Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

How About Those Mountaineers?

Posted September 4, 2007

What is the greatest sports victory in North Carolina history?

Please weigh in on your favorite.

I'm thinking Appalachian State's thrilling victory over Michigan Saturday at the "Big House" in Ann Arbor has to rank right up there nationwide as one of the greatest conquests in the history of sports. The game had all of the markings of an another underdog coming close but falling short of victory. I must admit after fifth ranked Michigan went ahead late in the fourth quarter I gave up hope. But then the Apps marched down the field and kicked a field goal putting them ahead by two points.

Then,  my heart sank again when a Wolverine hail Mary set up what appeared to be a relatively easy field goal attempt. Who could have predicted the elation that followed when a block by Corey Lynch sealed the deal?  The clock ran out and the ASU announcers went wild yelling and talking about "the yard sale in the Big House. " Oh my,  what a classic moment in sports! What a movie in the making!

I was there in Greensboro in 1974 when NC State won what has been called the greatest game ever in college basketball - a double overtime thriller against Maryland. Of course, the '83 Wolfpack upset over Houston in Albuquerque was a golden moment.  Plus, UNC's national championship over Illinois in 2005 was huge.  But ASU's heart thumping win at Ann Arbor has secured the new top spot in my mind.

How about you, sports fans?  What do you think?


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  • arta82 Sep 5, 2007

    i believe the game was one of the greatest! people forget that the only difference in I-AA and I-A football is the number of players/scholarships on a team. these kids still know how to play the game, are as motivated as the I-A teams, and still have a great fan base and support. not everybody needs a 110k seat stadium. put them in a high school size stadium and the outcome would have been the same! way to go APPS!!
    hope the media gives you a lot more coverage!!! great school!

  • bait taker Sep 4, 2007

    The question is: What is the greatest sports victory in North Carolina history?

    In my opinion, the greatest victory needs two components. 1) insurmountable odds(like the App/UM game) and 2) a championship at stake(championships are the "greatest" by definition).

    The victories that fit the criteria are: UNC in '57, State in '74 and State in '83. With all sincere respect to the obstacles of the UCLA dynasty and Phi Slamma Jamma that the Pack had to overcome, my vote goes to Frank McGuire's Heels.

    Wilt the Stilt was a giant of mythical proportions(literally since no one had ever actually laid eyes on him until the televised event), the greatest player of all-time, at the time. And the victory put the state of North Carolina on the sports map. State of '83 would win the prize for greatest tourney run in our state's history.

  • brant58 Sep 4, 2007

    As "Blueridge Blogger" aptly put it in her blog. They scheduled what they thought was a "cupcake" team. In the future when they pick on a "cupcake" team, they had better try not to pick the two time defending "cupcake" champion team.
    By the way "Blueridge Blogger" has some great photos on her blog.

  • dlm1075 Sep 4, 2007

    UNC beating Illinois in 2005 for the championship was a fluke. App beating Michigan was, by far, the greatest victory in North Carolina history!!

  • LRB Sep 4, 2007

    I am so proud to be able to say I graduated from ASU! I might just have to make it to some games now. :)

  • wakeraised Sep 4, 2007

    I was fortunate enough to see the Wolfpack beat Duke during an ACC game in Tampa, Florida this past season. I was there loving every single minute of it in the nose bleed section! I do not remember in all my 28 years seeing NC State beat Duke at basketball. I will always remember that game, always, always!!!!

  • thefensk Sep 4, 2007

    I don't understand. I didn't like the 1983 upset over Houston at all. Oh, wait. That's because I'm a Houston alumnus.

    Oh, well, even if "those people" won the game, it was still a good game.

  • TruthBKnown Sep 4, 2007

    No doubt the App win is probably the biggest football win for a NC team.

    But it pales in comparison to what NC State did in 1983. The Pack had to win the ACC tournament to even be invited to the big dance. Then they had to pull of win after win, before beating a team that was easily as dominant in basketball as Michigan is in football, and probably moreso.

    Does Weber State knocking off Carolina in the big dance a few years ago count? A North Carolina team was involved in that game, even if they lost. That was maybe as big for Weber as App beating Michigan.

  • Question Sep 4, 2007

    I loved the NCSU vs UCLA game where Thompson blocked Bill Walton. The Maryland game was so intense! The 83 Pack run all to way to the final game was fantastic. I do agree that the App win was incredible and has to be one of the best ever. I had a bet with my husband that this would be the topic today--too good not to discuss! Congrats Wolverines!

  • dws Sep 4, 2007

    after laying it on thick to my ASU nephew a couple of days before the game, I enjoyed every chew of my crow sandwich after ASU's of, if not THE greatest upsets in collegiate football IMO




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