lot of other people thought "What's our chances of beating Michigan?" You know, the "Big Dog."

Lazenby: However when our team turned right back around and scored on our opening drive, all of a sudden I realized wow, if we can score on our opening drive against Michigan maybe, just maybe, there's some hope for us after all. We weren't quite sure if this was going to be some sort of back and forth game or if perhaps that first touchdown we got was more or less a fluke.

END OF THE FIRST QUARTER:
MICHIGAN 14
APP STATE 7

Lazenby: And then all of a sudden we started scoring touchdowns and we scored three. And so the 300 of us against the 107,000 Michigan fans were going absolutely crazy.

Radford: During the second quarter when we started scoring you could see the look on the Michigan fans faces like "What is this? What's going on? We're expecting a victory!" And that's the one thing. They expected it and that was to our advantage. We could come in and be the unexpected.

Lazenby: There was a section of Michigan fans directly behind us that at the beginning of the game had really been laying it to the band telling us how we were going to lose. And by the end of the second quarter after we had scored the touchdowns those fans had taken a seat and were rather quiet while the 300 of us were going crazy, playing the fight song.

Radford: I remember one time I was standing over on the sideline and I looked at our director, Dr. Tobias, and I was like "Can you believe this? Can you believe that our football team can actually score against Michigan?" We were leading the game and it was unreal that we were sitting in a stadium where so much history has happened and our football team is pulling ahead and really sticking it to Michigan.

END OF THE SECOND QUARTER:
APP STATE 28
MICHIGAN 17

END OF THE THIRD QUARTER:
APP STATE 31
MICHIGAN 26

Lazenby: The last five minutes of that football game were some of the most intense and unpredictable minutes in a game I have ever seen in all of any high school, college or professional football.

Radford: It was just back and forth between the two teams. They would score, put points on the board, we would score put points on the board.

Lazenby: Back and forth, blocked field goals, things I hadn't seen before and it all came down to the very end.

Radford: They were on the 30 yard line and ready to kick a field goal and end the game with a victory for Michigan and then all of a sudden ...

APP STATE'S COREY LYNCH BLOCKS MICHEGAN'S FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT

Lazenby: When that happened because I had already prepared myself to lose, I didn't quite know what to think. It probably took a minute or two for the realization to set in of what had just happened. And then all of a sudden it was like "We won." It went to show the nation that it didn't matter who was considered the best or biggest or fastest, but it was those that had the desire and the determination and the teamwork and cooperation that could come out on top.

Radford: I could say that I was there for the biggest upset in college football history. To be able to tell people later on that I was a part of that and feel like I helped bring the team a victory and bring so much recognition to our school is something I'll hold with me forever.

Lazenby: It will literally affect who I am and what I believe can be achieved and what can be done for the rest of my entire life and career.

FINAL SCORE:
APP STATE 34
MICHIGAN 32

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