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.

Carrying the burden of a rare genetic gene drove Seth Rotberg to a life helping others


He was just 20 years old when he learned his future would be cut short by the same disease that was robbing life from his mother. Seth Rotberg carried that burden alone, until a pair of tragedies showed him the time he had left was best spent honestly and in service to others. 

A decade ago, Seth found out he had inherited the gene that leads to Huntington’s disease. The rare, progressive breakdown of the nerve cells inside the brain is characterized as a cruel combination of ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimers – all at once. Huntington’s is the quintessential family disease. Every child of a parent with the disorder has a 50-50 chance of inheriting the faulty gene.

Seth was thrust into being a rare disease family member and caregiver at 15 years old when his mom, Debbie, was diagnosed. As he watched her struggle and saw how it impacted their family, Seth couldn’t help but wonder if this was just a foreshadowing of his own future.

“The majority of people don’t get tested prior to showing the symptoms,” Seth said of the disease that usually manifests between the ages of 30-50. “I decided that I wanted to plan my future and I wanted to know what my future would entail. If I had the gene, this could impact my future and how I live my life.”

Genetic testing is a deeply personal decision on so many levels. Do you want to know if you are carrying the gene that will eventually show itself in the form of a difficult, debilitating and life-threatening rare disorder?

That was where Seth found himself a decade ago. Was it better to know and plan or better to not know and see what happens? There was no middle ground when it came to inheriting the faulty gene. Either you have it or you don’t.

Seth wanted to know.

“We all face our struggles at times, myself included. But we all want to live our best life, right? I’m driven to help people understand how to live their best life.”

Seth Rotberg

“Nobody said to me ‘Hey, Seth, do you want to go through this?’ I wanted to plan my future and I wanted to know what my future would entail,” he said.

Seth got the test and with it, tragic results. He had the gene. What came next turned into a private battle.

“I kept this hidden from my family for three years. I only told a couple of my closest friends,” said Seth, who grew up just outside Boston as a huge Celtics fan. “I didn’t want my mom to find out and feel guilty with all she was going through. I didn’t want to pressure my sister to get tested. Everyone has to make their own decision when it comes to genetic testing and that’s deeply personal. I just chose not to tell them.”

Bearing the weight of knowing he possessed the faulty gene associated with Huntington’s disease, and choosing not to tell his family, Seth was struggling to find his purpose. It took not one, but two, life-altering experiences for him to embrace and understand what he needed to do to begin moving forward.

“I was a senior in college, it was the day before my last semester, and a friend of mine died in an off-campus fire. As I tried to understand why it happened and deal with my grief … let’s just say there wasn’t much closure. He was gone too soon,” Seth said.

“I also had a friend who had the juvenile [form] of Huntington’s disease and she passed away shortly after my other friend, at the age of 26. At that time my thoughts kept coming back to they were both gone too soon.

“Meghan was one with Huntington’s disease. She was sharing her story, living her life and doing all she could to help others,” he said. “That’s when I realized I needed to not only lift this extra weight off my shoulders, but ultimately I wanted to do what I can to help other people.”

Once he unloaded the burden about his future as a rare disease patient, Seth shifted his focus to support of young people like himself. His hope is to be a mentor for young people who face adversity by sharing how taking control of his journey has given him opportunity, fulfillment and hope.

Seth’s passion is driven by his mother’s 17-year battle with the rare genetic disorder known as Huntington’s Disease.

More than just sharing his story, Seth has answered the call to become an advocate to use his own experiences as a way to help alter the landscape and empower others inside the rare disease community.

The challenges that face the Rare Disease Community are bigger than any one individual, team or organization can possibly tackle alone. Seth is part of a community, along with Uplifting Athletes, who are working together to shine a spotlight on rare diseases.

“I’ve learned I can’t always be the strong one,” Seth said. “A lot of my passion came from my mom. Unfortunately there wasn’t more I could do to help her. But from that, what I learned is, I want to help people.”

In June of 2019, Seth co-founded Our Odyssey, a nonprofit organization powered by young adults that serves those between the ages of 18-35 living with a rare disease or chronic condition.

“There’s a purpose to Our Odyssey and what we are doing for others and helping them,” said Seth, an avid runner who also enjoys playing video games. “We are making a difference in people’s lives and that’s a great feeling.”

The vision for Our Odyssey is to establish a national organization with a platform that empowers, educates, and connects young adults experiencing health challenges. The values of Our Odyssey are collaboration, empowerment, belonging, hope, purpose-driven and inclusivity.

Seth started Our Odyssey to help others, while also enhancing his ‘why’ at the same time. The conversations and interaction with others like him have become the biggest influence on his life as the clock ticks toward what he knows is inevitable.

One of the tools Seth promotes as a leader, motivational speaker and community connector is helping others discover their ‘why’ in life. Seth found his through the tragic loss of two close friends, which in turn gave him the clarity to know the burdens he was carrying around were not his to bear alone.

“We all face our struggles at times, myself included. But we all just want to live our best life, right? I’m driven to help people understand how to live their best life,” Seth said.

“Because of what I know, I can’t live in the future. I can prepare for the future and that’s important. But I can’t live my best life knowing what I know is ahead for me. I need to make sure I enjoy the moment, enjoy what I have today instead of being focused too far ahead. It’s not a big mystery, my future. Knowing that has helped me serve others better today.”

Beyond The Trophy 2020: Get to know Penn Chapter Vice President and linebacker Brian O’Neill


Each week during the college football season we will feature a player who is an officer for an Uplifting Athletes Chapter for our Beyond the Trophy series.

Name: Brian O’Neill

College: University of Pennsylvania

Height, weight, class, position: 6-2, 240-pound, senior, linebacker

High School: West Essex Regional High School in Roseland, New Jersey

About Brian: Brian has been an impact player on the field the last two seasons for Penn and now is looking to make an impact serving the Rare Disease Community. Brian participated in the 2018 and 2019 Lift For Life events as part of the Iron Quaker and volunteered to assume a leadership role in the Penn Chapter of Uplifting Athletes. He attended the 2020 Leadership Development Conference and is excited to help the UPenn program support the rare disease cause. A native of New Jersey, Brian started 10 games each of the last two seasons at linebacker and in 2019 was a second team All-Ivy selection. He led the Quakers in interceptions in 2019 with three and the last two years as a starter has registered more than 110 tackles and 20-plus tackles for a loss.

 What is your most memorable experience as a college football player?

O’NEILL: Beating Harvard on the last play of the game at their stadium. 

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes?

O’NEILL: I wouldn’t be where I am today without those who helped me and allowed me to be in my current situation. So I feel it’s necessary to pay that forward and Uplifting Athletes has provided me a chance to help others.

What have you learned from your experience with Uplifting Athletes?

O’NEILL: That any group, no matter how big or small, can have an impact on a large group like the Rare Disease Community. 

What advice would you share with someone in high school looking to play college football?

O’NEILL: Work ethic and being a student of the game are going to propel you to your goals.

Who is your favorite NFL player and why?

O’NEILL: Former Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly because he is so smart and still such a physical player.  

If you could have lunch with any one person (dead or alive), who would you choose and why?

O’NEILL: American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

BRIAN ON THE HOT SEAT

What is your perfect pizza?

O’NEILL: Buffalo Chicken 

All time favorite movie?

O’NEILL: Interstellar

What is your go-to fast food restaurant?

O’NEILL: Taco Bell 

Favorite sports team (any sport)?

O’NEILL: New York Giants

What is the most used app on your phone?

O’NEILL: Snapchat

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.

Beyond The Trophy 2020: Get to know Stony Brook Chapter Vice President and offensive lineman Kyle Nunez


Each week during the college football season we will feature a player who is an officer for an Uplifting Athletes Chapter for our Beyond the Trophy series.

Name: Kyle Nunez

College: Stony Brook

Height, weight, class, position: 6-2, 340-pound, redshirt junior, offensive line

High School: East Islip High School in East Islip, New York

About Kyle: Kyle Nunez has been an impact player on the field the last two seasons for Stony Brook  and now is looking to make an impact serving the Rare Disease Community. Kyle participated in the Stony Brook Chapter Lift For Life in 2019 and volunteered to assume a leadership role. He attended the 2020 Leadership Development Conference and his leadership played a key role in Stony Brook holding a successful 2020 Lift For Life in support of the rare disease cause. A native of New York, Kyle has played in 24 straight games at right guard for the Seawolves including 17 starts up front. He’s a two-time second team All-CAA selection and in 2018 was named HERO Sports Freshman All-American. 

What is your most memorable experience as a college football player?

NUNEZ: Seeing my family in the stands every game I play. 

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes?

NUNEZ: I want to create an impact in any way I can for people in need.

What have you learned from your experience with Uplifting Athletes?

NUNEZ: No one fights alone, any contribution I can make to help spread awareness for rare diseases makes a difference.

What advice would you share with someone in high school looking to play college football?

NUNEZ: Visit every school you possibly can then figure out which school fits you and only you the best.

Who is your favorite NFL player and why?

NUNEZ: Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward because his love for the game was unmatched.   

If you could have lunch with any one person (dead or alive), who would you choose and why?

NUNEZ: My grandmother. I would do anything to have the opportunity to see her just one more time.

KYLE ON THE HOT SEAT

What is your perfect pizza?

NUNEZ: Thin with a nice crunch  

All time favorite movie?

NUNEZ: Armageddon

What is your go-to fast food restaurant?

NUNEZ: Burger King 

Favorite sports team (any sport)?

NUNEZ: Pittsburgh Steelers

What is the most used app on your phone?

NUNEZ: Twitter

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.

Beyond The Trophy: Get to know Western Michigan Chapter Vice President and safety Jake Moertl


Each week during the college football season we will feature a player who is an officer for an Uplifting Athletes Chapter for our Beyond the Trophy series.

Name: Jake Moertl

College: Western Michigan

Height, weight, class, position: 6-0, 195-pound, junior, safety

High School: Palatine High School in Palatine, Illinois

About Jake: The Illinois native found the field early in his Broncos career and is now looking to make an impact serving the Rare Disease Community. Jake participated in the inaugural Western Michigan Lift For Life in 2019 and volunteered to assume a leadership role. He attended the 2020 Leadership Development Conference and is excited to help the Western Michigan program support the rare disease cause. He appeared in 23 games his first two years at Western Michigan primarily on special teams. Last season he played in all 13 games and recorded his first career tackle. This season he’s earning more snaps as a reserve safety and has six tackles in 2020.

What is your most memorable experience as a college football player?

MOERTL: My first collegiate game in 2018 against Syracuse. 

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes?

MOERTL: A connection to the Rare Disease Community that has impacted my family’s life.

What have you learned from your experience with Uplifting Athletes?

MOERTL: It’s bigger than a game. We have the platform as athletes to impact and support those in the Rare Disease Community.

What advice would you share with someone in high school looking to play college football?

MOERTL: Listen and consider what your family sees for you, but this is your life and decision. Follow the guidance of your loved ones, but don’t allow them to make the final decision for you.

Who is your favorite NFL player and why?

MOERTL: Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins because he is an incredibly faithful christian and a humble person. 

If you could have lunch with any one person (dead or alive), who would you choose and why?

MOERTL: My dad because he’s had the greatest impact on my life.

JAKE ON THE HOT SEAT

What is your perfect pizza?

MOERTL: Veggie  

All time favorite movie?

MOERTL: Remember The Titans

What is your go-to fast food restaurant?

MOERTL: Potbelly 

Favorite sports team (any sport)?

MOERTL: Chicago Bears

What is the most used app on your phone?

MOERTL: Credit Karma

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.