ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan quickly took the intrigue out of its rematch with Appalachian State.
Devin Gardner threw three touchdown passes to Devin Funchess in the first half and the Wolverines went on to rout the Mountaineers 52-14 Saturday, seven years after being on the losing end of perhaps the biggest upset in college football history.
While they downplayed how much of a factor the last meeting was earlier in the week, running back Derrick Green acknowledged it motivated him and his teammates.
“Just to get some revenge and payback,” Green said.
Appalachian State matched the Wolverines’ game-opening TD the first time it had the ball in 2007 and in a closely contested game, the North Carolina-based school became the first second-tier program to beat a Top 25 team after blocking a field goal as time expired.
There wasn’t much drama in the rematch.
Mountaineers coach Scott Satterfield did not seem surprised.
“You know they’ve been hearing about it all summer long,” he said.
Next week, though, should be more suspenseful when the Wolverines go to Notre Dame.
The prime-time game is the last scheduled matchup between the storied programs because the Fighting Irish cancelled the last three games of the contract. Notre Dame wanted more flexibility with their schedules because they are beginning to play a handful of games against Atlantic Coast Conference schools this year.
“It’s almost like a slap in the face,” Michigan defensive end Frank Clark said.
The Mountaineers played their first game at the highest level of college football as a member of the Sun Belt Conference on Saturday at the Big House, and found out how far they have to go to compete with major programs.
“We’re going to learn from this,” Satterfield said. “We knew we would have to play near-perfect football.”
Appalachian State simply could not match up well with Funchess, who became the first Wolverine to catch three TD passes in an opener. The 6-foot-4, 230-Funchess is lining up as a wide receiver after primarily playing tight end his first two seasons.
“He’s going to be a hard cover for everybody all year,” Satterfield said.
Funchess finished with seven receptions for 95 yards — scoring on 9-, 34- and 8-yard catches — in his first game in a No. 1 jersey, the same number worn by wide receivers Anthony Carter and Braylon Edwards.
“It gave me goose bumps,” Funchess said.
Gardner was replaced by Shane Morris late in the third quarter — with Michigan up 49-7 — after he was 13 of 14 for 173 yards with three TDs and no turnovers in his first game under offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.
The Mountaineers also could not slow down Michigan’s running game, which had a pair of 100-yard rushers for the first time since 2007. Derrick Green ran for a career-high 170 yards and a TD. De’Veon Smith had 115 yards rushing — 2 fewer than he had all of last year as a freshman — and two scores.
The Wolverines scored two more TDs in a 38-second span late in the first half on Smith’s 12-yard run and Ben Gedeon’s 32-yard return after a blocked punt for a 35-0 lead.
Michigan did not let up, scoring a sixth TD on Green’s 1-yard run on its opening drive of the second half.
Appalachian State avoided a shutout on its first drive in the third quarter as Kameron Bryant threw an 8-yard TD pass to Simms McElfresh. Its defense, though, gave up another score on the ensuing drive when Smith ran into the end zone for a second time to make it 49-7.
“The biggest thing was, we weren’t competing with the scoreboard,” coach Brady Hoke said. “We were competing with our ability.”
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