"We're obviously disappointed in the way the game ended. In the first quarter," said App State coach Scott Satterfield. "We were playing decently. Then we hit about a four or five minute stretch in the second quarter where we didn't get any first downs, and they hit a lot of big plays on us. It ended up extending the lead a little bit too far for us to come back.
"I was proud of our kids at halftime to come back out and keep playing. We looked a little bit more relaxed in the second half. We came out and kept fighting. We were able to move the ball a little bit better in the second half and still, defensively, we just gave up too much on third down. "
Michigans three-touchdown spurt was sparked by stopping true freshman Jaylan Barbour just short of a first down on third-and-seven from the Appalachian State 30 yard line more than halfway through the second quarter. On fourth-and-inches from the 37, App State was forced to punt after failing to get a play off and calling timeout.
On the first play after the punt, Michigans Derrick Green rushed 59 yards to the Appalachian State 23 and two plays later, Devin Funchess caught his third touchdown pass of the first half from Devin Gardner and U-M stretched the lead to 21-0.
The Mountaineers were forced to punt again on their ensuing possession and Michigan needed just two plays 61 and 12 yard runs by DeVeon Smith to make it 28-0 with 1:26 to go in the half.
Just 38 seconds later, U-Ms Mike McCray got a hand on a punt by Bentlee Critcher and Ben Gideon returned the block 32 yards for a touchdown that gave the Wolverines a 35-0 halftime lead.
After being limited to just 74 yards and no points in the first half, Appalachian State put together a pair of long touchdown drives after the break.
Midway through the third quarter, starting quarterback Kameron Bryant engineered an 11-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by an acrobatic eight-yard touchdown catch by Simms McElfresh in the back of the end zone that got the Mountaineers on the board.
In the final period, redshirt freshman Taylor Lamb led an impressive 19-play, 96-yard drive that culminated with a one-yard touchdown run by Marcus Cox.
"It's obviously good to win a football game to start the season," said Michigan coach Brady Hoke. "I thought we played hard. I was a little concerned in the second half when they had the opportunity, and they were running the ball on us through the middle of our defense. We've got to do a better job there, but I thought the kids came out and played hard. Disappointing, no turnovers defensively, and we only had one sack. [Appalachian State] get the ball out of their hands pretty quick, and that's just part of what they do, but we should have been better than that. We had some opportunities and have to make them when you're there."
However, the story of the game offensively for Appalachian State was redshirt freshman running back Terrence Upshaw, who rushed for 109 yards on 18 carries (6.1 avg.) in his collegiate debut. Cox, who did not start after missing much of the last two weeks of practice due to a lower-body injury, picked up 47 yards on 11 rushes (4.3 avg.).
"At the beginning of the game, we were doing very well running and then we shied aware from the run game and started passing the ball," Upshaw said. "Being my first start, because it was at Michigan, I tried to remain focused and relaxed as possible out there."
McElfresh led the Mountaineers with five receptions while Barbour tallied a team-high 40 receiving yards.
Michigan was paced by Funchess, who had game highs with seven receptions and 95 receiving yards including touchdown catches of nine, 34 and eight yards. In the process, he became the first Wolverine to ever haul in three touchdown receptions in a season opener.
Green (170) and Smith (115) both rushed for 100 yards for Michigan while Gardner completed 13-of-14 passes for 173 yards.
In all, the Wolverines doubled the Mountaineers up in terms of total yardage (560-280).
"As I talked about earlier in the week, we would need all 11 players in the right position," defensive lineman Ronald Blair said. "On the big runs, if one person is out of their gaps, 10 people could be in the right gap, but if one person is out of the gap that messes everything up and gives them those long runs."
" We're going to learn from this. Michigan is a good football team," Satterfield said. "There's no question about it. We knew coming in that we'd have to play near-perfect football. We knew that to have a chance to win, they would have to turn the football over quite a bit. They did a great job of taking care of the football. I thought they played really, really well."
Appalachian State returns to action next Saturday when it opens the home portion of its first NCAA Division I FBS campaign versus Campbell. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
NOTES: Appalachian State safety Doug Middleton led all tacklers with eight ... App State was 0-for-9 on third downs before McElfreshs touchdown catch on third-and-goal midway through the third quarter ... the Mountaineers finished 5-of-17 on third downs while Michigan was 5-of-8 ... Appalachian fell to 3-9 in its last 12 season openers (all 12 have been played on the road) ... the Sun Belt Conference fell to 2-22 all-time versus Big Ten opponents ... the game was Michigans first ever against a Sun Belt member.....
Michigan avenged its 34-32 loss to Appalachian State in 2007.
Appalachian State (0-1) trailed just 14-0 late in the first half before Michigan (1-0) scored three touchdowns in the final 3:59 of the half to take a commanding 35-0 lead.
Appalachian State was 0-for-9 on its first nine third-down opportunities before converting its first third down on Simms McElfreshs eight-yard touchdown reception from Kameron Bryant 7:12 to go in the third quarter. The Mountaineers finished just 5-for-17 on third down.
Appalachian State fell to 3-9 in its last 12 season openers. Each of the last 12 season openers have been played on the road.
The Sun Belt Conference fell to 2-22 all-time versus Big Ten opponents.
The attendance of 106,811 is the second-highest ever for an Appalachian State football game (record: 109,218 at Michigan, 9/1/2007).
Appalachian States Simms McElfreshs (Jr. WR) eight-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter was the third of his career (all in the last seven games).
Redshirt freshman RB Terrence Upshaw ran for 109 yards on 18 carries (6.1 avg.) in his collegiate debut.
Doak Walker Award candidate Marcus Cox (So. RB) did not start after being sidelined for much of the last two weeks due to a lower-body injury but rushed for 47 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries (4.3 avg.).
Sophomore DB Dante Blackmon made his first-career interception in the third quarter.
MICHIGAN 52, APP STATE 14
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Total
Appalachian State 0 0 7 7 14
Michigan 14 21 14 3 52
1st 08:48 MICH - Funchess, Devin 9 yd pass from Gardner, Devin (Wile, Matt kick), 9-63 4:44 0 - 7
01:52 MICH - Funchess, Devin 34 yd pass from Gardner, Devin (Wile, Matt kick), 6-78 3:08 0 - 14
2nd 03:59 MICH - Funchess, Devin 8 yd pass from Gardner, Devin (Wile, Matt kick), 3-82 2:00 0 - 21
01:26 MICH - Smith, De'Veon 12 yd run (Wile, Matt kick), 2-73 0:51 0 - 28
00:48 MICH - Gedeon, Ben 32 yd blocked punt return (Wile, Matt kick) 0 - 35
3rd 11:36 MICH - Green, Derrick 1 yd run (Wile, Matt kick), 6-75 3:24 0 - 42
07:12 APP - McElfresh, S. 8 yd pass from Bryant, Kameron (Matics, Zach kick), 11-75 4:24 7 - 42
04:27 MICH - Smith, De'Veon 13 yd run (Wile, Matt kick), 5-44 2:45 7 - 49
4th 09:05 APP - Cox, Marcus 1 yd run (Matics, Zach kick), 19-96 6:41 14 - 49
03:42 MICH - Wile, Matt 18 yd field goal, 10-63 5:23 14 - 52
FIRST DOWNS: APP STATE 17, MICHIGAN 24
RUSHING YARDS: APP STATE 153, MICHIGAN 350
PASSING YARDS: APP STATE 127, MICHIGAN 210
TOTAL YARDS: APP STATE 69-280, MICHIGAN 55-560
FUMBLES/LOST: APP STATE 0-0, MICHIGAN 0-0
PENALTIES: APP STATE 8-69, MICHIGAN 4-44
INTERCEPTIONS: APP STATE 1-0, MICHIGAN 0-0
POSSESSION TIME: APP STATE 29:52, MICHIGAN 30:08
3RD DOWN CONVERSIONS: APP STATE 5-17, MICHIGAN 5-8
4TH DOWN CONVERSIONS: APP STATE 2-3, MICHIGAN 0-0
RED ZONE CONVERSIONS: APP STATE 2-2, MICHIGAN 6-6
SACK BY: NUMBER OF YARDS: APP STATE 1-8, MICHIGAN 2-9
POINTS OFF TURNOVERS: APP STATE 14, MICHIGAN 0
APP STATE: UPSHAW 18-109, COX 11-47
MICHIGAN : GREEN 15-147-TD, SMITH 8-115-2TD
APP STATE: BRYANT 8-19-57-TD, LAMB 9-14-69
MICHIGAN: GARDNER 13-14-173-3TD, MORRIS 2-5-I-37
APP STATE: McELFRESH 5-25-TD, BARBOUR 2-40, JONES 2-25
MICHIGAN: FUNCHESS 7-95-3TD, NORFLEET 3-30, CHESSON 2-22
Photo Courtesy: Terrance Upshaw, App State Athletics