Weekly Update: Colgate captures share of Patriot League crown and miracle finish helps propel Stony Brook to NCAA FCS playoff berth

WEEK 12 GRAPHICFor the ninth time in program history, Colgate earned at least a share of the Patriot League title by scoring the final 35 points to knock off Georgetown.

The Raiders shared the 2017 crown with Lehigh at 5-1, but the Lehigh Mountain Hawks earned the automatic conference bid to the NCAA FCS Playoffs. Colgate did not receive an at-large bid from the committee despite winning its final five games to finish 7-4 overall.

This was the second time in three years Colgate has earned at least a share of the Patriot League crown. The Raiders defense stretched its streak of scoreless quarters to 15 in the victory.

The last time Colgate’s defense allowed a touchdown was October 21 when Holy Cross scored on its opening drive. The lone Georgetown touchdown came on a pick-6 on the first play from scrimmage.

What a weekend for the Stony Brook Seawolves. They started it off with a dramatic come-from-behind road victory at Maine that included a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns.

The winning points came on a 35-yard Hail Mary pass hauled in by Harrison Jackson as time expired to secure the one-point victory.

That miracle reception by Jackson, who was surrounded by Maine defenders, allowed Stony Brook to finish 9-2 overall and 7-1 in the CAA. And that record earned the solo second-place finishers in the CAA an invitation to the NCAA College Football FCS Playoffs. The Seawolves will host Patriot League co-champion Lehigh in the opener.

This is the first postseason berth for Stony Brook since 2012 and only the third playoff appearance in school history for the Seawolves.

Penn closed out its 2017 season with four consecutive victories to rally and post a 6-4 overall record with a win over Cornell at Franklin Field. The Quakers finished 4-3 in the Ivy League and those three league losses came by a total of 11 points combined.

Clemson and Florida State each posted easy victories over FCS schools. In the Seminoles victory over Delaware State, senior WR Justin Motlow, a walk-on, not only scored a touchdown but made history to earn the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week.

Northwestern won its sixth in a row after a rough start and is one of the hottest teams in college football. The Wildcats blanked Minnesota at Ryan Field behind 166 yards from RB Justin Jackson and a defense that surrendered less than 200 yards and forced five turnovers.

Penn State is on track for a second consecutive double-digit win season after the defending Big Ten Champions disposed of Nebraska on Senior Day at Beaver Stadium.

The Nittany Lions led by 32 early in the fourth quarter before the Huskers scored three times in the final 6:32 to close the final gap. Penn State had more than 600 yards of offense including 325 yards and three touchdowns through the air by QB Trace McSorley.

Notre Dame kept its hopes for a 10-win regular season alive by rallying to score the final 14 points to edge Navy by a touchdown at home. QB Brandon Wimbush threw a pair of TD passes to tie the game then put the Irish ahead for good early in the fourth quarter.


Chapter Members Honored with Many Awards

Three players from Uplifting Athletes Chapters were recently named to the prestigious 2013 Capital One Academic All America first team.

Only 24 players were recognized as first-team selections from among all the FBS and FCS football programs nationwide.

Two of the three with Uplifting Athletes roots, Penn State’s John Urschel along with Nebraska’s Spencer Long, are offensive linemen.

The third member of the first team is defensive lineman Brett Biestek from FCS Fordham.

Nebraska fullback C.J. Zimmerer and tight end Jake Long and St. Francis running back Kyle Harbridge made the second team. Zimmerer also was honored with the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award for the Huskers.

Speaking of the Big Ten, Penn State wide receiver Allen Robinson, Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland and Northwestern kicker Jeff Budzien were tabbed as Player of the Year at their respective positions.

Borland and Budzien each also hauled in the sportsmanship awards for their respective programs from the conference.

In addition to those top players, six other players from Uplifting Athletes chapters made the Big Ten first team.

Three of those, running back Ameer Abdullah, defensive lineman Randy Gregory and defensive back Ciante Evans, hail from Nebraska.

Wisconsin wide receiver Jared Abbrederius (Burlsworth Trophy), Urschel (Campbell Trophy, Lowes Senior CLASS Award) and Penn State defensive lineman DaQuan Jones were also named to the first team.

Arizona’s running back Ka’Deem Carey was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and was the only unanimous player voted first-team All Pac-12.

The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) was littered with first-team selections from undefeated and No. 1 ranked Florida State.

Quarterback Jameis Winston (Heisman, Walter Camp, Davey O’Brien Trophies) was named ACC Offensive Player of the Year and was joined on the first team by nine Seminole teammates.

Three offensive line, Cameron Erving, Tre’ Jackson and Bryan Stork (Rimington Trophy) and wide receiver Rashad Greene joined Winston on the first-team offense.

On the defensive side of the ball lineman Timmy Jernigan, linebacker Telvin Smith and defensive backs Lamarcus Joyner and Terrence Brooks made first team. Kicker Robert Aguayo (Lou Groza award winner) made it 10 FSU players on the first team.

When it came to the Patriot League and the FCS squads aligned with Uplifting Athletes, Fordham was very well represented.

Rams quarterback Michael Nebrich was the Offensive Player of the Year, linebacker Stephon Hodge was the Defensive Player of the Year and Joe Moorehead was Patriot League Coach of the Year.

Eight other Fordham players made the first team, including wide receiver-kick returner Brian Wetzel who was selected on both sides of the ball.

And finally, six Princeton players were named to the All-Ivy first team for 2013.

Congratulations to all the award winners for being recognized for excellence on the field and in the classroom in 2013.

Together … We Are … Stronger!

Colgate Chapter Hosting Ependymoma Awareness Game

Today marks the arrival of our secret weapon. NOBODY wants to play at Andy Kerr in November. With that said, we look to remain undefeated in the league tomorrow, as Bucknell travels to Hamilton for a 1 o’clock kickoff.

We extended our Patriot League win streak to 9 games (dating back to our Bucknell game in 2011) with a dominating 34-14 victory at Georgetown last weekend. Freshman wide receiver, John Maddaluna, had himself a day with 8 catches for 87 yards and 2 touchdowns. Meach Russell carried the load at tailback with 29 carries for 139 yards and a score.

Our scouting report on Bucknell is peculiar, to say the least. The Bison perennially sit at the bottom of the Patriot League standings. This year seemed no different as they opened their season with disparate losses to Cornell, Holy Cross and Lafayette. However, the Bison posted a convincing 48-10 win over Lehigh last week. Lehigh beat New Hampshire earlier this season, after the Wildcats crushed us 53-23.

I don’t believe that Lehigh is a better team than UNH, and it is certainly not the case that Bucknell is 38 points better than Lehigh. It seems that both of these games were anomalies. But, it just goes to show that anything can happen.There is no doubt that Bucknell will come out with a lot of energy and excitement after their big win. From the very first snap we will show the Bison that there will be no aberrations tomorrow.

I am very excited to announce that tomorrow’s game will be our first ever Uplifting Athletes Ependymoma Awareness game. We will be honoring local, 6-year old Ependymoma patient Colin Hayward and his family. Colin and his father Ian visited us at practice last week and his story inspired all of us. I am glad that we are able to make a difference in this little boy’s life. I’ve been telling the guys all year that this stuff is bigger than football.

James DeCicco

The game will feature a silent auction of autographed merchandise, a raffle of donations from local businesses and a t-shirt sale. All proceeds will go to the Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network. To donate or for more information please email me at colgate@upliftingathletes.org. Thank you and go ‘gate!

Jimmy DeCicco ’15
Colgate University Football
President Uplifting Athletes

Player of the Week — Michael Nebrich, Fordham Rams

For the first Uplifting Athletes Player of the Week, we would like to congratulate Fordham University quarterback Michael Nebrich as this week’s winner!

In their first victory against an FBS opponent since 1954, Nebrich led the Rams to a 30-29 upset win over the Temple Owls on the road at Lincoln Financial Stadium.

Photo Courtesy of Fordham Athletics

Photo Courtesy of Fordham Athletics

Nebrich completed 23 of 36 pass attempts for a career high of 320 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions while rushing for 29 yards. He also converted on two critical fourth down rushing conversions on Fordham’s final scoring drive of the game and threw the game winning pass as the clock wound down.

Fordham went into halftime with a 13-7 lead after a low scoring first half, then jumped out to a 20-7 lead halfway through the third quarter. Temple marched down the field for three long scoring drives to give them a 29-23 lead over Fordham with four and a half minutes remaining.

Nebrich orchestrated a heroic drive from the Fordham 29 yard line, converting on two fourth downs. With four seconds remaining, Fordham found itself faced with a last ditch attempt to pull off the upset.

The highlight of the afternoon was a jaw dropping 29-yard touchdown pass from Nebrich to junior wide out Sam Ajala to tie the game at 29. Nebrich avoided the rush and rolled out to the right finding a leaping Ajala for the score.

The ensuing PAT kick gave the Rams the lead, and a sack from the Fordham defense as time expired completed the unlikely upset, bringing Fordham to 3-0 on the season with a historic 30 -29 win.

Nebrich has now completed 66 of 96 passes on the season for 777 yards and 6 touchdowns. The junior looks to improve on those numbers and bring the Rams to 4-0 in next weekend’s match-up against rival Columbia. Congratulations again to Uplifting Athletes Player of the week Michael Nebrich and the Fordham Rams on the thrilling win!

Fordham Athletics Game Recap

Raiders Host Albany for First Home Game

I write to you from the comfort of my couch in Delta Upsilon here in Hamilton. There is a certain nostalgic feeling that strikes me every Friday evening during the Fall in New York. All of our preparation from a long week of practice resonates within, as we ready ourselves for Saturday’s battle.

Last week in Colorado, we let the altitude and the brutal heat get to us as we fell to Air Force 38-13. We stopped the Falcons on their first drive and immediately drove 80 yards to go ahead 7-0. We had a great game plan, but as soon as Air Force made adjustments to our initial looks, we had no answer. It seemed that they always had fresh legs while we were straining to keep up. I guess that’s a perk of having a 120 man roster filled with scholarship players. Air Force was a great team but that was definitely a game that we all want to play again.

With our first loss behind us, we’re ready to bounce back with our home opener tomorrow night at 6pm versus the Great Danes of Albany. Albany is a talented team who beat us 40-23 on the road last year. They will be looking for their first win of the season as well, after losing to Duquesne 35-24 last week. Albany plays a lot of man coverage so we plan to create mismatches on the outside, and beat them with speed. 

For those of you who don’t know, I was one of three quarterbacks in my freshmen class here at Colgate. I am now a wide receiver/running back, Mike Armiento is now our starting cornerback and the third kid, Ryan Smith, is now at Albany. Rumor has it, Smith, will get the start this week as he travels back to where his college football career began. At Colgate, Smith saw time versus Georgetown where he was 7-10 with 2 interceptions and a touchdown. He left Colgate after one semester because he wanted to be closer to home (Guilderland, NY). We weren’t too happy about him leaving so I’m sure our defense will welcome him with open arms this weekend.

James Decicco HeadshotAlbany is a much different team from Air Force and we should be able to manage this game for four quarters. I’m looking forward to seeing some of you tomorrow. If you are unable to make the trip to Hamilton, have a great weekend and I will be in touch next week. Go ‘Gate!


Jimmy DeCicco ’15
Colgate University Football
President Uplifting Athletes

Fall Camp Underway at Colgate

I hope this message finds you well. I apologize for the brief recess from updates. I spent my summer in Hamilton, interning with the athletic department and training with the team. We reported for Fall Camp this past Sunday, August, 4th.

This was my third summer living in Hamilton and it was easily the most unique. Former strength coach, Gabe Harrington, honorably left our program for personal reasons on June 30th. Due to NCAA regulations, we had the week of the 4th of July off, and workouts started up again on July 8th under the supervision of interim strength coach, LiAaron White.

Coach Li picked up where Coach Gabe left off. However, Li’s workouts pushed us farther out of our comfort zones than Gabe ever did, and the results were immediate. Two weeks after Coach Li took over, Coach Paul Helsel began shadowing our workouts. “Coach P” took over the following week as our permanent head strength coach.

Coach P has over 20 years of experience as a Division I strength coach, and comes to us from a five year tenure at Old Dominion University. Coach P continued with Coach Gabe’s training program because, as he put it, “the hay is in the barn.” It is clear that Coach P is a very intelligent coach, and I am excited for him to implement his own strength program.

With our third practice in the books (which was our first in shoulder pads), Fall Camp is officially under way. Our veteran players quickly shook off the rust and are looking like the defending Patriot League Champs. Our first class of scholarship freshmen are learning quickly, but it is still too early to tell which of them will contribute this fall.

Sophomore running backs James Travellin, John Wilkins and Demetrius Russel are all fighting for the starting job, which is wide open after the graduation of All-American tailback, Jordan McCord. Junior Spencer Wallach, and Sophomores John Weber and Zac Sawin are proving to be valid replacements on our offensive line. Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year, Gavin McCarney, is visibly making the rest of the offense grow up quickly. Expect another big year from number 7.

Senior safety Dimitri Diamond, junior cornerback Mike Armiento, and junior linebacker Kris Kent are emerging as the leaders of our defense. Kris was second on the team in tackles last season at a light 195 pounds; he showed up to camp at an athletic 212. Newcomer to the defensive line, senior Bobby Stup, has been causing problems in our backfield all week. In no pads, Bobby has a bit of an advantage over our offensive tackles, being that they have nothing to grab onto. If he keeps up his tenacious pass rush in live situations, expect to see him in our opponents’ backfields all fall.

Our first day of full pads is this Friday, followed by our first two-a-day on Saturday. I will send a more detailed update midway through camp as starters begin to emerge. We’ll see which freshmen shake out to be Colgate Raiders once we start bangin’ on Friday.

James Decicco Headshot

Enjoy what’s left of your summer. I’ll be in touch! G.A.T.A!!!

Go ‘Gate!!

Jimmy DeCicco ’15
Colgate University Football
President Uplifting Athletes
Vice President S.A.A.C.

Nine Events in 14 Days Yields Big Dollars and Awareness for Rare Disease Research

UA NEBRASKA1With each passing year, Uplifting Athletes continues to grow and expand its footprint in the world of college football to help in the fight against rare diseases.

Considering the organization has doubled in each of the initial five years of existence as we laid our roots, what has happened in 2013 was unprecedented.

The addition of five new active chapters in less than six months – three of those five holding events in July – made for one busy season.

It all added up to a run of nine events in 14 days that raised nearly $180,000 for rare disease research.

“A mark of our progress as an organization is the sense of calmness in the midst of the craziness,” Executive Director Scott Shirley said. “We have a small team of amazing employees and broad network of student-athlete volunteers who are playing to win and we’re definitely moving the ball down the field in the fight against rare diseases.

“Our collective efforts are inspiring the rare disease community with hope.”

Kicking off the train was Notre Dame holding a bowling event as the first official event for the Fighting Irish chapter.

In between that July 14 event and NC State holding its second Lift For Life on July 25, new chapters at South Carolina, Syracuse and Wisconsin each held inaugural Lift For Life events to raise funds and awareness for its chosen rare disease.

The Nebraska chapter teamed up with the Lincoln Track Club to hold a highly successful 5K road race. It was the first official event for the Cornhuskers’ chapter.

Penn State set a fundraising record for a chapter during its 11th Lift For Life and Fordham and Northwestern held their second and third events, respectively.

Together … We Are … Stronger!

Visit our Uplifting Athletes Storify page to check out some of the social media highlights from our events.