7 Years later App State's big win over Michigan still having an - | WBTV Charlotte

7 Years later App State's big win over Michigan still having an impact

It was a college football game that even seven years later still has a lasting impact for one local university.

Appalachian stunned the world by beating #5 ranked Michigan in Ann Arbor on September 1, 2007.  The two get together again Saturday for the first time since that day.

"Life changed that day, there's no doubt about that," David Jackson told WBTV. Jackson had the call on the radio for the Appalachian Sports Network that day 7 years ago, and he's back for another season.  

"When they hear Appalachian State that's when we get the 'oh you're the school that beat Michigan,' " Jackson added.  "No matter what setting that you bring that up in, whether you're at a Rotary Club, the bank, or whether you're on campus, that is now how the school is identified.

For Jackson, and many on the Boone campus of ASU, that game is a marker in history.  And while that win led to improvements and upgrades in the athletic facilities, and spurred ASU's move to the Football Bowl Subdivision, it also made a lasting impact in other ways.

"You're taking what was a regional university at the time and putting it on a national scale," Jackson said.  "Now everybody around the country understands what Appalachian's about, what kind of courses they offer.  The front door was opened by that day in Michigan and the entire campus and community has benefited from that and we see tangible results from that everyday."

"It was a wonderful madness, I must say," Lorraine Childers, Director of the ASU Bookstore. "There was a lot of good will, and a lot of additional business quite frankly, but this was the star in the crown when we defeated Michigan."

The campus bookstore was swamped immediately following the game and orders came from some unusual places.

"The phone rang non stop, we got emails, people would call not just for one or two shirts but for hundreds, 300-400, alumni association presidents of Penn State and Ohio State said we want Appalachian wear," Childers added.

Those sales eventually leveled off but business for memorabilia has remained stronger than any time before 2007, and sales made in the bookstore benefits students.

But you might be surprised what effect that game had on the student population.

"You're looking at the Appalachian State student profile being different now." Jackson added.

Student applications rose dramatically from across the country, the freshman GPA went up from 3.68 to 3.87, and average SAT scores of incoming freshmen were up, too.

Danielle Heichen is a student/athlete softball player from Miami, and she says the Michigan game is one reason she ended up in Boone.

"When I came to look at this school, I knew that we were kind of known for beating Michigan so that was a like a big part of a recruiting thing for me to know that our football team was this good to beat a big name school," Heichen told WBTV.

And as the 2014 Mountaineers left campus today, many are saying that regardless of the outcome of Saturday's game, App State is still a winner, seven years later.

"So many people recognize Applachian State no matter where you go across the country and if you're wearing your App gear as I do quite often people will say well you're the team that defeated Michigan, but we all know that we're so much more than that, but it makes us very proud," Childers added.

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