ASU Upset Headlines Wild Week One

Josh Cohen

I was on the sixth hole of our beloved Seven Oaks Golf Course last Saturday when I got a text message from my roommate, Alex.

“Holy (expletive),” it read, “Michigan just lost to Appalachian State!”

It took a few seconds to settle in. Was it possible that one of the most prestigious programs in college football history had lost to a member of the newly named Division I-FCS, the former Division I-AA? After returning to my apartment and watching the highlights on Sportscenter four times, I was still dumbfounded. The Michigan Wolverines had done everything they could to avoid the upset. They overcame a 28-17 halftime deficit. They had dealt with the tremendous speed of Appalachian State and even took the lead with 4:36 to go on a ridiculous, Heisman-worthy 54-yard touchdown run by senior RB Mike Hart. But after a late ASU field goal, it was the ineptitude of the Michigan special teams that may have cost the Wolverines a chance at a national championship. They allowed two blocked field goals, including a 37-yard attempt on the final play, which cemented a Michigan loss in what is one of the biggest upsets in college football history. While this was the biggest shock of the opening week, it was just the beginning of a great week of games.

A mere four months after tragedy struck the Virginia Tech campus, the hearts and minds of a nation cheered on the Hokies as they returned to Blacksburg last Saturday. It brought a smile to my face to watch Head Coach Frank Beamer march onto the field with his typical gritty squad as they hosted East Carolina. After falling behind 7-3 to 27-point underdog Eastern Carolina, Tech rallied to win 17-7. It wasn’t a pretty game, but more important than the score or quality of play was the resilience and hope that every Tech player carried on their shoulders. Their efforts were courageous and I will be rooting for this squad throughout the season.

As a Notre Dame hater, I couldn’t have been happier to see the outcome of its game against Georgia Tech this week. For all the hype that Lou Holtz and the gang on ESPN gave this mediocre squad, they got whipped 33-3 by the Yellow Jackets in South Bend. Coming off the end of the Brady Quinn era, there is already drama in Charlie Weis’ camp, as it was recently announced that junior starting quarterback Evan Sharpley will be benched in favor of first-year phenom Jimmy Clausen in next week’s game against Penn State. Does anyone else smell early season panic? The Irish faithful may be in for a surprise if they expect to see another 10-2 season and an appearance in a BCS bowl game.

The last game of note last week was a Thursday night game that four years ago nobody would have believed could hold any relevance. The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are back to follow up their Cinderella season of a year ago and prove to the world that they are not a fluke. Head Coach Greg Schiano and the boys from the “Dirty Jerz” compose a balanced squad poised to compete in the rejuvenated Big East conference. Quarterback Mike Teel threw for 328 yards and three touchdowns and fellow junior and Heisman candidate Ray Rice ran for 184 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-3 laugher over a pathetic Buffalo team. I had the privilege of watching Rice dominate my high school team a few years ago and he is the real deal. While he might not receive an invitation to the Heisman ceremony, he is bound to cause headaches for coaches and defensive coordinators across the country.

The first week of action in college football certainly seemed to live up to the hype. There were nail-biting games, thrilling upsets and heartwarming returns to the field. Week two poses some great matchups and renews some old rivalries as VT faces LSU and Penn State faces Notre Dame. The football season is just getting underway, so strap in.