Stony Brook Touchdown Pledge Drive Saturday against Towson


STONY BROOK TDPD 2017 GRAPHICThe Stony Brook Chapter of Uplifting Athletes, led by President P.J. Edwards, is counting on the Seawolves offense to put a few touchdowns on the board Saturday, September 23 for its 2017 Touchdown Pledge Drive to support the rare disease community.

Uplifting Athletes chapters are run by football student-athletes. So, for fans, this is a great way to support the players on your favorite team off the field in their efforts to use the power of sport for social good.

The leadership team of the Stony Brook Chapter and all the members of the 2017 Seawolves squad is asking fans to support their efforts when Stony Brook welcomes Towson to Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium by making a pledge through the Stony Brook Chapter online Touchdown Pledge Drive site.

Fans can simply make a pledge for each touchdown the Seawolves score that day and they can follow along to see the impact they are helping the players make.

The proceeds from our 2017 Touchdown Pledge Drive support the mission of Uplifting Athletes and its charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders.

The challenges faced by the rare disease community are bigger than any one individual, team or organization can tackle alone. The grassroots effort of the Stony Brook Chapter, along with a nationwide network of teams, is uniquely positioned to educate and engage the local community and shine a spotlight on rare diseases.

The Stony Brook Chapter started tackling rare diseases in 2014 when it joined Uplifting Athletes. The student-athlete led Stony Brook Chapter serves the rare disease community based on a long-term relationship between the Seawolves head coach Chuck Priore and a rare disease patient.

Joey Ferminella battled the rare disease medullolblastoma and is very much part of the Seawolves program annually thanks to his personal relationship with Priore, and the players became an extension of this relationship by joining Uplifting Athletes.

Support the Stony Brook Chapter and its efforts to make a difference in the rare disease community by signing up for its Touchdown Pledge Drive today!

Weekly Update: Strong start to Touchdown Pledge Drive 2017 with five teams posting victories


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Thank you to Penn State, Northwestern, Princeton, Saint Francis, Syracuse and NC State student-athlete chapter leaders and fans of those programs for supporting the opening week of Touchdown Pledge Drive 2017.

Five of those schools, Penn State, Northwestern, Princeton, Syracuse and NC State, posted Week 3 victories. Only Saint Francis suffered a setback, and that was a narrow 16-14 loss to a strong Towson squad.

The six Week 1 Touchdown Pledge Drive schools combined to score 32 touchdowns with Penn State, Northwestern and NC State all posting seven or more.

Syracuse rebounded from a stinging upset at home last week by overpowering a previously 2-0 Central Michigan squad by 24 points.

Orange QB Eric Dungey rolled up 384 total yards (279 passing, 105 rushing) and three touchdowns. Syracuse led 24-17 at halftime, then outscored the Chippewas 17-0 in the third quarter to pull away.

The initial two weeks of the season had been a struggle for a Northwestern team with high expectations in the Big Ten West. The Wildcats rebounded with a solid offensive performance to overwhelm Bowling Green.

QB Clayton Thorson, RB Justin Jackson and WR Garrett Dickerson all had big games for an offense that pumped out nearly 700 total yards.

Penn State moved back to No. 4 overall in the country after the Nittany Lions used huge games from Heisman Trophy candidates, RB Saquon Barkley and QB Trace McSorley, to steam roll Georgia State. The duo combined for 522 total yards and six touchdowns.

McSorley threw for 309 yards with four touchdowns and ran for another score to earn the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance Award for Week 3.

For all its offense, the Nittany Lions defense has shown some teeth in their first 12 quarters by allowing only one touchdown and pitching a pair of shutouts.

Meet Northwestern University Chapter President and Wildcats starting guard Tommy Doles in our weekly Beyond The Trophy series.

NC State piled up more than 550 yards of offense against Furman and scored all seven of its touchdowns by the end of third quarter to move the Wolfpack to 2-1 overall.

Wide receiver Stephen Carlson hauled in three touchdown passes from Chad Kanoff to spark Princeton to a solid victory over visiting San Diego to open the Tigers’ 2017 season. The defending Ivy League co-champions threw for more than 350 yards and the defense forced three key turnovers.

Quarterback Joe Carbone tossed three touchdown passes and Stony Brook grinded out nearly 300 yards on the ground in completely dominating Sacred Heart. Three Seawolves, Stacey Bedell, Jordan Gowins and Donald Liotine, each had 65 or more yards on the ground.

UPenn won its wild ’17 season opener at Franklin Field behind 35 second-half points to subdue winless Ohio Dominican. RB Karekin Brooks totaled 142 yards on 10 carries with a pair of touchdowns to spark the Quakers.

The Clemson defense once again announced its presence with authority as the defending National Champions limited ACC foe Louisville to a single touchdown through three quarters to grab a 33-7 lead. New Tigers QB Kelly Bryant threw for 316 yards with one score and added 26 yards on the ground with a pair of end zone trips. WR Ray-Ray McCloud had seven grabs for 115 yards and a TD.

Notre Dame QB Brandon Wimbush and RB Josh Adams combined to run over Boston College at Chestnut Hill. The Fighting Irish duo teamed up for 436 yards on 39 carries with Wimbish scoring four times.

 

 

 

Weekly Update: Six teams get out of the gate strong with 2-0 starts


WEEK 2 UPDATE GRAPHICCongratulations to Penn State, Maryland, Clemson, Illinois, Washington and Saint Francis for starting the 2017 season 2-0.

Defending Big Ten Champion Penn State used a fast start and solid defense to hold off in-state rival Pittsburgh at Beaver Stadium.

The Nittany Lions defense, led by 12 tackles from safety Marcus Allen, came up with three turnovers, had five sacks and nine tackles for a loss in holding the Panthers to one touchdown.

Maryland’s offense has scored 50 or more points in both its victories over previously ranked Texas (51 points) and in the their home opener against Towson (63).

The Terps piled up nearly 400 yards on the ground led by Ty Johnson’s 124 yards and a pair of touchdowns on only five carries.

Meet University of Maryland Chapter President and kicker Adam Greene in our weekly Beyond The Trophy series.

Defending National Champion Clemson used a spectacular defensive effort to subdue Auburn at Death Valley. The Tigers’ defense limited Auburn to six points and 117 total yards on 66 plays. The Clemson defense also registered 11 sacks and 14 tackles for a loss.

Illinois running back Mike Epstein rushed for 111 yards and the Fighting Illini defense held Western Kentucky to fewer than 250 yards to grab a 13-point victory and improve to 2-0.

Led by 259 yards and a couple touchdowns from QB Jake Browning, the Washington Huskies put up more than 500 yards of total offense in a cruise-control victory over Montana.

Saint Francis QB Bear Fenimore threw for nearly 300 yards and RB Jymere Jordan-Toney added 105 yards on the ground with a score to power the Red Flash to 2-0 with a convincing home victory.

Stony Brook used a pair of touchdowns 2 minutes apart in the fourth quarter to pull away from Rhode Island to notch its first victory of the season.

Led by an impressive outing from Uplifting Athletes Player of the Week Ryan Finley, NC State defeated Marshall in their home opener at Carter-Finley Stadium.

After a gut-wrenching loss to Tennessee in its opener, Georgia Tech rebounded to claim its first victory of the year over Jacksonville State on the strength of a 20-point third quarter and a strong Yellow Jackets defense.

Fordham defensive back Lawrence Menyah returned an interception 29 yards for a touchdown with 1:29 to play to propel the Rams to a come-from-behind victory. Fordham scored the final 17 points after falling behind 31-21 midway through the third quarter.

 

 

Weekly Chapter Update: ’16 Rare Disease Champion Jake Olson plays for USC Trojans


JAKE UA PHOTOUSC long snapper Jake Olson has fulfilled his dream of playing in a college football game.

The 2016 winner of the Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award is now officially a USC Trojans football letterman after snapping for the final extra point in the Trojans’ season opening victory over Western Michigan.

“I just loved being out there,” Olson said. “It was an awesome feeling, something that I’ll remember forever.

Olson is legally blind after losing sight in both eyes to the rare disease retinoblastoma. He lost his left eye to the disease at 10 months.  The night before his final surgery in 2009 to take the sight in his right eye away, then USC head coach Pete Carroll invited Olson to meet the team.

“To take a situation that ugly, and then to fast-forward eight years and to have that same kid be able to snap on the football field with the team that really got him through that time, is just beautiful. It’s emotional. Incredible,” Olson said.

Carroll, the Seahawks head coach, was tipped off this might happen so he was watching on TV Saturday night when Olson entered the game.

“I was so excited to see it I couldn’t stop crying. It was thrilling,” Carroll told The Seattle Times. “That was an incredible moment. I’m so glad that coach (Clay) Helton figured out a way to create an opportunity for Jake to show what he could do. This is just an extraordinary young man.”

He was invited to join the Trojans squad after he enrolled at USC in the fall of 2015 and received an NCAA waiver to practice with the team. He snapped in the spring games, but it wasn’t until last Saturday that Olson saw the field in a regular season game.

Meet Stony Brook Chapter President and tight end P.J. Edwards in our weekly Beyond The Trophy series.

 In what is clearly the biggest win for the Maryland program this decade – and perhaps even longer.  The Terrapins marched into Austin a nearly three-touchdown underdog to No. 23 Texas and marched away with a 51-41 victory.

It was the first victory for Maryland against a ranked opponent on the road in nine years.

Maryland led 27-7 at one point in the second half, then held off a Longhorns rally that included Texas touchdowns on a blocked field goal return, a kickoff return and interception return for a score.

Running back Ty Johnson was a beast for the Terrapins, rushing for 132 yards, returning a kickoff 60 yards and scoring one touchdown. Wide receiver D.J. Moore had a big afternoon as well with seven catches for 133 yards and a score.

Illinois used a late touchdown from Mike Epstein and a blocked field goal as time expired to rally past Ball State at home.

Defending National Champion Clemson rolled up 665 yards of total offense on its way to a comfortable victory over Kent State at Death Valley. New starting QB threw for 236 yards on only 22 attempts.

Penn State, the defending Big Ten Champion, saw its dynamic trio of QB Trace McSorley, RB Saquon Barkley and TE Mike Gesicki each account for two touchdowns in blanking Akron. Barkley, a Heisman Trophy candidate, accounted for 256 total yards on 18 touches.

Notre Dame running backs Josh Adams and Dexter Williams, a 2017 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award finalist, combined for 285 yards and three touchdowns as the Fighting Irish subdued Temple. Adams earned Uplifting Athletes Player of the Week honors for his stellar effort.

Nebraska was embroiled in a nip-and-tuck affair with underrated Arkansas State all the way before holding on for a seven-point victory over the Red Wolves. Husker RB Trey Bryant rushed for 192 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries.

Washington, Syracuse and Northwestern all won their openers in different fashion. Northwestern needed a pair of 1-yard TD plunges by QB Clayton Thorson to rally past Nevada. Syracuse put up big numbers offensively in rolling Central Connecticut State and defending Pac-12 Champion Washington subdued Rutgers by outscoring the Scarlet Knights 20-7 in the second half.

Georgia Tech dropped a heartbreaker in double OT to Tennessee Monday night. And Stony Brook came up with a strong effort against nationally ranked USF on the road in Tampa before a late flurry allowed the Bulls to edge the Seawolves.

NEW CHAPTER SCOREBOARD

2017 Beyond The Trophy: Meet P.J. Edwards from Stony Brook University


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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: P.J. Edwards

College: Stony Brook University

Height, weight, class, position: 6-6, 250-pound senior tight end

High School: Northwest Catholic, West Hartford Connecticut

About Edwards: On the field has played in 23 games for the Seawolves the three seasons including a couple starts. He has two career catches. … Is the President of the Stony Book Chapter and organized the 2017 SBU Chapter Lift For Life that set a fundraising record for the chapter. … Was a 2017 CAA Football Academic All-Conference. … Edwards was an all-conference and all-academic four-year letterwinner in high school. He also played basketball.

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

Edwards: Growing up my family had season tickets to UConn football home games. My redshirt freshman year, we played at UConn. I remember running out of the tunnel and seeing all of my friends and family in the stands. It was a cool moment to be able to play at the place where I had always watched from the stands.

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes, and what, if anything, has this experience done for you?

Edwards: As a college athlete a lot of attention is given to you, you can choose to do with that attention. I thought that it would be best to use that attention to make a difference. Anyone can be born with a rare disease, and immediately it changes their life. They didn’t ask for the disease, it just happened. This experience has opened my eyes to a number of things. This experience has taught me that I can make a difference. It has also opened my eyes to the number of people who are willing to help when given an opportunity. When we held our event in the spring, I was amazed at the number of guys who came to meetings or came up to me asking how they could help.

As a player, what is your favorite part of the game day experience at your home stadium?

Edwards: Every home game there is a chunk of free time while everyone is getting taped and getting their pads ready, all of the tight ends grab chairs and sit in the endzone and look out at the field and the surrounding listening to the music play. Not many words are exchanged, we are getting in the zone and focusing on the game.

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

Edwards: Mark Cuban. I would love to hear him talk about the obstacles he overcame in his business career. I also am a fan of his on Shark Tank.

What is your favorite road stadium to play in and why?

Edwards: My favorite road stadium to play at is James Madison, going down there you know you are going to get great competition and they have some of the best facilities at the FCS level. Their fans are passionate and relentless.

In your words, what are some of the things you are looking for in life after football or big goals for the future?

Edwards: I am currently pursuing my MBA in Finance and afterwards, I hope to work on Wall Street as an investment banker. I have always had an interest in the markets and a love for the city.

RAPID FIRE with P.J. Edwards

What is your perfect pizza? Cold Pizza (weird I know)

Last three songs you added to your playlist? I primarily listen to podcasts like Pardon My Take and KFC Radio.

Taylor Swift or Miley Cyrus? Taylor Swift 100 percent

If you could spend the day with any celebrity, who would it be? Johnny Manziel

What was the last movie you went to the theater and saw? Dunkirk

In the mountains or on a beach? Beach

What’s the last picture you took with your phone? Pictures with the guys at Media Day

 

It’s Touchdown Pledge Drive Season again!


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For the fourth consecutive year, our chapters will shine a spotlight on rare diseases by holding a Touchdown Pledge Drive (TDPD) game.

This year, the entire nationwide chapter network will play their TDPD game during the month of September.

The Touchdown Pledge Drive game is an excellent chance for each chapter to expose the rare disease cause to their college football fan base and bring another level of awareness and support to the rare disease community.

Uplifting Athletes chapters are run by football student-athletes. So, for fans, this is a great way to support the players on your favorite team off the field in their efforts to use the power of sport for social good.

Please visit the Uplifting Athletes Touchdown Pledge Drive hub and choose your favorite team to support. Simply make a pledge towards the number of touchdowns your team scores that day and follow along to see the impact you are helping the players make.

Every dollar helps Uplifting Athletes and its chapter network tackle rare diseases.

The proceeds from Touchdown Pledge Drive 2017 support Uplifting Athletes and its commitment to leadership development, patient focused programs, rare disease awareness and rare disease research.

 

Annual Leadership Development Conference arms student-athlete chapter leaders with tools for success


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As Uplifting Athletes continues to evolve and expand its footprint as a champion of the rare disease community, our nationwide chapter network led by current college football student-athletes continues to be the rock of our foundation.

Educating and training these leaders on the mission and vision of Uplifting Athletes is critical to being able to use the power of sport to inspire the rare disease community with hope. We want to enable these student-athletes to have the biggest impact they can.

This past weekend in Philadelphia, 23 chapter leaders from 14 universities came together for Leadership Development Conference 2017.

Led by the Uplifting Athletes staff, the conference was three days of education, training and relationship building all centered around making a greater impact on the rare disease community.

“I wasn’t aware of how much Uplifting Athletes has done and is doing. The platform we have is such an opportunity,” said Christian Groomes, a chapter leader from Clemson. “It was cool to see all the opportunities we have to raise money and support rare diseases. I think we are going to be a hit at Clemson with some of the ideas we have now.”

Chapter leaders from Clemson, NC State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Georgia Tech, Nebraska, Syracuse, Illinois, Florida State, Maryland, Stony Brook, Penn and Saint Francis committed a weekend of their short offseason to attend the conference.

Included in the workshop sessions on Saturday and Sunday were an overview of Uplifting Athletes, a team building exercise, Lift For Life and Touchdown Pledge Drive event planning, transferable life skills development, communication and social media training, and an introduction to rare disease patient engagement through Uplifting Experiences.

There was also a breakout session hosted by Kristen Angell from the National Organization for Rare Diseases (NORD).

In between work sessions, the student-athletes were able to experience some of the unique sights of Philadelphia. There was a cheesesteak lunch in Logan Park followed by a trip to the Art Museum and the “Rocky Steps” for team pictures. Lunch on Sunday was outside the famous City Hall, and the players were free Saturday evening to explore the city and spend some off time together.

“It was a great experience overall. I learned a lot and it was great to get to know the guys from other schools,” Penn State Chapter leader Jason Cabinda said. “There was a lot I can take back to the rest of the guys and share that will help us going forward.”