2021 Reps For Rare Diseases campaign sets records, displays the power of sports


Empowering NFL prospects to use their Combine or Pro Day performance as a platform to give back and inspire the Rare Disease Community is what drives Uplifting Athletes Reps For Rare Diseases.

2021 marks the seventh consecutive year these athletes have used their platform to raise funds for Uplifting Athletes and introduce their fans, friends and family to the rare disease cause.

With the NFL bypassing its annual Combine and relying solely on individual university Pro Days in order to evaluate prospects, there was an air of uncertainty how this campaign would unfold when it kicked off March 6th.

“Uplifting Athletes is a great organization and has strong ties to Syracuse University,” said 2021 Reps For Rare Diseases participant Nolan Cooney, a former rare disease patient who served as a leader for the Syracuse Chapter. “I’m doing Reps For Rare Diseases to not just raise funds, but to use my platform to bring attention to the Rare Disease Community.”

Reps For Rare Diseases enables athletes to give back at a pivotal point in their quest to play at the highest level as they put their skills on display for NFL teams.

As we hoped, people were engaged and moved by the power of sports. Fans shared rare disease stories, donors were inspired by the heart of the players using their platform to serve a greater good and the Rare Disease Community was exposed to an audience of nearly 14 million during the month-long campaign.

“This opportunity was brought to me by marketing guys as something I could consider doing. So I looked into Uplifting Athletes, and for me it was a no brainer,” said former Texas Tech defensive end Eli Howard. “There’s 1 in 10 Americans living with a rare disease and this is a great opportunity to use my platform to help those with the rare diseases. Pro Day is all about yourself to be honest, but this is a way to make it about others. I love that. For me, this is such a blessing to be able to do this.”

This year, 54 NFL prospects from a record 31 schools participated in Reps For Rare Diseases. Each used their social media to promote their participation in the campaign and nearly half of them received additional media coverage including television, online media, podcasts and newspapers to share the message about the rare disease cause.

Fans showed their appreciation by leaving personal messages of thanks, motivation and inspiration on each players’ individual campaign page. Some of the examples include: 

  • I appreciate your action for this program. A rare disease in my family makes for challenging times and treatment. Thank you; 
  • You have done wonderful and I am so proud of you. The charity you have chosen shows that you are a man of good character; 
  • Thank you for having the heart of a champion, both on the field and for those in need within this community.

The Rare Disease Community also made sure its voice was heard: 

  • There will never be the right words to thank you for doing this for the rare disease community. So let this donation say what I can’t; 
  • As a father to a son who has an ultra rare genetic disease, Caleb’s work to bring awareness to our community means the world to me.

Some even left heartfelt notes in memory of those who lost their battles with a rare disease: 

  • So proud of you Will…what a great charity. Would like to honor my mother- who passed from ALS; 
  • Keep up the great work. In Loving Memory of our Beautiful One, Sophia Grace Webster, sunrise 3-20-20, sunset 4-2-20.

The 2021 campaign set a record with more than $111,500 raised to support Uplifting Athletes and its commitment to create Uplifting Leaders, engage in Uplifting Experiences, fund Rare Disease Research, and expand Rare Disease Awareness.

A record 31 of the participants raised at least $1,000, more than doubling the previous high of 14.

“I’m really excited that I (had) the opportunity to help people who have rare diseases,” said former Oregon defensive back Brady Breeze, who finished Reps For Rare Diseases as the No. 1 overall fundraiser with $6,065. “There’s a lot of people who have reached out to me and thanked me for doing it. They’re rare diseases for a reason. People don’t know they exist until they get a note from the doctor. I really want to help those people out that have diseases that aren’t recognized as much. I just want to help in any way I can.”

Horizon Therapeutics plc and Uplifting Athletes worked together for the second year in a row as Reps For Rare Diseases teammates. Horizon matched all donations up to $35,000 through its #RAREis program, which is dedicated to providing individuals living with a rare disease and families access to resources that connect, inform and educate as they navigate their daily lives.

“The guys that run (the Uplifting Athletes Chapter) for us at Northwestern are a couple of special dudes and put a lot of time and effort into this,” former Wildcats quarterback Peyton Ramsey said. “We all decided we needed to do our part and do this for a very good cause.. I’m grateful to all the fans who donated to support us.”

2020 Rare Disease Champion Team: Learn more about Northwestern defensive tackle Joe Spivak and what his inspiration means to a rare disease patient


Joe Spivak

University: Northwestern University

Vitals: 6-0, 300 pounds, senior, defensive lineman

Quick Hits: 2020: A natural leader, Joe was a three-time captain in high school, becoming the first sophomore football player chosen as a captain at Esmark High School in Chicago. Joe has appeared in 36 games for the Wildcats since his true freshman year in 2017, including 22 the last two seasons. He made his first career start at defensive tackle against Iowa in the second game of the 2020 season and went on to start the next nine games for the Wildcats during their run to a Big Ten West crown and a second appearance in the conference title game in the last three years. In the Citrus Bowl victory over Auburn, Joe notched his first career solo sack. The two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection is a leader on so many fronts, and has brought his intense passion and purpose to the Rare Disease Community by serving as a leader in the Northwestern Chapter of Uplifting Athletes since 2018. He continues to serve as the Vice President of the chapter and is using his platform to make a difference in the lives of patients across the country.

RARE IMPACT FROM THE VOICE OF A RARE DISEASE PATIENT

“The week Northwestern football was preparing for its 2020 Big Ten Championship game against Ohio State I was getting some surprising and devastating news, I stopped responding to treatments.

This is one of every rare or chronic illness patient’s worst fear. We have so little options to begin with that we consider it almost a miracle when something works. So, to hear that my already limited pool of therapeutics had shrunk further was a true gut punch. But I was really looking forward to the game. It had now become not only a chance to root for my team, but a much-needed distraction.

It was Thursday of championship week and my phone rings. On the other end is none other than a couple of Northwestern players I have come to admire, Joe Spivak and Pete Snodgrass. They were checking in with me, to see how I was doing.

When I assured Joe that if they were busy, they could put off the call until after the season he told me, “Marni, we will always find time to talk to you.” I bet you are wondering what ultra-inspiring conversation we had?

We talked about smoking meat. Yup, that is right we talked about different types of smokers and what meats you can use them for. We also talked about future goals, but mostly, smoking meats.

Why do I share this? It’s simple, it shows two sides of Joe Spivak. The side that puts other people first and made sure that the week of his big game a rare disease patient knew she was still thought of, and the side that is just genuine and has you laughing so hard as he ponders what meat he can come up with to try and smoke.

In the Rare Disease Community, we are used to people caring about us who have a connection to the space. But I met Joe when he reached out to me, a total stranger, to learn about the rare disease experience.

When he realized how I was struggling, he kept that relationship going and encouraged me to push past the shadows and to fight the disease consuming my body. He never once gave up on me and made me realize I am more than this disease. With his support I took the steps to see what my body really was capable of.

I started working with a physical therapist and strength coach and the girl who couldn’t walk around the block without her cane can now jog. I was told by several doctors to accept that my arm was a loss, the disease too far gone in ravaging it. Before the Wildcats’ 2020 season I couldn’t lift it past shoulder height and that was with excruciating pain. Now, I have close to full range. 

Sometimes there are so many voices in the world telling you “you can’t” it becomes suffocating. Hearing a stranger tell you “I believe you can”, can be the most powerful tool you have.

It becomes the voice that echoes in your mind when you have those “bad” disease days, curled up in a ball on the floor screaming in pain. It becomes the words that get you through the doctor’s appointments where they tell you news you were dreading, and it becomes the voice you make the loudest when those other voices begin to bombard you.

Joe Spivak is whose voice is in my head.”

Marni Cartelli

WHAT THEY SAID

“I love football… but even more than that, I love the relationships that football has brought into my life. I believe that Uplifting Athletes is extending these unbreakable bonds into a community that needs them more than ever. To be able to serve as an example and extension of family to rare disease patients and families is what is really awesome!” – Joe Spivak

Chapter Update: Northwestern finishes off magical year with a victory and three other teams close out 2020 season


Northwestern capped off a memorable 2020 season by winning its fourth consecutive bowl game with a victory over Auburn in the Citrus Bowl. The Big Ten West champions used an offensive explosion that produced the most passing (291) and total yards (457) this season.

Wildcats linebacker Paddy Fisher posted a game-high 12 tackles to become the sixth NU player to clear the career 400-tackle plateau. The last Northwestern player to eclipse 400 was current Wildcats linebackers coach Tim McGaricle (2002-2005).

Northwestern Chapter Vice President, defensive tackle Joe Spivak, recorded his first tackle for a loss and sack of the season. He started the final eight games for the Wildcats and finished the season with 14 tackles.

Clemson: The Tigers’ 125th season came to close at the hands of Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl as part of the College Football Playoff. Clemson finished 10-2 overall, won another ACC title and made its sixth consecutive appearance in the College Football Playoff. It was the first time Ohio State has ever defeated Clemson. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw for 400 yards and finished his career 34-2 as the Tigers starting quarterback. Clemson Chapter Vice President, punter Will Spiers, averaged a stellar 47.4 yards on five punts.

Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish defense held No. 1 ranked Alabama to a season-low 31 points, but still fell to the Crimson Tide in the Rose Bowl as part of the College Football Playoff. Notre Dame limited the powerful Alabama offense to nine possessions and surrendered only four touchdowns to a Crimson Tide team that came into the contest averaging nearly 50 points a game. Notre Dame Chapter President, linebacker Drew White, tied for the team lead with a season-high nine tackles. Former ND Chapter leader, tight end Brock Wright, played on offense and was also credited with a tackle.

NC State: After falling behind 13-0 at halftime, the Wolfpack rallied in the second half before coming up short against Kentucky in the Gator Bowl. NC State finished the 2020 season with an 8-4 mark that included four consecutive wins leading into the bowl game. NC State Chapter Vice President, tight end Dylan Autenrieth, had a catch for two yards against the Wildcats. Kentucky linebacker Josh Paschal, a member of the Uplifting Athletes 2019 Rare Disease Champion Team, had four tackles and a half sack against NC State.

2020 Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year: Congratulations to Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald for being named the winner of the 2020 Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year. The Dodd Trophy recognizes excellence in a program on and off the field. The Wildcats won the Big Ten West for the second time in three years, had a record 69 players earn Academic All-Big Ten honors, leads the country in graduation success rate (GSR) at 97 percent and promotes player driven service to others including Uplifting Athletes, Dance Marathon, Special Olympics and Misericordia.

Chapter Update: Clemson claims sixth straight ACC crown and Penn State finishes strong to highlight Week 15


Clemson continued its dominance of the ACC, winning its sixth consecutive outright Conference title by controlling fellow chapter school Notre Dame in the championship game.

Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who improved to 34-1 as a starter, was named game MVP on the strength of his 412 total yards (322 passing, 90 rushing) and three touchdowns. Clemson’s defense limited the Fighting Irish to just 263 yards and recorded six quarterback sacks.

Clemson avenged its regular-season loss to Notre Dame, and both the Tigers and Irish qualified for the upcoming College Football Playoff.

Clemson Chapter Vice President, punter Will Spiers, buried all three of his kicks against the Irish inside the 20-yard line. Chapter President, long snapper Jack Maddox, handled the long-snap duties in all 11 regular season games and twice earned team special teams player of the game honors. Notre Dame Chapter President, linebacker Drew White, finished with two tackles, one tackle for a loss and his first solo sack of the season.

Notre Dame freshman tight end Michael Mayer led the Irish with five receptions, giving him 35 catches this season. Mayer’s 35 grabs are the most in a single season by a Notre Dame true freshman tight end in Irish history, and ranks tenth among all Notre Dame tight ends for single-season receptions.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions finished their season with four straight victories in a wild affair with fellow chapter school Illinois. Penn State and the Fighting Illini combined to score 63 points in the first half – including 42 in the first quarter. Wide receiver Jahan Dotson had a career day with 189 receiving yards including touchdowns covering 75 and 70 yards. Lamont Wade added a 100-yard kickoff return – the first in a Big Ten game for Penn State and the first 100-plus yard kickoff for the Nittany Lions in a decade.

Northwestern: For the second time in three years the Wildcats fell to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship game. Northwestern’s defense gave the ‘Cats a chance by limiting the Buckeyes to a season-low 22 points and holding the OSU passing game in check. Northwestern led 10-6 at intermission, but the Buckeyes running game caught fire the second half with 300-plus yards on the ground. Northwestern Chapter Vice President, defensive tackle Joe Spivak, started, and finished with one tackle.

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 UPenn linebacker and Chapter Vice President Brian O’Neill.

Meet the five inspiring leaders on the 2020 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Team


Uplifting Athletes is pleased to announce the 2020 Rare Disease Champion Team.

For more than a dozen years, Uplifting Athletes has celebrated leaders in college football that have made a positive and lasting impact on the Rare Disease Community through its Rare Disease Champion initiative.

The five members of the 2020 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion team are Syracuse punter Nolan Cooney, Syracuse quarterback Rex Culpepper, Stanford head coach David Shaw, Austin Peay defensive lineman Josephus Smith and Northwestern defensive lineman Joe Spivak. 

Uplifting Athletes couldn’t be more proud to share these inspiring rare disease stories.

“We have been moved by the way each member of the 2020 Rare Disease Champion Team has used their platform to inspire, serve and support the Rare Disease Community,” Uplifting Athletes Executive Director Rob Long said. “Our tradition of honoring the team at in-person events is not plausible during these times, but we feel it is our duty and honor to recognize, celebrate and share their inspiring accomplishments and stories.”

Each member of the 2020 Rare Disease Champion Team will be honored and celebrated during the first two weeks of Rare Disease Awareness Month in February 2021.

The Rare Disease Champion Team is an Uplifting Athletes awareness initiative that is part of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). Nominees for the award were solicited from any NCAA FBS, FCS, Division II or Division III institution or college football program nationwide.

Kent State wide receiver Antwan Dixon, Davidson linebacker George Hatalowich, Syracuse offensive lineman Sam Heckel, Penn student assistant Anthony Lotti and Kentucky linebacker Josh Paschal comprised the 2019 Rare Disease Champion Team.

Past Rare Disease Champion winners consist of seven FBS players including USC long snapper Jake Olson (2016), UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin (2018) and Auburn wide receiver Sammie Coates (2015), one FCS player, a Division III quarterback, two FBS assistant coach and an administrator from AFCA. 

The Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Team is a member of the National College Football Awards Association. The NCFAA encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935.

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: 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: Northwestern locks down Wisconsin to win fifth straight and four other teams register Week 11 victories


Northwestern is 5-0 overall for the first time since 2015 after knocking off No. 10 Wisconsin. The last time the Wildcats knocked off an AP Top-10 team was 2011 when it beat Nebraska.

The last time Northwestern held an AP Top-10 opponent to seven or fewer points was 1967 against Miami. The Wildcats defense produced five turnovers, held Wisconsin to 5-for-20 (25 percent) on third and fourth downs and did not allow the Badgers to take a single snap in the red zone.

For the fourth time in five games, Northwestern held an opponent scoreless in the second half and has now outscored the opposition 47-10 in the second half this season. The Wildcats turned it over only once and had just one penalty for five yards.

Quarterback Peyton Ramsey had a pair of touchdown passes to pace the Wildcats offense. Linebackers Blake Gallagher and Paddy Fisher combined for 27 tackles, three tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a sack. Northwestern Chapter Vice President, defensive tackle Joe Spivak, started up front and finished with a pair of tackles.

Illinois: Sparked by an offense that rang up nearly 500 yards and a defense that produced five turnovers, the Illini won its second game in a row by winning at Nebraska for the first time since 1924. Running backs Mike Epstein and Chase Brown each rushed for more than 100 yards against the Huskers. It is the first time Illinois has had back-to-back games with two 100-plus yard rushers since Rocky Harvey and Antonio Harris in 2000. The back-to-back road victories marks the first time since 2007 Illinois has won consecutive Big Ten games away from home. 

NC State: Linebacker Vi Jones blocked a 39-yard field goal attempt with 1:20 left to give the Wolfpack their first win over a nationally ranked opponent at home since 2017, and the first at home over a ranked non-conference foe since 2007 in edging No. 21 Liberty. The block by Jones was his third blocked kick of the season. Linebacker Isaiah Moore had a team-high 13 tackles and forced a safety in the third quarter, the first Wolfpack two-pointer on defense since 2010. 

Kent State: The Golden Flashes are 3-0 for the first time since 1958 after securing the Wagon Wheel for the second consecutive year by drubbing rival Akron. The Flashes tied school records for most points in a single game (69) and most total yards in a single game (750) as well as broke the school record for yards per play (9.62). It is the first time in school history that the Flashes have scored 60-plus points in back-to-back games, becoming just the third Mid-American Conference (MAC) school to do so since 1970. Dustin Crum became the first quarterback in Kent State history to throw for three touchdowns and rush for two scores in the victory. Crum finished with 452 total yards (348 passing, 104 rushing), the third most in school history, and became the first Golden Flashes player since Julian Edelman in 2008 to have two touchdowns both rushing and passing. Kent State Chapter President, wide receiver Isaac Vance, had four catches for 36 yards.

Western Michigan: For the third year in a row the Broncos secured the Victory Cannon Trophy as WMU defeated rival Central Michigan. Western Michigan rang  up a staggering 628. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Kaleb Eleby finished with a career-high 382 yards passing and a career-best five touchdown passes. Redshirt senior wide receiver D’Wayne Eskridge led all Broncos with 212 yards receiving and three touchdowns on just four receptions. 

Round-Up: Penn State fell behind Iowa by 27 points before former Penn State Chapter President, back-up quarterback Sean Clifford, threw a pair of touchdown passes on consecutive throws to slice the deficit to 10 late in the third quarter. However, it wasn’t enough as the Nittany Lions turned it over four times, including a pick-six, in the loss. … Three turnovers and limited firepower on offense stalled Syracuse in a setback to Louisville. The Orange managed only seven first downs and were blanked for the first time since 2016. Former Syracuse Chapter Leader, punter Nolan Cooney, is on pace to set the school standard for punting average after he averaged 44.5 yards per kick with a pair over 50 yards and two inside the 20.

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 NC State tight end and Chapter Vice President Dylan Autenrieth.

Chapter Update: Illinois rallies to post first win and five other chapter schools record Week 10 victories


Led by redshirt freshman quarterback Isaiah Williams, Illinois twice rallied from 10 points down to win its first game of the season on the road at Rutgers.

Williams established a single-game rushing record with 192 yards to surpass the 187 yards AJ Bush Jr. totaled in 2018 against Nebraska. Fighting Illini kicker James McCourt’s third field goal of the day, a 47 yarder, with three seconds left was the difference.

In addition to Williams’ big game on the ground, running back Chase Brown added 131 yards on 17 carries. Williams and Brown became only the second quarterback-running back duo to each eclipse 130-plus yards on the ground in the same game. The other combo, QB Juice Williams and RB Rashard Mendenhall, did it in 2007. Illinois Chapter President, offensive lineman Alex Palczewski, made his 40th consecutive start, and was part of a group up front that helped the Illini pound out 338 yards on the ground.

Western Michigan: In the final minute against Toledo at home all the Broncos did was score two touchdowns, recover an onside kick and rally from 10 points down for an improbable MAC victory. The show stopper was a fake-spike, nine-yard touchdown pass from Kaleb Eleby to Jaylen Hall with 17 seconds remaining to cap the drama-laced come-from-behind victory where the Broncos trailed by 10 points on three separate occasions. Eleby finished with five total touchdowns and WR-KR D’Wayne Eskridge had 231 all-purpose yards. Western Michigan Chapter Vice President, safety Jake Moretl, had one solo tackle for the Broncos.

Northwestern: The Wildcats used a rock-solid effort defensively to hold off Purdue on the road for its fourth win in as many games. The last time Northwestern was 4-0 in the Big Ten was 1996 when current head coach Pat Fitzgerald was a linebacker for the Wildcats. Neither team eclipsed 300 total yards in this defensive battle. Northwestern’s run defense was spectacular, limiting the Boilermakers to only two yards on 17 carries. Northwestern Chapter Vice President, defensive lineman Joe Spivak, started at defensive tackle.

NC State: Sparked by career outings from quarterback Bailey Hockman and wide receiver Thayer Thomas, the Wolfpack posted a wire-to-wire victory over fellow chapter school Florida State. Thomas had 11 grabs for 135 yards and a couple scores and Hockman threw for 265 yards and three touchdowns. Florida State Chapter President, linebacker DeCalon Brooks, had one tackle for the Seminoles and Vice President, wide receiver Keyshawn Helton, had four catches.

Notre Dame: For the first time since 1996 the No. 2 ranked Fighting Irish went over the 45 points in back-to-back games to run the nation’s longest FBS winning streak to 14 straight. Quarterback Ian Book threw for 283 yards and three scores and also led the Irish in rushing with 85 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown. Notre Dame Chapter President, linebacker Drew White, finished second for the Irish in tackles with seven and also had a tackle for a loss. 

Kent State: For the first time since 1988, the Golden Flashes started a season 2-0 after overwhelming Bowling Green behind a career-high four touchdown passes from quarterback Dustin Crum. Kent State posted 672 yards of total offense and a staggering 14-for-22 (64 percent) on third and fourth down conversions. Kent State Chapter President, wide receiver Isaac Vance, had four catches for 48 yards.

Round-Up: Penn State rallied from a 21-point halftime deficit on the road at Nebraska to get within a touchdown, but the Cornhuskers defense came up with a pair of fourth-down stops in the red zone in the waning minutes to hold off the Nittany Lions. Tight end Pat Freiermuth had a career-best 113 receiving yards on seven catches. … Baylor could not hold a 12-point lead heading into the fourth quarter and fell to Texas Tech by a point. All five of the Bears’ losses this season are by 10 or fewer points including one in double overtime. Linebacker Jalen Pitre had a pick-six for the second consecutive game. It was the first time since 2016 that Baylor has had two interception returns for a touchdown in the same season, and the first time a BU player has had two interceptions returned for a touchdown in a season by the same player since Eddie Lackey in 2012.

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 Lehigh tight end and Chapter Vice President Alex Snyder.

Chapter Update: Notre Dame claims a thriller over No. 1 Clemson in double OT and four other chapter schools notch Week 9 victories


For the ninth time in program history Notre Dame knocked off the No. 1 team in the country with a thrilling double overtime victory over fellow chapter school Clemson. Notre Dame extended its active win streak to 13 games, the most of any FBS school, and ended Clemson’s 36-game regular-season winning streak.

Running back Kyren Williams paced Notre Dame with 140 yards on the ground and three touchdowns including both Fighting Irish scores in overtime. Linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah returned a Clemson fumble 23 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter for the first touchdown this season by the Notre Dame defense.

Fighting Irish kicker Jonathan Doerer set a Notre Dame program record, accounting for 18 kicking points including four field goals. Clemson freshman quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei threw for 439 yards, the third-most yards in school history and the most ever by a freshman surpassing Deshaun Watson’s 435 against North Carolina in 2014. His total was also the most passing yards ever by an opposing quarterback against Notre Dame, surpassing the 425 yards by USC’s Carson Palmer in 2002.

Notre Dame Chapter President, linebacker Drew White, tied for the team lead in tackles with nine and also had a tackle for a loss. 

Maryland: The Terrapins put up the most points ever in their 44-game history with Penn State by scoring 35 to post Maryland’s first victory over the Nittany Lions since 2014. Terps Sophomore quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa threw for 282 yards and three touchdowns after throwing for nearly 400 a week ago. Tagovailoa posted the most passing yards by a quarterback (676) in back-to-back wins since Scott Milanovich threw for 692 yards in back-to-back games in 1994. Maryland Chapter President, running back Jake Funk, led the Terrapins with 80 rushing yards and scored on a 38-yard run early in the second quarter. Former Penn State Chapter President, quarterback Sean Clifford, established a program record with 57 pass attempts and recorded the third 300-yard game of his career. Penn State wide receiver Jahan Dotson is the first player to have a touchdown catch in each of his first three games since Allen Robinson in 2012, and Dotson’s five touchdowns in the first three games of the season equals the Penn State record set by Joe Jurevicius in 1997.

Northwestern: For the third game in a row the Wildcats defense kept the opposition off the scoreboard in the second half in a win over Nebraska. Senior linebacker Paddy Fisher, Blake Gallagher and Chris Bergin all had double-digit tackles for the second game in a row. Northwestern is 3-0 for the first time since 2015 and the last time it started with three straight Big Ten wins was 2000. Northwestern Chapter Vice President, defensive tackle Joe Spivak, made his second consecutive start and registered one tackle. Wildcats redshirt freshman safety Brandon Joseph, S, Northwestern: The redshirt freshman notched his third interception of the season in the second quarter against Nebraska to become the first Big Ten player since 2016 to record three interceptions through three games and became the first Wildcats freshman with picks in back-to-back games since 2003.

Western Michigan: The Broncos rolled up 50-plus points in their season opener on the road behind 262 passing yards and a career-best three touchdown passes from quarterback Kaleb Eleby. Western Michigan Chapter Vice President, junior safety Jake Moertl, had a pair of tackles for the Broncos.

Kent State: The Golden Flashes used a game-winning touchdown pass from Dustin Crum to Mark Williams with 7:31 left to post a victory in their season opener. Kent State’s win was its fifth in a row dating back to last season and marks the longest winning streak since 2012. Kent State Chapter President, wide receiver Isaac Vance, had three catches for 19 yards.

Round-Up: NC State took a 10-point lead into the fourth quarter but couldn’t hold off No. 11 Miami at home. Wolfpack sophomore Zonovan Knight tied the school record for the longest play in school history with a 100-yard kickoff return late in the third quarter.  Knight joined four others in the record book. … Illinois fell to 0-3 despite a career-best 63-yard touchdown run by RB Mike Epstein. … Baylor used three first-half interceptions to surge in front of No. 17 ranked Iowa State 21-10 at intermission, but couldn’t hold on, surrendering 28 unanswered points to the Cyclones in a back-and-forth affair that came down to the wire. … Syracuse played one of its best defensive games of the season in a tight game with Boston College at home. … Florida State started fast with a pair of first-quarter touchdowns but couldn’t sustain that early momentum against Pittsburgh. Florida State Chapter Vice President, wide receiver Keyshawn Helton, had three catches for the Seminoles.

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 Syracuse long snapper and Chapter President Aaron Bolinsky.