Weekly Update: Clemson headed back to ACC Championship game for third year in a row after claiming Atlantic Division title with victory over Florida State

WEEK 11 GRAPHICClemson has proven that you can get upset in a regular-season game and still win the National Championship.

That may be the road to doing it again, as the Tigers guaranteed themselves a birth in the ACC Championship game this weekend.

Clemson overcame a less-than-tidy effort, two turnovers and seven penalties, to bump off Florida State and claim the ACC Atlantic Division title for the third consecutive year.

Clemson is headed to Charlotte and the ACC title game for the fifth time in nine years under Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney.

Penn State ended its two-game losing streak behind a record-breaking day from quarterback Trace McSorley in its homecoming victory over Rutgers.

McSorley threw for 214 yards and rushed for another 44 yards. But with his three total touchdowns the redshirt junior became No. 1 on the Penn State list for total touchdowns by a quarterback. The Nittany Lions defense rebounded, limiting the Scarlet Knights to 200 total yards and a pair of field goals.

The Penn State defense held Rutgers without a first down for a 38:45 stretch that started on the first play of the second quarter until 6:45 remained in the game.

Georgia Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall did something you’ll be hard pressed to see again – he completed only two passes but finished with 140 yards through the air. And both those completions went for long-distance touchdowns in a victory over previously nationally ranked Virginia Tech.

NC State rebounded from back-to-back losses to highly ranked teams to improve to 7-3 overall by edging Boston College. The Wolfpack used a 50-yard run from Nyheim Hines midway through the final quarter to win it.

Northwestern won its fourth in a row by sliding past Purdue. The big news is the Wildcats claimed this victory in regulation, after winning its previous three outings in overtime.

Syracuse is going to struggle to be bowl eligible after falling to Wake Forest at home. But Orange back-up quarterback Zack Mahoney found he was starting 14 minutes before the game and threw for nearly 400 yards to earn the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week.

Penn used 181 rushing yards from Tre Solomon and stingy defense to notch an important road victory at Harvard. Solomon averaged 12.1 yards per carry, while the defense allowed only a pair of field goals to the Crimson.

Stony Brook uses a ball-control offense and relies on being mistake-free to win football games. And that formula played out perfectly against Wagner as the Seawolves improved to 8-2. Stony Brook rushed for nearly 200 yards, won the turnover battle 3-0 and converted third down at nearly a 50 percent clip to notch a four-score victory.


Syracuse Chapter President and QB Zack Mahoney delivers on short notice with 384-yard outing to earn Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week

Photo by Wasim AhmadIf nothing else, when you are the back-up to Syracuse starter Eric Dungey, you better be ready to play on short notice at all times.

Orange No. 2 signal caller Zack Mahoney has served in that role for the better part of two full seasons, and the 14-minute notice Mahoney received Saturday that he would start did not affect the senior at all.

Mahoney, the President of the Syracuse Chapter of Uplifting Athletes, under center does mean the Orange change their offensive mindset. Mahoney fired 60 passes, completing 33 of them for 384 yards and three touchdowns to claim the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week honor.

In a wild ACC game at the Carrier Dome that featured more than 1,300 yards of total offense, Syracuse could not keep pace with the Demon Deacons down the stretch and fell 64-43. The Orange led 43-40 going into the final 15 minutes.

This is the third season Mahoney has been the No. 2 quarterback option for Syracuse. He’s attempted nearly 300 passes, thrown for almost 2,000 yards and has 18 career touchdowns and only eight interceptions.

Previous Uplifting Athletes

Rare Performance of the Week Winners

Week 1: RB Josh Adams, Notre Dame

Week 2: QB Ryan Finley, NC State

Week 3: QB Trace McSorley, Penn State

Week 4: RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State

Week 5: WR Ervin Philips, Syracuse

Week 6: QB Chad Kanoff, Princeton

Week 7: QB Eric Dungey, Syracuse

Week 8: WR Jesper Horsted, Princeton

Week 9: QB Clayton Thorson, Northwestern

Week 10: QB Will Fischer-Colbrie, Penn



Weekly Update: Northwestern “Cardiac Cats” become first FBS school in history to win three straight games in overtime with road victory at Nebraska

WEEK 10 GRAPHICThis Northwestern team has become known to it fans as the “Cardiac Cats” with very good reason.

For the third week in a row, head coach Pat Fitzgerald’s squad needed extra time to edge fellow Uplifting Athletes Chapter Nebraska in Lincoln.

With wins over Michigan State, in triple overtime, and Iowa at Ryan Field, Northwestern is now the first FBS program to ever record three consecutive overtime victories.

Against Nebraska, the Wildcats trailed by a touchdown deep into the fourth quarter before QB Clayton Thorson engineered a 13-play, 84-yard drive and scored on a 7-yard run with 5:03 to play. Thorson also scored on a QB sneak in overtime, then watched the Wildcats defense come up with a stop to seal the Wildcats’ fourth consecutive victory.

Penn came up with its signature win of the season, rallying from down four points late to edge fierce rival and fellow Uplifting Athletes Chapter Princeton in an Ivy League affair at Franklin Field.

The Quakers led most of the game before the Tigers exploded for 14 quick points in the fourth quarter to seize the lead. Penn QB Will Fischer-Colbrie engineered an impressive 80-yard scoring play, completing all three of his passes, to guide the Quakers to victory.

Fischer-Colbrie threw the winning TD pass inside the final two minutes, finished 15 of 18 for 202 yards and pair of touchdowns to grab the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week award.

Meet Penn State Chapter Co-President and Nittany Lions QB Trace McSorley in our weekly Beyond The Trophy series.

Florida State running back Cam Akers went for 199 yards and two scores on 22 totes to notch the Seminoles’ third win of the season with a triumph over fellow Uplifting Athletes Chapter Syracuse. And defending National Champion Clemson, who hosts FSU this week, used 279 total yards and three touchdowns from QB Kelley Bryant to hold off fellow Uplifting Athletes Chapter NC State.

Once-beaten Notre Dame used a 24-point explosion in the second quarter to open up enough breathing room on Wake Forest to withstand a furious second-half rally by the Demon Deacons.

Fighting Irish QB Brandon Wimbush put on a show, rolling up 390 total yards (280 passing and 110 rushing) with three touchdowns to lead a Notre Dame offense that piled up 710 yards.

Stony Brook kept its magical season alive by winning for the seventh time in nine games by edging Albany in overtime at home. Joe Carbone hit Harrison Jackson with a 13-yard TD pass in the extra session to win it for the Seawolves. Carbone threw for 218 yards and a pair of scores on a day when the Stony Brook ground game was limited to only 79 yards.


Nine NFL players choose to partner with Uplifting Athletes during My Cause My Cleats 2017

MCMC 17 GRAPHICUplifting Athletes is partnering with the NFL in the My Cause My Cleats campaign this season.

Players from across the NFL will wear custom cleats that reflect their commitment to charitable causes during Week 13 games.

For the Uplifting Athletes team, most of them became connected to the rare disease cause in college when they were a part of something bigger than themselves. Seven of the nine members of the Uplifting Athletes team have a connection to their football student-athlete led university chapter that supports the rare disease community.

And for those seven, wearing the Uplifting Athletes brand for My Cause My Cleats is simply an extension of their support for their university chapter and the rare disease community.

“I would like to thank all the members of our My Cause My Cleats team and the former chapter members who have continued to be honorable representatives of their university and Uplifting Athletes as alumni,” said Uplifting Athletes Director of Chapter Management Brett Brackett, a former Penn State Chapter President who recently retired from the NFL. “Your platform has become more prevalent yet your heart for the rare disease community continues to shine bright.”

Each pair of uniquely designed cleats will be highlighted by the Uplifting Athletes colors and brand, but will also play tribute to their respective university chapter by featuring the school colors as well.

The current roster for the 2017 Uplifting Athletes My Cause My Cleats team includes: Navorro Bowman (Oakland Raiders), Garry Gilliam (San Francisco 49ers), Riley Dixon (Denver Broncos), Adam Humphries (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Ted Karras (New England Patriots), Freddie Bishop (New York Jets), Matt Haack (Miami Dolphins) and Shamarko Thomas (Buffalo Bills).

In conjunction with My Cause My Cleats, each member of the Uplifting Athletes team is running a fundraising campaign to support the cause and help tackle rare diseases.

The proceeds from this My Cause My Cleats campaign support the mission of Uplifting Athletes and its charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders.

“As a former professional athlete I am aware of the example we set for the next generation. We are proud to have these nine players set the precedent for our chapters and all athletes across the country,” Brackett said. “For these athletes to continue to lend a voice to a community that is starved for relevant attention and financial incentive to make and market new treatments cannot be undervalued.”

Uplifting Athletes is a national nonprofit that inspires the rare disease community with hope through the power of sport and empowers medical researchers to find cures.

Founded in 2007, Uplifting Athletes has college football student-athlete led chapters nationwide in FBS and FCS programs including half the schools in the Big Ten and ACC conferences.

Weekly Update: Huge upset for Syracuse of previously No. 2 ranked Clemson and NC State continues to rise

week 7 chapter updateSo Friday the 13th did prove to be something of a nightmare for a couple of Top 10 college football teams and served as a foreshadow of the weekend that was Week 7 of the 2017 season.

Syracuse coach Dino Babers picked up his signature victory as the Orange head coach in his second season in upstate New York after unranked Syracuse edged defending college football National Champion Clemson inside the Carrier Dome.

The previously No. 1 ranked Tigers suffered only their second loss against an unranked opponent in their last 51 attempts.

Led by quarterback Eric Dungey, who earned the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week, Syracuse scored 27 points against a Clemson defense that held five of its previous six opponents to two or fewer touchdowns.

This was only the third loss for Clemson in its last 34 games dating back to the start of the 2015 season. The Tigers still control their own destiny, though. Remember, last year the Tigers lost to Pittsburgh during the regular season and still went on to claim the ACC and National titles.

Following the historic victory for the Orange, it was Clemson coach Dabo Swinney who stole the show. The Tigers’ skipper was extremely gracious in defeat.

Swinney was clearly happy for Babers after the game, seen mouthing “I’m so happy for you guys” to the Orange coach during the postgame handshake. And later he went into the Syracuse lockerroom to personally congratulate some of the players and even posed for pictures with them.

Meet University of Illinois Chapter President and Fighting Illini starting offensive lineman Nick Allegretti in our weekly Beyond The Trophy series.

It depends on the rankings, but at least three and in one case four of the Top 10 teams in the country lost in Week 7 including Clemson, Washington, Washington State and Auburn.

One of the teams on trending the other direction is the NC State Wolfpack, who improved to 6-1 after using a strong finish to close out Pittsburgh.

NC State is ranked inside the Top 20 (T16 in the AP and No. 17 in the coaches poll) for the first time since Week 2 of the 2003 season. That year the Wolpack were No. 14 overall before losing a road game at Wake Forest.

The Wolfpack are on a bye this week after notching win No. 6 in a row after losing to South Carolina in their opener. But a pair of elite programs, Notre Dame and Clemson, are on deck for NC State to close out October.

Coming off a tough home loss to undefeated defending Big Ten Champion Penn State, the Northwestern Wildcats clawed back to .500 on the strength of a strong second half to subdue Maryland.

RB Justin Jackson had a season-high 171 yards and a couple scores to go along with nearly 300 yards passing from QB Clayton Thorson to power the Wildcats.

Colgate used a season-high 166 yards and a touchdown from RB James Holland to overpower Fordham at home. The Raiders defense came up big too, limiting the Rams to only 64 rushing yards on 31 carries.

For the second week in a row Princeton cleared the 50-point barrier and improved to 4-1 overall. The Tigers outgained Brown 538-170 overall and led 36-0 at halftime.

Saint Francis QB Ben Fenimore tossed three touchdown passes for a Red Flash team that led 17-0 at intermission and improved to 2-0 in the NEC.

Stony Brook scored all 22 points in the second half, keyed by a pair of short touchdown runs by Donald Liotine, to rally past New Hampshire.

Cam Akers’ 42-yard touchdown run with 8:32 to play propelled Florida State past Duke for the Seminoles second win of the season. Akers finished with 115 yards on 15 carries.


Weekly Update: No. 3 ranked Penn State hits its bye unbeaten and No. 2 Clemson starts 6-0 for third year in a row

week 6 chapter updatePenn State set itself up well for the upcoming bye week followed by the teeth of its 2017 schedule by dispatching of fellow Uplifting Athletes chapter Northwestern.

The defending Big Ten champion Nittany Lions remained undefeated and moved up to the consensus No. 3 team in the country by scoring the first 31 points on the road against the Wildcats.

Junior quarterback Trace McSorley broke a school record that dated back to 1994 by throwing 15 completions in a row – surpassing the previous mark of 14 by Kerry Collins. McSorley finished 25 of 34 for 245 yards and a touchdown against a Northwestern defense that sold out to limit big plays.

Penn State’s defense continues to be a difference maker, as the Nittany Lions came up with three more turnovers and limited the Wildcats to fewer than 70 yards rushing on 30 attempts.

NC State announced itself as a player in the ACC by winning its fifth game in a row. The Wolfpack took out previously No. 17 ranked Louisville at home on a nationally televised Thursday night game. NC State is now ranked No. 20 in the country.

The Wolfpack piled up more than 500 yards of offense and pulled off the rare offensive trifecta – QB passing for 300 yards, RB hitting 100 yards and a wideout surpassing 100 yards.

Meet Syracuse University Chapter President and Orange quarterback Zack Mahoney in our weekly Beyond The Trophy series.

Princeton overcame a sluggish start against Georgetown, surrendering the opening 10 points to the Hoyas. The next 50 points belonged to the Tigers and by the middle of third quarter the third win of the season for Princeton was secure.

Tigers QB Chad Kanoff continued his assault on the school passing records, moving up to second all-time after throwing for 313 yards and four touchdowns to grab the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week.

For the third season in a row defending National Champion Clemson Tigers started a season 6-0. QB Kelly Bryant left the game with an ankle injury but threw for 200 yards and a score before he departed.

Clemson led 28-0 before the Deamon Deacons put a couple scores on the board in the final 8 minutes. The Tigers won despite losing the turnover battle 2-0 and rolling up nine penalties for 79 yards.

Syracuse climbed back to .500 overall and in the ACC by holding off Pittsburgh at the Carrier Dome. The Orange dominated this game in every category except the scoreboard and ended up hanging on for dear life to get to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the ACC.

QB Eric Dungy paced an offense that total 500 yards by throwing for 365 yards and a couple touchdowns. Three wide receivers, Devin Butler, Ervin Philips and Ravian Pierce, each had at least seven catches and combined for 24 grabs. The Syracuse defense allowed only two touchdowns and less than 360 yards of total offense.

Facing some adversity at the quarterback position, Notre Dame rode a defense that forced three turnovers and limited struggling North Carolina to 265 total yards to post a comfortable three-score victory over the 1-5 Tar Heels.

The Irish turned to the ground game behind the combination of Josh Adams and Deon McIntosh. The duo combined for 242 yards on 25 carries with three touchdowns to power a rushing attack that totaled 341 yards and average 6.0 per carry.


2017 Beyond The Trophy: Meet Syracuse QB Zack Mahoney

MAHONEY 1Each 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: Zack Mahoney

College: Syracuse University

Height, weight, class, position: 6-2, 217-pound senior quarterback

High School: Lyons Township in LaGrange Park, Illinois

About Mahoney: After one year playing at a junior college, Mahoney enrolled at Syracuse as a walk-on in January 2015. … Has appeared in 18 career game with seven starts and has thrown for nearly 1,500 yards with 15 touchdowns. … Three of his seven career starts are against Top 25 teams. … Was given a scholarship prior to 2016 season. … Shares the school record for touchdown passes in a single game with five. … President of the Syracuse Chapter and a current member of SAAC.

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

Mahoney: My most memorable experience was receiving a scholarship from Coach (Dino) Babers.

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

Mahoney: I have a friend back home, Blake, who has a rare disease, Niemann Pic-C, and I have seen how rare diseases affect families first hand. I wanted to be able to help those in the Syracuse area who were going through something similar to Blake. This experience has really opened my eyes up to the true power of sports and the impact it has on our communities.

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

Mahoney: Running out of the tunnel. There is no feeling like running out of some smoke to 30,000 screaming fans.

Who is your favorite NFL player and why?

Mahoney: Tom Brady. He was questioned a lot coming out of college and did nothing but work hard to become the greatest NFL quarterback of all time.

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

Mahoney: Big Cat and PFT. They are some true football guys guys. I think it would be a very entertaining meal.

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

Mahoney: Clemson. They had a very nice atmosphere and it was one of the nicer road fields I have played on.

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

Mahoney: I want to play football for as a long as I can. I want football to be a part of my life for as long as I am living. With all that being said, I would also love to help as many people as I can through the power of football.


What is your perfect pizza?

Mahoney: Girodano’s, Chicago deep dish pizza

Last 3 songs you added to your playlist?

Mahoney: AC/DC: Thunderstruck, Cardi B: Bodak Yellow, Jesse McCartney: Beautiful Soul

Taylor Swift or Miley Cyrus?

Mahoney: Miley Cyrus

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

Mahoney: Rob Gronkowski, he is a wonderful football player and really knows how to send it

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

Mahoney: Hitman’s Bodyguard, our coach made us go see it

In the Mountains or on a Beach?

Mahoney: Beach

What’s the last picture you took with your phone?

Mahoney: A picture of my dog