Chapter Update: Honoring FBS senior chapter leaders and three teams post Week 14 victories


As the 2020 college football season winds down, Uplifting Athletes would like to honor the contribution of nine veteran FBS chapter leaders in service to the Rare Disease Community.

Thank you to Nolan Cooney of Syracuse, Thomas Ruocchio and Dylan Autenrieth of NC State, Michael Marchese of Illinois, Will Spiers of Clemson, Jack DeFoor of Georgia Tech, Joe Spivak of Northwestern, Brock Wright of Notre Dame and Jake Funk of Maryland for inspiring the Rare Disease Community with hope.

Best wishes to each of you in the next step of your journey. You will always be a part of the Uplifting Athletes family.


Northwestern: For the sixth consecutive year, the Wildcats claimed the Land of Lincoln Trophy over rival and fellow chapter school Illinois. Northwestern amassed more than 400 yards on the ground for the first time since 2003. Running backs Evan Hull and Cam Porter combined for 291 of those yards and three touchdowns. Northwestern Chapter leader, defensive lineman Joe Spivak, had three tackles. Illinois Chapter leader, linebacker Michael Marchese, had three solo tackles and a pass break-up. The Wildcats are champions of the Big Ten West for the second time in three years and will play Ohio State Saturday in the Big Ten Championship game.

Penn State: A monster second half propelled the Nittany Lions past Michigan State for their third win in a row. Penn State outscored the Spartans 29-3 in the second half on Senior Day. Quarterback Sean Clifford threw a pair of second-half touchdown passes to Parker Washington, and Jahan Dotson returned a punt 81 yards for a score. Dotson became the third Big Ten player since 2000 to record 100 receiving yards and return a punt for a touchdown in the same game, joining Michigan’s Steve Breaston (2006) and Wisconsin’s Brandon Williams (2005). Clifford, former Penn State Chapter President, finished with 280 total yards (232 passing, 48 rushing) and accounted for three touchdowns.

Florida State: Quarterback Jordan Travis sparked a ground game that churned out more than 300 yards and accounted for six touchdowns in the victory over Duke. The redshirt sophomore rushed for 90 yards, setting FSU’s single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 559 – surpassing the 504 by Charlie Ward in 1992. Florida State Chapter President, linebacker DeCalon Brooks, finished with three tackles.

Round-Up: The final play of the key Western Michigan game at Ball State saw the Broncos score an apparent game winning touchdown after a wild series of laterals only to see an illegal forward pass negate the play. The Broncos outgained the Cardinals 491-352 and led by 14 heading into the fourth quarter. … Maryland Chapter leader, running back Jake Funk, had 180 yards on only 17 carries with a touchdown before leaving the game with an injury in an overtime setback to Rutgers. It was the first time in his career where Funk scored a touchdown and the Terrapins didn’t claim victory. … The Georgia Tech defense kept the Yellow Jackets in the game against Pitt, limiting the Panthers to only one touchdown in six trips inside the red zone. Pitt’s ground game allowed the Panthers to keep the ball away from the Tech offense in the victory, by running up more than 300 rushing yards and nearly 40 minutes in time of possession. … Baylor took the field against Top 25 ranked Oklahoma State shorthanded because of COVID-19. The Bears were missing 47 players, coaches and support staff in the loss to the Cowboys.

Each week during the college football season we will feature a player who is an officer for an Uplifting Athletes Chapter. This week we feature Stony Brook offensive lineman and Chapter Vice President Kyle Nunez.

Chapter Update: Historical victory for Penn State and three other schools post Week 13 wins


Penn State became the ninth program in college football to win 900 games with its road triumph over Rutgers. It was the Nittany Lions’ second win in a row in their 134th season.

Running the football has been the formula for recent Penn State success offensively, as the Nittany Lions eclipsed 245-plus yards for the third time in its last four games. True freshman running back Keyvonne Lee paced the Lions with 95 yards on 17 carries.

Penn State’s defense was the difference maker, limiting the Scarlet Knights to only 205 total yards and producing a pair of first-half fourth-and-1 stops in Rutgers territory that the offense turned into touchdowns.

NC State: The Wolfpack closed out their most successful ACC season with their fourth win a row – holding off fellow chapter school Georgia Tech in a tight game NC State led wire-to-wire. The victory was the seventh in the ACC for NC State, the most conference wins in school history. Junior kicker Christopher Dunn had three field goals, moving him into first place in the NC State record books for career field goals made. Dunn now has 56 career field goals. NC State Chapter Vice President, tight end Dylan Autenreith, had his first catch of the season. Georgia Tech Chapter leaders, offensive linemen Jack DeFoor and Zach Quinney, started at left guard and tackle, respectively.

Clemson: Trevor Lawrence became the winningest starting quarterback in program history with the Tigers’ victory over Virginia Tech. Lawrence posted victory No. 33, surpassing Rodney Williams, Tajh Boyd and Deshaun Watson, who each had 32. Lawrence is 33-1 as the starting quarterback. Clemson secured its sixth straight trip to the ACC Championship where it will face fellow chapter school Notre Dame in a highly anticipated re-match. The Tigers scored 28 unanswered second-half points to subdue the Hokies.

Notre Dame: Ian Book became the winningest starting quarterback in program history with the Fighting Irish’s victory over fellow chapter school Syracuse. Book threw for 285 yards and five total touchdowns for win No. 30 of his career. Notre Dame RB Kyren Williams finished with 110 yards on 20 carries to eclipse the 1,000 yard mark for the season. He is the first Irish sophomore since Darius Walker in 2005 to eclipse 1,000 yards in a season. Notre Dame Chapter leaders, linebackers Drew White and JD Bertrand, combined for three solo tackles and White added 1.5 tackles for a loss. Syracuse running back Sean Tucker eclipsed 100 yards for the third time this season, joining Joe Morris in 1978 as the only Orange freshmen to rush for 100-plus three times in a season. Former Syracuse Chapter leader, punter Nolan Cooney, punted seven times for 298 yards to finish the season with 3,314 yards – good enough for second all-time for punting yards in a single season.

Round-Up: The Baylor defense ended Oklahoma’s streak of 60 straight games scoring at least 28 points and held the No. 11 ranked Sooners to their lowest point total in five years in a 13-point loss. … Illinois held a 14-0 lead midway through the second quarter but couldn’t continue the momentum it built early and Iowa scored the next 35 points on its way to a 14-point win on Senior Day at Memorial Stadium. Illinois Chapter Vice President, linebacker Michael Marchese, finished with five total tackles including a pair of solo stops. … Western Michigan dropped its first game of the season, getting outscored by Eastern Michigan in a shootout that produced more than 1,000 yards of total offense. The Broncos have one regular-season game remaining, a road affair at Ball State with a berth in the MAC Championship Game on the line for the winner. Western Michigan Chapter Vice President, safety Jake Moertl, had a season-high five tackles.

Each week during the college football season we will feature a player who is an officer for an Uplifting Athletes Chapter. This week we feature Western Michigan safety and Chapter Vice President Jake Moertl.

Chapter Update: Baylor rallies to win in dramatic fashion and six other teams record Week 12 victories


Baylor snapped its five-game slide in dramatic fashion, using a 30-yard John Mayers field goal as time expired to come from behind and beat Kansas State by a point.

The Bears twice overcame nine-point, fourth-quarter deficits and scored the final 10 points, including driving 57 yards in 10 plays to set up the winning kick. QB Charlie Brewer, who was 4-for-4 on the final drive, finished with 405 total yards and two touchdowns each passing and rushing.

Penn State: A season-high 254 yards on the ground powered Penn State to its first victory in 2020 with a win on the road at Michigan. The Nittany Lions’ last victory in Ann Arbor was 2009. True freshman RB Keyvonne Lee had a career-high 134 yards to pace the offense. Former Penn State Chapter President, quarterback Sean Clifford, chipped in 226 total yards including a 29-yard touchdown scamper. The Nittany Lions defense limited Michigan to fewer than 300 total yards and held the Wolverines to a paltry 5-for-15 on third and fourth down conversions. 

Notre Dame: The No. 2 ranked Fighting Irish scored the final 14 points to pull away from North Carolina down the stretch and post their 15th consecutive victory. Notre Dame’s defense held a Tar Heels offense that came in averaging more than 43 points a game to a season-low 17 points and fewer than 300 total yards. RB Kyren Williams had the second three-touchdown game of his career. Notre Dame Chapter President, linebacker Drew White, finished with five tackles including a pair of tackles for a loss and a half-sack. 

Clemson: The No. 3 ranked Tigers saw the return of starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence after a two-game absence and Clemson proceeded to score a school-record 31 points in the first quarter against Pitt. Lawrence finished with 403 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Tigers’ defense hauled in five turnovers including three interceptions in the first nine Pitt pass attempts. Wide receiver Cornell Powell, had six catches for 176 yards and a touchdown to become only the third Tiger wide receiver to finish with 150 or more receiving yards in back-to-back games and the first since Sammy Watkins in 2013.

Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets amassed more than 375 yards on the ground and freshman quarterback Jeff Sims threw three touchdown passes to pull away from Duke in their 88th meeting. The Yellow Jackets defense forced five turnovers and Tech scored the final 21 points to pull away. Georgia Tech Chapter leaders, offensive linemen Jack DeFoor and Zach Quinney, started at left guard and left tackle, respectively.

NC State: Powered by a career-high 313 yards and four touchdowns from quarterback Bailey Hockman, the Wolfpack won their third in a row by coming from behind to nudge past fellow chapter school Syracuse. NC State scored the final 16 points after falling behind 29-20 late in the third quarter. Former Syracuse Chapter leader, punter Nolan Cooney, averaged 43.1 yards on seven punts and was named the Orange team captain for the game.

Western Michigan: The Broncos rallied for 10 points in the final 9:12 to stay unbeaten with a victory over Northern Illinois. Wide receiver D’Wayne Eskridge had 285 all-purpose yards including the eighth 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in program history. WMU’s defense had five sacks, 13 tackles for a loss and six pass break-ups. Western Michigan Chapter Vice President, safety Jake Moertl, had a solo tackle for the Broncos.

Round-Up: For the second time this season Northwestern overcame a 17-point deficit, only this time the Wildcats couldn’t hold on in the fourth quarter as Michigan State scored the final 12 points to hand the Wildcats their first loss of the season. Northwestern Chapter Vice President, defensive lineman Joe Spivak, finished with three tackles. … Maryland wide receiver Dontay Demus Jr. tallied his fourth career 100-yard receiving game and second of the season, posting six receptions for 114 yards including a 43-yard touchdown catch in the loss to No. 11 Indiana. This is the fifth-straight game Demus posted at least four receptions, becoming the first Terp to accomplish that feat since Stefon Diggs in 2014. … Kent State suffered its first loss of the season against a Buffalo team that saw running back Jare Patterson rush for 409 yards and eight touchdowns. Kent State Chapter President, wide receiver Isaac Vance, had six catches for 45 yards.

Each week during the college football season we will feature a player who is an officer for an Uplifting Athletes Chapter. This week we feature Kent State receiver/returner and Chapter President Isaac Vance.

Chapter Update: Maryland rallies for historical victory and three other teams post Week 8 wins


Maryland rallied to record its most improbable victory in program history by coming from 17 points down in the fourth quarter to edge Minnesota at home in overtime. Before the Terrapins’ one-point victory over the Golden Gophers, Maryland was 0-71 overall when trailing by 17 points or more in the fourth quarter.

Sophomore quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa became the third player in Big Ten history in the last 20 years to finish a game with 350 passing yards, three passing touchdowns and two rushing scores, joining Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State in 2018 and Zak Kustok of Northwestern in 2001. His 394 passing yards are the most by a Maryland quarterback since 2010 and ranks 10th in the Terps’ single-game history.

Maryland Chapter President, running back Jake Funk, had a career day. The senior, who lost his 2018 and 2019 seasons to ACL tears in his left knee, posted career highs in carries (21) and rushing yards (221). It was the first time in program history that Maryland had a 300-yard passer (Tagovailoa) and a 200-yard rusher (Funk) in the same game.

Notre Dame: Powered by a defense that totaled 14 stops behind the line of scrimmage and limited fellow chapter school Georgia Tech to less than 250 total yards, the No. 4 ranked Fighting Irish ran their winning streak to 12 games, the longest active streak in FBS. Defensive end Daelin Hayes was all over the field, recording five tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles and a pair of tackles for a loss. A bright spot for Georgia Tech was when redshirt sophomore cornerback Zamari Walton scooped up a Notre Dame fumble and returned it 93 yards in the second quarter to establish a school record. Walton’s return, the first fumble recovery of his career, surpassed the previous record of 90 yards by Kofi Smith in 1998. Notre Dame Chapter President, linebacker Drew White, had four tackles including a tackle for a loss. Georgia Tech Chapter leaders, offensive lineman Jack DeFoor and Zach Quinney, started at left guard and left tackle, respectively.

Clemson: Playing without Heisman Trophy candidate QB Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 ranked Tigers scored 24 unanswered points to overcome a 15-point halftime deficit at home against Boston College. Freshman D.J. Uiagalelei replaced Lawrence under center and threw for 342 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Clemson Chapter Vice President, punter Will Spiers, averaged 48.0 yards on three punts including a 60-yard bomb. Chapter President, long snapper Jack Maddox, handled all the long snap duties for the Tigers.

Northwestern: The Wildcats erased a 17-point first-quarter deficit and rode a strong defensive effort to nurse a one-point lead entering the fourth quarter across the finish line to improve to 2-0. Northwestern’s linebacker trio of Paddy Fisher, Chris Bergin and Blake Gallagher each recorded double-digit tackles, including a career-high 12 from Bergin. Northwestern Chapter Vice President, defensive lineman Joe Spivak, made his first start in his 29th career game appearance. He finished with two tackles.

Round-Up: Penn State dropped to 0-2 after falling behind early before seeing a second-half rally against Ohio State fall short. Nittany Lions WR Jahan Dotson had a career night with eight catches, 144 yards and three touchdowns. Former Penn State Chapter President, quarterback Sean Clifford, had 252 of his 281 passing yards in the second half. … Illinois trailed by 21 points late in the third quarter, rallied for 14 unanswered points before turning the ball over on downs trying to complete its comeback against Purdue. Illinois Chapter President, offensive lineman Alex Palczewski, made his 38th straight start. … Baylor fell behind TCU 30-0 before the game was 21 minutes old, but staged a furious second-half rally that fell short. Bears tight end Ben Sims had a pair of touchdown catches becoming the first Baylor TE with a pair of TD catches in a game since Justin Akers in 2008. … Syracuse was overpowered by a red-hot Wake Forest team that posted its fourth win in a row. The Orange were also hampered by giveaways and lost the turnover battle 3-0. Former Syracuse Chapter leader, punter Nolan Cooney, averaged 42.4 yards on seven punts with three inside the 20-yard-line and three more that covered 50-plus yards. … The Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) returns to action Wednesday with chapter schools Kent State and Western Michigan each scheduled to play.

Each week during the college football season we will feature a player who is an officer for an Uplifting Athletes Chapter. This week we feature Saint Francis lineman and Chapter President Shaun Hastings.

Chapter Update: Northwestern opens season with a bang and two other teams pick up Week 7 victories


Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald earned his 100th victory as the Wildcats’ skipper behind a balanced offense led by Indiana transfer Peyton Ramsey and a defense that surrendered only a first-quarter field goal to fellow chapter school Maryland.

The 40-point margin of victory is the ‘Cats’ largest against a Big Ten opponent since 1970 when Northwestern beat Illinois 48-0. Ramsey accounted for 259 total yards (212 passing, 47 rushing) and two touchdowns. He completed 23 passes, the most completions by a Northwestern quarterback in his first start since Gavin Hoffman in 1999.

Maryland Chapter leader, running back Jake Funk, led the Terrapins with 35 rushing yards on six carries and added nine more yards receiving on a pair of receptions. Northwestern Chapter Vice President, defensive lineman Joe Spivak, finished with one tackle on defense and also lined up on offense at fullback on the goal line.

Notre Dame: For the first time since 2012 the No. 3 ranked Fighting Irish held back-to-back opponents to fewer than 10 points with a road victory at Pittsburgh. Quarterback Ian Book finished with 312 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns, while the Irish defense limited the Panthers to a first-quarter field goal and only 162 yards of total offense. With a three-yard run early in the second quarter, Book became just the second quarterback in Notre Dame history to eclipse the 8,000 total offensive yards plateau in his career – joining Brady Quinn ‘07 (11,944). Notre Dame Chapter President, linebacker Drew White, finished with two tackles and was in on a tackle for a loss as well.

Clemson: The top-ranked Tigers were in a tight spot with fellow chapter school Syracuse at home before Clemson’s defense took control with a momentum-swinging strip-sack in the third quarter that was returned for a touchdown by Andrew Booth, Jr. Clemson Chapter President, punter Will Spiers, not only celebrated his 23rd birthday on game day but averaged 53.6 yards on five punts, including four of 50 yards or more. It was his third straight game with a punting average of 50.0 yards or more, a career-long streak. He tied his career long with a 64-yard bomb in the first quarter. Spiers also converted a fourth-and-3 on a fake punt with a six-yard rush in the second quarter. It was his third career first down on a fake punt but his first via a rush. Syracuse Chapter President, long snapper Aaron Bolinsky, handled all the Orange long snap duties.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions rallied to take an eight-point lead late in regulation before Indiana tied it late in regulation and won it in the first overtime by narrowly scoring on a two-point conversion by quarterback Michael Penix, Jr. Former Penn State Chapter President, quarterback Sean Clifford, accounted for 357 yards of total offense (238 passing, 119 rushing) and four touchdowns.

Round-Up: NC State struggled in its first game without their regular starting quarterback, Devin Leary who is out for the season. The Wolfpack fell behind North Carolina on the road 17-7 at halftime before the Tar Heels ripped off 21 unanswered points to start the second half. … Playing for the first time in three weeks because of pandemic issues, Baylor saw its offense show plenty of rust for three quarters before finding its way in the fourth quarter at Texas. The Bears had nearly half of their 316 yards in the fourth quarter and scored twice. … Illinois Chapter President, offensive lineman Alex Palczewski, started his 37th consecutive game for the Fighting Illini in a road loss to Wisconsin. … Florida State saw Louisville score on its first five possessions to fall behind 31-14 at halftime and never recovered. … Georgia Tech turned it over early and fell behind 24-0 at Boston College. The Yellow Jackets were outgained by only 47 total yards, but lost the turnover battle 3-0 and had 10 penalties.

Each week during the college football season we will feature a player who is an officer for an Uplifting Athletes Chapter. This week we feature Maryland running back and Chapter President Jake Funk.

Chapter Update: Florida State pulls off big-time upset and three other chapter schools pick up Week 6 wins


For the first time in more than a half century an unranked Florida State team beat a top-five ranked team in Doak Campbell Stadium with a narrow victory over North Carolina. The last time it happened was October 16, 1965 when the Seminoles recorded a 10-3 win over No. 5 Georgia.

The upset provided Mike Norvell his first ACC victory as the Florida State head coach. The Seminoles’ last victory over a top-five team came in 2014 when they edged Notre Dame.

Quarterback Jordan Travis completed only eight passes, but finished with 191 yards through the air to average nearly 24 yard per completion. He also rushed 16 times for 107 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Florida State also blocked a pair of punts in the first quarter and now leads the nation in blocked kicks with five.

Florida State Chapter President, linebacker DeCalon Brooks, scooped up a blocked punt on the first drive of the game and returned it 18 yards to set up FSU’s first touchdown. Fellow FSU Chapter Leader, wide receiver Keyshawn Helton, had two catches for 43 yards.

Clemson: The Tigers scored a school record 52 points in the first half to extend its road winning streak to 14 games with a victory over fellow Uplifting Athletes Chapter Georgia Tech. The previous mark for points in a half was 49 against Wake Forest in 1981. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence became only the second quarterback in school history to throw for 400 yards and five touchdowns in a road game. Lawrence joins Tajh Boyd, who did it twice – once in 2012 and another time in 2013. Clemson Chapter President, punter Will Spiers, averaged 50.7 yards on three punts. The senior also made a late cameo appearance at quarterback for the Tigers, completing 2 of 3 passes for 13 yards.

Notre Dame: Sophomore running back Kyren Williams posted his third consecutive 100-yard game to help the No. 4 ranked Fighting Irish edge Louisville to remain unbeaten. Williams finished with 127 yards on 25 carries. Louisville came into this contest averaging nearly 425 yards a game offensively, but an Irish defense that surrendered fewer than 12 points a game on average held the Cardinals to a season-low 219 yards and seven points. Notre Dame Chapter President, linebacker Drew White, finished with three tackles including a tackle for a loss.

NC State: The Wolfpack trailed by six at halftime, but used a strong defensive effort in the second half to roll past Duke at home. NC State outscored the Blue Devils 17-0 in the second half. Redshirt sophomore linebacker Payton Wilson had a pair of interceptions to become the first Wolfpack linebacker with a pair of interceptions in the same contest since Jerod Fernanez picked off No. 1 ranked Florida State twice in the 2014 matchup. Wilson also finished with a team-high 19 tackles in the victory over Duke, the most tackles for a Pack player since Earl Wolff had 19 vs. Clemson in 2012.

Syracuse: Back-up quarterback Rex Culpepper, playing in place of injured starter Tommy DeVito, threw three touchdown passes and running back Sean Tucker notched his second 100-yard game of the season in a home loss to Liberty. Former Syracuse Chapter Leader, punter Nolan Cooney, averaged 46.5 yards per punt and he dropped all six of his punts inside the 20-yard line.

Joshua Eargle, the 2019 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion, stood in for Kansas’ Les Miles Saturday at West Virginia as the Jayhawks acting head coach. Miles was unable to make the trip to Morgantown after testing positive for COVID-19. Eargle won the award for his inspiring efforts to advance support and awareness for his daughter’s battle with an ultra rare disease.
Each week during the college football season we will feature a player who is an officer for an Uplifting Athletes Chapter. This week we feature Western Michigan linebacker and Chapter President Zaire Barnes.

Chapter Update: Notre Dame pushes past Florida State and three other teams nail down Week 5 victories


Playing for the first time in three weeks, No. 5 ranked Notre Dame used a balanced offensive attack to push past Florida State in a match-up of Uplifting Athletes chapter schools.

Sophomore running back Kyren Williams went for 185 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries and freshman Chris Tyree kicked in 103 on 11 carries with a touchdown. Combined the duo averaged 9.6 yards per carry.  Wide receiver Javon McKinley also had a 100-yard day, catching five passes for 107 yards. The last time Notre Dame had a pair of 100-yard rushers and a 100-yard receiver in a single game was 2015 against Stanford.

Florida State fell behind 14-3 early but counter punched the entire game, grabbing a 17-14 lead late in the first quarter. Seminoles quarterback Jordan Travis had 300 total yards in his first start (204 passing, 96 rushing) with a pair of touchdowns.

Notre Dame Chapter leaders, linebackers Drew White and JD Bertrand, each had three tackles for the Fighting Irish. Former chapter leader, tight end Brock Wright, had two catches for 10 yards.

Clemson: The No. 1 ranked Tigers extended their home winning streak to 25 in handing No. 13 Miami its first loss of the season. RB Travis Etienne had 222 total yards (149 rushing, 73 receiving) and scored a pair of rushing touchdowns. Etienne extended his school record for 100-yard rushing games to 19 and became the first non-kicker in ACC history to score 400 points. QB Trevor Lawrence added 292 yards passing with three touchdowns and the Clemson defense produced three interceptions and five sacks. Clemson Chapter President Will Spiers punted only three times but averaged a stellar 52.7 yards per kick and Vice President Jack Maddox handled all the long snapper duties for the Tigers.

Georgia Tech: After falling behind 21-7 late in the second quarter Friday night at Bobby Dodd Stadium, the Yellow Jackets went on a tear and overwhelmed Louisville to even their record at 2-2. Wide receiver Ahmarean Brown’s touchdown pass in the final minute ignited the comeback. Brown’s nine-yard toss to Jalen Camp was the first touchdown pass by a Georgia Tech wide receiver since 2003. The Yellow Jackets outscored the Cardinals 32-6 in the second half. Georgia Tech Chapter leaders Jake DeFoor and Zach Quinney started at left guard and left tackle, respectively.

NC State: The Wolfpack picked up their second road victory in as many weeks with a victory at Virginia. NC State scored 24 unanswered first-half points to grab control. QB Devin Leary threw a pair of first-quarter touchdown passes and RB Zonovan Knight added a 35-yard TD scamper to put NC State in control. The Wolfpack defense made a pair of goal-line stands, stopping UVA at the 1-yard line twice. NC State Chapter Vice President Dylan Autenrieth started at tight end and President Thomas Ruocchio saw snaps on special teams and at tight end.

Syracuse: Four forced turnovers by the Orange defense was not enough to overcome Duke’s strong balanced offense that produced nearly 650 yards of total offense. Syracuse Chapter President Aaron Bolinsky started at long snapper and former chapter leader Nolan Cooney averaged 46.9 yards per punt with half of his eight kicks traveling 50-plus yards including a pair downed inside the 20-yard-line.

Each week during the college football season we will feature a player who is an officer for an Uplifting Athletes Chapter. This week we feature Davidson quarterback and Chapter President Tyler Phelps.

Chapter Update: NC State wins wild 2020 season opener and two other teams notch Week 2 victories


Powered by running backs Ricky Person Jr. and Zonovan Knight, NC State won its 2020 season opener in a wild back-and-forth affair with Wake Forest. Person and Knight combined for 196 yards on the ground with three touchdowns.

Person scored the winning touchdown on a 3-yard run late in the fourth quarter and finished with 99 yards and two scores. He also threw a touchdown pass on a halfback option.

Wake Forest, which rallied from 14-point deficits three times, had one final shot to win it. Back-to-back sacks by Vi Jones and Daniel Joseph sealed the Wolfpack victory.

Syracuse: For the second consecutive week the Orange defense gave Syracuse a chance on the road, this week against No. 25 Pitt. Only problem was the Panthers defense was just as strong. The Orange defense produced a pair of turnovers, had eight tackles for a loss, three sacks and held Pitt to fewer than 350 total yards. But the Orange offense managed only 171 total yards and was shut out in the second half of a 14-10 game at intermission. Former Syracuse Chapter leader and punter Nolan Cooney continues to shine. The senior averaged 43.6 yards per punt, registered one of 50-plus yards and dropped two of his six kicks inside the 20. 

Notre Dame: The No. 7 ranked Fighting Irish extended its home winning streak to a modern program record 20 games behind six rushing touchdowns from four different players. Notre Dame scored on its first four possessions to seize a 35-0 halftime cushion. Quarterback Ian Book had three rushing touchdowns the first half to become the first quarterback in modern school history with three rushing TD’s in a half. Notre Dame Chapter Vice President JD Bertrand recorded his first career tackle in the second quarter. The sophomore linebacker finished with three tackles.

Clemson: The No. 1 ranked Tigers claimed their home opener with ease and in the process set an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) record with their 31st consecutive regular season victory to surpass the 2013-15 Florida State Seminoles. Clemson scored on its first seven possessions, led 28-0 after one quarter and 49-0 at halftime. Fast starts are a trademark of this offense guided by quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Since the start of the 2019 season, the Tigers have now outscored the opposition 219-34 in the first quarter. Clemson Chapter President Will Spiers averaged 46 yards per punt and buried two of his three kicks inside the 20.

Georgia Tech: Offense wasn’t a problem for the Yellow Jackets in their home opener at The Flats as Georgia Tech rolled up nearly 500 total yards. Five turnovers, the most in a game for the Jackets since 2013, was simply too much to overcome against the equally high-powered No. 14 ranked UCF offense. True freshman Jahmyr Gibbs amassed 219 all-purpose yards and scored twice. Gibbs had a rushing and receiving touchdown and set up Tech’s first score with a 75-yard return on the opening kickoff.

Each week during the college football season we will feature a player who is an officer for an Uplifting Athletes Chapter. This week we feature Notre Dame Linebacker and Chapter Vice President and  JD Bertrand.

Chapter Update: Georgia Tech rallies past Florida State and two other teams post Week 1 victories


Georgia Tech overcame a tough first half that included two interceptions and a pair of blocked field goals to rally from 10 points down to win its season opener on the road against fellow Uplifting Athletes Chapter Florida State.

True freshman quarterback Jeff Sims accounted for 341 total yards in his first start and Jude Kelly drilled a 32-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter to win it for the Yellow Jackets.

Georgia Tech’s defense surrendered a touchdown on the opening drive of the game before slamming the door by limiting the Seminoles offense to only two field goals the rest of the way.

Clemson: A school record 18th career 100-yard rushing game by running back Travis Etienne along with a stellar outing by quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who threw for 351 yards and scored a pair of rushing touchdowns, powered the No. 1 ranked Tigers to a road victory at Wake Forest. Clemson Chapter leader Will Spiers averaged 42.8 yards on four punts including a 56-yard bomb. The Tigers’ defense registered six sacks and 11 tackles for a loss.

Notre Dame: Sophomore running back Kyren Williams, making his first career start, torched visiting Duke for 205 total yards and a pair of touchdowns as Notre Dame recorded its first ever conference victory. Williams became the first Irish player in the last 25 years to record 90-plus yards rushing and receiving in the same game. Notre Dame Chapter leader and starting linebacker Drew White recorded five tackles.

Syracuse: Led by three interceptions, two by linebacker Mikel Jones, the Orange defense kept Syracuse in the game for three quarters on the road against No. 18 North Carolina. The Orange trailed 10-6 entering the final 15 minutes before the Tar Heels rattled off touchdowns on three consecutive possessions to finish off the determined Orange. Former Syracuse Chapter leader Nolan Cooney drilled four of his nine punts more than 50 yards and averaged a stellar 47.8 yards per kick.

Each week during the college football season we will feature a player who is an officer for an Uplifting Athletes Chapter. This week we present Colgate quarterback and Chapter President Jake Froschauer

Why support rare now?


Nearly 30 million Americans are living with a rare disease and  COVID-19 continues to present a myriad of challenges that is not only impacting the patients but their families and caregivers as well.

At the top of the list is reduced access to vital medical care which, in turn, has exacerbated already existing challenges. Among those already existing challenges include an accurate diagnosis of a complex disease, limited treatment protocol options, financial struggles, absence of hope and mental fatigue for patients, families and caregivers. 

“I don’t think you need to have a rare disease to have had all of this impact you mentally,” said Dr. Justin Hopkin, the father of a son with a rare disease and a rare disease advocate. “Managing the mental aspect of all this has been difficult for everybody. Finances, jobs, social issues … all those things have weighed heavily on most of us, but we know it’s been especially hard on those living with a rare disease.”

The isolation some Americans are feeling as we navigate the obstacle course of this pandemic is how some rare disease patients feel everyday. 

Since March, medical research on diseases other than COVID-19 has taken a huge hit. There have been countless research studies abandoned, suspended or postponed. 

Much is still unanswered about the ultimate impact the pandemic will have on clinical trials, too. That’s because it is unclear how many of these studies will eventually restart and how long it will be before they begin again.

Clinical trials play a critical role physically and mentally for rare disease patients. They show researchers and doctors what does and doesn’t work, and are a critical vehicle for rare disease patients to receive or obtain life altering therapy.

A clinical trial being delayed, interrupted or canceled can be a tipping point for a rare disease patient . They don’t have the luxury in most cases of multiple clinical trials. And the delay, interruption or cancelation of that trial jeopardizes any hope they might have had and could even be life threatening.

All this is going to lead to a healthcare system already pushed to its extreme limits by this pandemic becoming backed up and slowed even more. And it will directly and adversely impact a Rare Disease Community that faces an uphill climb under optimal conditions.

“Like everyone else, what we are hearing from the patients in our community has been tough,” said Kathi Luis, a rare disease advocate. “There was a lot of hopelessness, without their rehab, medication, treatments, clinical trials delayed or canceled … they didn’t have any hope. They are really defeated.”

In April, the National Organization For Rare Diseases (NORD) reached out to patients to gauge the best way to guide support and help for the Rare Disease Community.

Nearly 800 people responded to the survey from NORD’s research team and the results were made public last month.

95 percent of the respondents said they have been impacted at a cost to both their immediate and long-term health and well-being. Nearly three-quarters have had a medical appointment canceled and, of those, 65 percent were offered an alternative appointment via phone or video. 69 percent of the respondents have concerns about medication and medical supply shortages.

“Treating rare and medically complex cases like mine takes multimodal approaches. Remove one piece of the puzzle and the care patients receive results in sub-optimal outcomes. COVID-19 further exposed a glaring problem in the healthcare system by asking us what defines essential medical treatments,” said Marni Cartelli, a rare disease patient. “What if a treatment on its face doesn’t keep someone alive but is supplemental to one that does? Also, we must ask ourselves, is keeping someone alive the only essential medical service? What about keeping someone’s ability to feed themselves? These are all questions I ask myself every single day but society only had to ask itself in this pandemic.”

The time for action to support the Rare Disease Community is now. As we all adjust to what is the most recent new normal, the mental fatigue associated with the unknown for rare disease patients continues.

Uplifting Athletes is uniquely positioned to inspire hope in the Rare Disease Community. The 7,000 Mile Challenge is a way for YOU to get active and rally support for the rare diseases this summer.