Ducks to visit the Big House, where App. State stunned Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich. &

Michigan might not be able to live down losing to Appalachian State any time soon.

The stunning upset that was perhaps the biggest in any sport led to an unprecedented fall in the rankings, a change in The Associated Press poll and jokes from Jay Leno.

After a week of being on the wrong end of a transcendent story, the Wolverines get their first chance to move past the unthinkable and unforgettable loss on Saturday at home against Oregon.

"There's no question that our team faces a difficult week from the standpoint of being able to put a disappointment behind us," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr acknowledged. "That's one of the great tests of athletics.

"You find out if you can handle success, and then you have to find out if you can handle disappointment."

College football's winningest team lost its opener at Michigan Stadium to the second-tier Mountaineers and plummeted from No. 5 to being unranked, the largest fall any team has had since the AP poll was expanded to 25 teams in 1989.

The Wolverines became the first Top 25 team to lose to a team from the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly Division I-AA.

Now, Appalachian State may have a better chance of being ranked next week, regardless of how Michigan fares against the Ducks.

The AP announced Thursday that programs competing below the former NCAA Division I-A, now known as the Football Bowl Subdivision, are eligible to receive votes.

The fallout also included national coverage and jokes, giving Michigan's proud school and football program unwanted air time on NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

Former Wolverines took abuse in NFL locker rooms, and some of them said they were simply embarrassed by the result.

"I don't think worrying about all the things that are out there are part of the solution," Carr said.

Carr took the blame for his team not being prepared, while some called for his firing or resignation.

But it seems unlikely that Carr's critics will get their wish, even if Michigan loses to the Ducks, then continues its rough start by losing its next two games against Notre Dame and Penn State.

"I'm not getting into those issues," Carr said. "I have no concern about any of it."

Oregon opened the season out of the spotlight, beating Houston 47-27.

The Ducks know that will change as they face a team that has been beat up since it was beat by Appalachian State.

"This put Michigan on high alert," Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said. "We're going to get an embattled, backs-against-the-wall effort from Michigan, probably their best game.

"We have to play our game and not worry about Appalachian State."

The Ducks, under new offensive coordinator Chip Kelly, share some similarities with the Mountaineers on offense, and that could prevent Michigan from bouncing back.

When Appalachian State used a shotgun formation with no running backs and five receivers, the Wolverines at times attempted to defend slot receivers with linebackers. The results weren't pretty.

Quarterback Armanti Edwards made his best impersonation of former Ohio State star Troy Smith, who dominated Michigan with his arm and feet.

Oregon's Dennis Dixon certainly appears to be capable of a repeat performance. He ran for 141 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown, and threw for 134 yards and two scores last week.

Dixon said he has watched film from Michigan's opener "24-7" with Kelly, adding the Ducks have to be ready for Michigan's best shot.

"We know we're going into a hostile environment," he said. "And, we know they're coming off an incredible loss."

If Michigan loses, its four-game losing streak &

including last year's setbacks to Ohio State and USC &

would be the storied program's worst stretch since dropping five straight in 1967 and finishing with the program's last losing record.

The Wolverines, whose current three-game skid is their longest since 1979, insist they still have hope in what was widely regarded as a promising season just a week ago.

"It's just a bump in the road," offensive tackle Jake Long said. "There is still a championship out there, and we can't hang our heads."

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