21 NFL Prospects join 2020 Reps For Rare Diseases campaign during NFL Combine


For the sixth consecutive year, Uplifting Athletes is empowering NFL prospects with the opportunity to use the NFL Combine as a platform to give back by raising funds and awareness in support of the Rare Disease Community.

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

Since its inception in 2015, more than 100 players have participated in this campaign through either the NFL Combine or NFL Pro Day workouts.

This year Uplifting Athletes currently has 21 players who chose to participate in Reps For Rare Diseases 2020 at the NFL Combine including: Grayland Arnold, JaMycal Hasty, Denzel Mims, Clay Johnston, James Lynch and Chris Miller from Baylor, Davion Taylor from Colorado, Jalen Elliott, Alohi Gilman, Tony Jones Jr., Cole Kmet, Chris Finke and Julian Okwara from Notre Dame, Juwan Johnson from Oregon, Rob Windsor from Penn State, Kevin Davidson from Princeton, Sterling Hofrichter and Kendall Coleman from Syracuse, Reggie Robinson and Trevis Gipson from Tulsa and Shaun Bradley from Temple.

“During Combine and Pro Day training, so much time and energy is focused by these young men on achieving their dreams of playing in the NFL,” former NFL player and Uplifting Athletes’ Chapter Success Manager Levi Norwood said. “It is amazing to see so many NFL hopefuls realize, especially during this tiring and grueling process, how impactful their platform can be. We are honored they chose to stand alongside Uplifting Athletes and the Rare Disease Community.” 

Fans and supporters can pledge towards the performance of any one of our NFL Combine participants this year and help Uplifting Athletes tackle rare diseases.

Visit the Uplifting Athletes Reps For Rare Diseases 2020 team landing page, choose your favorite player and make your pledge today.

Horizon Therapeutics plc and Uplifting Athletes announced a new partnership for the 2020 Reps for Rare Diseases campaign. Horizon will match donations up to $35,000 through its #RAREis program, which is dedicated to providing individuals living with rare disease and families access to resources that connect, inform and educate as they navigate their daily lives.

“Thank you to all the athletes participating in Reps For Rare Diseases and good luck as you continue your football journey,” Uplifting Athletes Director of Sports Impact and NFL veteran Brett Brackett said. “This group of athletes displays the empathy and character that helps them stand out amongst their peers. Any NFL team would be lucky to have one of these men representing their organization.”

The proceeds from the 2020 Reps For Rare Diseases campaign support the mission of Uplifting Athletes and its charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders.

Meet Uplifting Athletes 2019 Rare Disease Champion Team member Sam Heckel from Syracuse University


Starting this season, the focus of the Rare Disease Champion Award shifted to a team concept in order to provide a platform to recognize all the qualified leaders that have made a significant and lasting impact on the Rare Disease Community. The Rare Disease Champion Team ensures all the inspiring rare disease stories of qualified leaders in college football are shared and celebrated. Uplifting Athletes will honor the 2019 Rare Disease Champion Team at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala in Atlantic City and at the Uplifting Athletes Young Investigator Draft in Philadelphia March 6 and 7, respectively.

Sam Heckel

University: Syracuse University

Vitals: 6-4, 280-pound, redshirt junior, offensive line

Quick Hits: A native of Wisconsin, Sam lives with congenital thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), a rare blood disorder that does not allow for the production of the ADAMTS13 enzyme, which breaks down large proteins. In order to help his body manage this rare disease, he must undergo 14-20 hours of plasmatherapy every two weeks, including during the football season. When he arrived on campus, Sam learned about the strong tradition of leadership within the Syracuse Chapter of Uplifting Athletes and, being a rare disease patient himself, the cause had purpose and special meaning to him. He attended the Leadership Development Conference in 2018 and 2019 and has been the Syracuse Chapter President the past two years. A full-time starter in 2017 on the Orange offensive line, Sam rotated as the sixth man in 2018 and played in every game. This season he earned the job as the starting center before injuries forced him to the sideline early in the year.

INSIDE THE STORY

From the time he nearly died while in elementary school because doctors struggled to diagnose his rare disease, Sam has faced long odds as an athlete.

His TPP diagnosis would require monthly treatments for the rest of his life.  At one point he wasn’t sure doctors would even allow him to play contact sports and Sam was always balancing his medical condition with being an elite athlete.

His dream to be a Division 1 college football player drove Sam on the field, in the classroom and at the hospital. With the help of a strong support team, led by his family, a scholarship to Syracuse allowed him to realize his dream.

The demands of being a student-athlete kept Sam inside that bubble of structure and routines he already was familiar with. Practices, workouts, meetings, classes and studying – the routine of it all was very comfortable to Sam.

“It’s almost a miracle that I got to be a college football player and am living my dream,” Sam said. “All throughout my life I’ve had to rely on other people … my parents, doctors, trainers. Whenever I wanted to do something, I had to rely on other people so much.”

It took a strong and dedicated support team around Sam just to make it to Syracuse, and once that circle of trust expanded in college, it was easy for him to find success.

He was a starter sooner than later for the Orange along the offensive line. Sam filled in at a couple spots up front in 2018 and became an experienced veteran. Coming out of camp prior to the 2019 season he was named the starting center. Once again Sam overcame the odds and was poised to take that next step as a football player.

In the first game of the season, Sam suffered his third concussion in 13 months. And the odds were simply too stacked against him with three head injuries in such a short period of time.

He worked through the recovery protocol as instructed, continued to stay involved with the team and held out hope of once again stepping on the field inside the dome at Syracuse to play the game he dearly loves.

The biggest challenge in his life, overcoming his rare blood disorder to play football, didn’t keep him off the field. Three concussions did, though.

Sam was medically disqualified from ever playing football again following the 2019 season. It was a sudden end he admits, but also said it took him about a minute to accept the diagnosis.

“Being a collegiate athlete, everyone knows it’s going to come to an end. I just didn’t know it was last season. The suddenness of it, that was the harder part for me,” Sam said. “It was a difficult transition for sure, having that taken away from you. I wasn’t used to being a non-athlete.”

Sam is still adjusting to life as a student instead of a student-athlete. He plans to remain involved with the team, helping out the younger players and doing what he can to make a positive contribution to the football team. It’s what he worked so hard to do on the field. Now he’s re-directing that same passion and energy in another direction.

Despite being medically disqualified, Sam will remain on scholarship at Syracuse. He will receive his undergraduate degree in the spring, stay involved with the team in 2020 and begin work on his Master’s degree.

“I still feel like I’m still trying to grasp who I am outside of being a football player,” Sam said. “I’m figuring out it’s all about re-directing your energy as a person. Now I can re-direct my energy in different directions. I have time, and I get to choose a little more what I had to put my energy toward.

“I’m more independent and rely on myself more, and I’m enjoying it. Football and Syracuse gave me everything I ever needed and wanted. I’m so grateful for that. That’s why I feel I have to stay involved and give back.”

THE RARE JOURNEY

Sam was born with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), a rare blood disorder that does not allow for the production of the ADAMTS13 enzyme, which breaks down large proteins.

Early in his life, obtaining an accurate diagnosis was difficult and once doctors were able to pinpoint his rare disease, coming up with a functional treatment protocol proved tricky as well.

For most of his life, Sam received 14-20 hours of plasmatherapy every three weeks. It was a day-long process that also came with a couple days of recovery to feel normal. Despite nearly dying when he was in elementary school, Sam’s treatment allows him to live a normal life.

He was a star offensive lineman during his high school days at Waukesha West in Wisconsin and that landed him a scholarship offer from Syracuse.

Playing major college football was always the pie-in-the-sky dream for Sam and getting recruited to upstate New York allowed him to fulfill that life-long goal.

As a kid growing up, despite his rare blood disorder, Sam wanted to be on a level playing field with his peers. He didn’t want to be known as the football player who also had a rare disease. So he was extremely hesitant about sharing his journey.

That changed when he arrived at Syracuse.

Once on campus, Sam learned about the strong tradition of leadership within the Syracuse Chapter of Uplifting Athletes and, being a rare disease patient himself, the cause had purpose and special meaning to him.

Still reluctant to talk about his rare diagnosis because he preferred to let his play on the field speak for itself, Sam soon discovered he had a story to share that needed to be shared. Inspired by his work as a leader of the Syracuse Chapter, Sam learned his voice is strong and his platform as a college football athlete is significant.

WHAT THEY SAID

“I feel like with the position I was in with Uplifting Athletes, I realized there are some kids out there right now that are in the same shoes I was in growing up. And if what I went through can help them … give them some hope in any way and let them know they can still have hope no matter what they are going through, they need to know that. You can’t let a health issue determine what you are going to do with the rest of your life. I know the Rare Disease Community doesn’t have a lot of athletes out there, and I’m one of them. So I had to do what I could to help.” – Sam Heckel

39 Uplifting Athletes Chapter Leaders put through paces in Atlanta during 11th annual Leadership Development Conference


The cornerstone of the Uplifting Leaders program is our network of Chapters on campuses across the country led by college football student-athletes.

This past weekend, 39 leaders from 20 schools gathered in Atlanta for a high impact and fast paced weekend of learning and development during our 11th annual Uplifting Athletes Leadership Development Conference.

The 2020 conference provided an opportunity for our Chapter leadership to develop relationships that stretch beyond the football field, to absorb enhanced mission and vision insight based on Uplifting Athletes’ four programs – Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders – and to plot a chapter strategy for 2020.

“The difference for me this year was it’s a new group of guys mostly, but you establish similar quality of relationships,” said Clemson Chapter leader and Tigers’ long snapper Jack Maddox, who was attending his second conference. “I have a year of experience now, so I know more about what’s going on. I’m not overwhelmed as much and I know what we can and can’t do at our chapter. It’s such a valuable weekend.”

Following a meet-and-greet dinner Friday night, the conference kicked off Saturday with a full day of programming. Four breakout sessions led by Uplifting Athletes staff were followed by an “entering the real world” question-and-answer session with former college athletes.

The highlight of Saturday was the Uplifting Experience at the College Football Hall of Fame where 24 rare disease patients, caregivers and families were connected with the Chapter leaders to spend a couple hours experiencing the Hall of Fame together.

“I loved that the athletes had an opportunity to meet individuals with rare diseases outside of a hospital setting,” said Carol Unger, whose 32-year-old son Matthew is diagnosed with the ultra rare disease WAGR Syndrome. “I feel it is important to note that our children grow up, although some may still be at the maturity level of a 7 or 8 year old, and cherish those opportunities to meet with folks from the outside world.”

The first day of the conference closed out with a work session on three of Uplifting Athletes’ main events – Lift For Life, Reps For Rare Diseases and Touchdown Pledge Drive.

“Since Penn State is such an established chapter, my journey here is to learn what else can we do next to help support the Rare Disease Community,” said Penn State Chapter leader and long snapper Chris Stoll, who is in line to be the next PSU Chapter President taking over for quarterback Sean Clifford.

“I’m very excited to be more involved at another level. Sean did a great job and put a lot into it. But he’s our starting quarterback now and that’s a big job. I’m pumped to be here again and to meet so many guys who have passion for the rare disease cause and for using their platform to make a difference. And I’m very excited to get more involved at the next level.”

Sunday started with Dr. David Fajgenbaum, a former Uplifting Athletes Young Investigator Draft grant recipient, founder of the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network and rare disease research pioneer, sharing his story via a live video conference.

The conference wrapped up with some additional highlights of Uplifting Athletes’ programming that is available to support the rare disease cause and a work session to kick off 2020 at the chapter level.

A special thank you to all our sponsors and supporters who made this conference possible, Deloitte, Sanofi Genzyme, Jean Campbell and JFC Consulting and the College Football Hall of Fame. With your help, these young men are making a difference in the Rare Disease Community.

Meet the 2019 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Team


Uplifting Athletes is pleased to announce the 2019 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Team.

For 12 years, Uplifting Athletes has recognized a Rare Disease Champion. Starting in 2019, the focus of the Rare Disease Champion Award shifts from highlighting an individual leader in college football to a team concept that provides an opportunity to recognize leaders in college football that have made a positive and lasting impact on the Rare Disease Community. 

The five members of the 2019 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion team are: 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.

Uplifting Athletes couldn’t be more proud to share these inspiring rare disease stories of leaders in college football.

“We feel strongly that our obligation to the Rare Disease Community is to share the powerful and compelling stories of people inside college football who have lived the rare disease journey, as patients and advocates,” Uplifting Athletes Executive Director Rob Long said. “I believe this will be the start of a tradition recognizing those in college football who are inspiring, serving and supporting those who need it the most.”

The Rare Disease Champion Team powered by Sanofi Genzyme is an Uplifting Athletes awareness campaign that is part of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The Rare Disease Champion Team will be celebrated at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala at the Tropicana Casino & Resort in Atlantic City, N.J. on March 6, 2020 and at Uplifting Athletes’ Young Investigator Draft at Lincoln Financial Field Philadelphia March 7, 2020.

Nominees for the award were solicited from any NCAA FBS, FCS, Division II or Division III institution or college football program nationwide.

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, an FBS assistant coach and an administrator from AFCA. 

Former Austin Peay State University Offensive Coordinator and current University of Kansas Assistant Coach Joshua Eargle was honored as the winner of the Rare Disease Champion Award last year.

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

Chapter Update: Penn State matches program standard with another 10-win season and seven teams post Week 14 victories


Penn State won for the 10th consecutive time at Beaver Stadium and, in the process of upending Rutgers on Senior Day, the Nittany Lions tied a double-digit victory standard for the program.

For the third time in four years Penn State has won at least 10 games. It marks the first time the Nittany Lions have accomplished three double-digit win seasons in a four-year span since 1993-1996.

Penn State has been stellar at home during this historic run – capping a third unbeaten slate at Beaver Stadium in the last four years. The last time that happened was 1972-1975.

Backup quarterback Will Levis made his first start and rushed for 108 yards. Running back Journey Brown chipped in with 103 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. The last time Penn State had a pair of 100-yard rushers was 2015 and the last time that combination was a QB and RB was 2005.

The Nittany Lions finished solo second in the Big Ten East behind undefeated Ohio State and are in line for a New Year’s Six bowl bid.

Baylor: Two years ago the Bears were a one-win team in head coach Matt Rhule’s first season in Waco. Their only victory in 2017 was on the road at Kansas. Two years later Baylor returned to Memorial Stadium in Lawrence and thumped the Jayhawks to complete a 1-11 to 11-1 turnaround and punched their ticket to the Big 12 Championship game Saturday. Baylor is the first Power 5 program to go from 1-11 to 11-1 in two years. In one of its most dominant conference victories in program history, the Bears rang up 264 yards on the ground, scored on five of their first six possessions and the defense produced six turnovers.

Clemson: The Tigers won their 27th game in a row, nailed down the eighth undefeated regular season in program history and third under head coach Dabo Swinney, by knocking off Palmetto State rival South Carolina. Junior running back Travis Etienne broke the ACC record for career rushing touchdowns with a three-yard blast in the fourth quarter for his 53rd career touchdown on the ground. His historic touchdown earned Etienne the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week. Sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence completed 18 consecutive passes against the Gamecocks to set a school record for consecutive completions, surpassing the previous mark of 15. The 18 straight completions also tied the ACC record for consecutive completions.

Learn more about Florida State Chapter President and linebacker DeCalon Brooks in our Beyond The Trophy series

Northwestern: The Wildcats used a powerful running game and a stingy defense to subdue Illinois and claim the Land of Lincoln Trophy for a program-record fifth time in a row. Northwestern posted 378 yards on the ground and eclipsed the 350-plus yard mark rushing for the first time since 2012. Senior defensive lineman Trent Goens had a career day in his final game with three tackles for a loss (TFL), a quarterback hurry (QBH) and a forced fumble. Only one Wildcat has replicated that stat line since 2000 – Malcolm Arrington in 2008. Goens also finished with six tackles, five of them solo stops, and a pass break-up to power a defense that limited the Fighting Illini to 160 total yards.

Notre Dame: Trailing by 10 points in the first half, the Fighting Irish ripped off 24 unanswered points to reach the 10-win plateau for the third consecutive season and the fourth time in the last five years. Senior quarterback Ian Book became the first Fighting Irish in program history with 2,500 passing yards, 500 rushing yards and 30 touchdown passes in a season. He also became the first Notre Dame quarterback to throw four touchdown passes in a game five times in the victory over Stanford. 

Syracuse: Sophomore defensive back Trill Williams ripped the ball from Wake Forest’s Kendall Hinton at the six and raced 94 yards to the end zone to secure a six-point overtime victory for the Orange at home. Syracuse scored first in OT on a 40-yard field goal. The Demon Deacons were on the move in extra time before Williams stepped in. Each team kicked a 40-plus yard field in the final minute of regulation to force overtime.

Kent State: For the first time since 2012, the Golden Flashes are headed to a bowl game after posting their third consecutive win to reach 6-6 overall by taking out Eastern Michigan on Black Friday. This is only the fourth season Kent State in bowl eligible in the last 30 years. Jamal Parker put the Golden Flashes in the driver’s seat by returning the second-half kickoff 96 yards to give Kent State a three-score lead on the road. EMU pushed back and made it a one-score game in the fourth quarter before the Golden Flashes defense picked off a pass late to earn a bowl invitation for 2019. Junior quarterback Dustin Crum completed 68.3 percent of his passes this year and finished the regular season with an NCAA QB Rating of 155.97. Both those numbers are the best in Golden Flashes program history.

Illinois: The Illini held their 118th annual football banquet Sunday and Illinois Chapter President and tight end Bobby Walker was recognized for his work with Uplifting Athletes in receiving the Service Above Self Award. Despite the loss at home to Northwestern on Senior Day, the Fighting Illini finished 6-6 this year and are bowl eligible for the first time since 2014. Junior kicker James McCourtnailed a 50-yard field in the third quarter against the Wildcats to give him four field goals this season of 50 or more yards. Those four long-range kicks ties the Fighting Illini program record for number of 50-yard or longer field goals in a season.

Chapter Update: Northwestern freshman has breakout performance and 12 teams post Week 12 victories


Behind a breakout performance from true freshman running back Evan Hull, Northwestern won its second game of the season by rolling up 45 points against UMass.

Hull, making his first start of the season, rushed for 220 yards and tied the single-game program record with four touchdowns on the ground. He became the first Wildcat running back to rush for four touchdowns and more than 200 yards in a game since 2005. Hull scored on touchdown runs of 46, 38, 36 and 6 yards.

Northwestern also used a strong effort from its special teams to add points to the scoreboard. Joe Gaziano blocked a 30-yard field goal attempt and Chris Bergin grabbed the loose ball and scooted 85-yards for a scoop-and-score. The Wildcats also recovered a squib kick and turned it into a field goal.

Penn State: Junior quarterback Sean Clifford, the Penn State Chapter President, went over 3,000 total yards for the season and was responsible for three touchdowns as the Nittany Lions bounced back from their first loss of the season. Clifford, who posted 234 total yards of offense, two rushing scores and a passing touchdown against the Hoosiers, finished off a statement drive for Penn State to seal the victory. His 1-yard plunge on fourth down late in the fourth quarter gave the Nittany Lions a 10-point lead and capped an 18-play, 75-yard march that consumed 9:01 of the clock. 

Saint Francis: Redshirt sophomore quarterback Jason Brown connected with classmate E.J. Jenkins for three touchdowns to help the Red Flash post their most convincing win of the season. Joel Denley added 157 all-purpose yards and a career-high three rushing touchdowns as part of the 42-point outburst. Saint Francis Chapter President Nick Rinella, one of six seniors honored prior to the game, posted eight tackles and returned the opening kickoff 48 yards. 

In his first year as the starter, Brown’s three touchdown passes against Wagner gives him 23 on the season to take over as the program’s all-time leader in TD passes for a season and earned him the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week.

Penn: The Quakers went on the road to Harvard and set a program milestone in close-to-the-vest Ivy League victories. For the first time in the Ancient Eight era of college football, Penn has won three consecutive games at Harvard Stadium. It was also the third straight win overall for the Quakers, all decided by four points or fewer. Six of Penn’s nine games this season have been decided by five or fewer points. The Quakers are 4-2 in those tight-squeeze affairs. Nick Robinson threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Rory Starkey midway through the fourth quarter to give the Quakers the lead for good. And the Penn defense locked it down with a late fourth-quarter stop on fourth down at its own 30-yard-line.

Clemson: Behind a career-high four touchdowns from sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence and 121 yards from RB Travis Etienne, the Tigers won their sixth consecutive game by 30 or more points – the longest streak in ACC history. Etienne’s 100-plus yard game was his sixth in a row and established a school record for consecutive 100-plus yard games. Wake Forest walked into Memorial Stadium bringing seven wins to the table behind a solid offense. The Tigers’ defense held the Demon Deacons to 105 total yards and five first downs.

Davidson: The Wildcats finished off the road portion of their schedule with a stellar 4-1 mark thanks to 28 unanswered second-half points to pull away from Stetson. Davidson moved to 5-2 in the Pioneer Football League, posting the most league wins by the program since 2006. Junior RB Wesley Dugger continued his assault on the record books with two more touchdowns to become the PFL’s all-time leading scorer and the Davidson single-season leader in rushing touchdowns with 20. Davidson Chapter President and team captain, linebacker George Hatalowich, led a defense that limited Stetson to less than 100 yards the final 30 minutes with a team-high 11 tackles.

Notre Dame: Senior wide receiver Chase Claypool had four touchdown receptions tying him for the most in a single game in Irish history with Maurice Stovall who caught four against BYU in 2005. Three of those touchdown catches came in the first half in the commanding win over Navy, marking the first time an Irish player has posted three touchdown receptions in a single half since at least 1950. Claypool finished with seven catches for 117 yards. Notre Dame Chapter Vice President and linebacker Drew White had a team-high 10 tackles and a fumble recovery. White now leads the Fighting Irish defense in tackles this season.

Learn more about Notre Dame Chapter Vice President and linebacker Drew White in our Beyond The Trophy series

Colgate: Sparked by a defense that found its stride late in the season, the Raiders closed out their 2019 season with three straight victories after blanking Lafayette on the road. It was the third straight season Colgate has blanked Lafayette. After starting 0-7, the Raiders won four of their last five and finished 3-3 in the Patriot League behind a defense that allowed only 27 total points the final 12 quarters of the season.

Syracuse: Fueled by its defense, Syracuse ended its four-game slide and kept its hopes for a bowl bid alive by posting its first win ever against Duke in four tries. Leading 14-6 at halftime, the Orange defense forced three turnovers in the third quarter that the offense turned into 21 points to break the game open. Andre Cisco started the turnover barrage with the first pick-six of his career covering 48 yards that quickly made it 21-6. The 43-point margin of victory was the largest ever for Syracuse in an ACC game.

Western Michigan: In a wild back-and-forth affair that saw the Broncos and Ohio University combine for 10 first-half points but then 31 total points in the fourth quarter, LeVante Bellamy’s four-yard touchdown run in overtime sealed the seventh victory of the season for WMU. After the Broncos’ defense surrendered a late touchdown in regulation that forced OT, they came up with a stand to start the extra session to force a field goal.

Kent State: Trailing Buffalo at home by 21 points with half of the fourth quarter remaining, the Golden Flashes exploded for 24 unanswered points down the stretch to keep their quest for a bowl big alive. Sophomore kicker Matthew Trickett nailed a 44-yard field goal as time expired to cap the biggest fourth-quarter comeback this season in FBS. The field goal to win it by Trickett was his 20th of the season and broke the single-season Kent State record established in 2012 by Freddy Cortez. 

Florida State: For the 38th time in the last 40 years the Seminoles will appear in a bowl game after roughing up FCS Alabama State for win No. 6 this season. In his second stint as interim head coach, Odell Haggins is now 4-0 with FSU averaging nearly 43 points a game in those contests. Haggins is 2-0 this season since taking over and the 49 points scored this week is a season high.

Chapter Update: Stony Brook springs upset on final play and nine teams record Week 9 wins


Stony Brook roared back from an 18-point halftime deficit capped by kicker Nick Courtney’s 22-yard field goal as time expired to upset FCS No. 5 ranked Villanova.

The road victory marks the second time in program history the Seawolves beat a team ranked in the Top 5. Stony Brook defeated No. 2 Richmond in 2016.

Stony Brook scored 10 points in the final 92 seconds after trailing 35-20 midway through the fourth quarter. The Seawolves scored the final 16 points.

Quarterback Tyquell Fields was instrumental in the rally, throwing for a career-best 321 yards with one passing TD and a pair of rushing touchdowns. His 1-yard plunge with 1:32 to play pulled the Seawolves to within 35-33 after a failed two-point conversion.

Stony Brook then used all its timeouts and forced the Wildcats to punt with 21 seconds to play. The Seawolves connected on  a 40-yard completion from Fields to Nick Anderson in the dying seconds to set up the game winning field goal by Courtney.

Lehigh: For the third straight game the Mountain Hawks’ fate came down to the final play of the game. And for the third straight time Lehigh walked away with a victory. Austin Henning’s 27-yard field goal as time expired lifted Leigh to 3-0 in the Patriot League with a home victory over Georgetown. The Hoyas rallied with a 72-yard touchdown bomb on fourth-and-4 and added a two-point conversion to tie it up at 24 with 1:23 to play. Lehigh answered by calmly traveling 59 yards in eight plays to set up the winning kick. Lehigh Chapter President and wide receiver Jorge Portorreal posted a team-high eight catches for 103 yards to help the Mountain Hawks win their fourth in a row.

Penn State: Nittany Lions quarterback and Penn State Chapter President Sean Clifford threw four touchdown passes, three of them to tight end Pat Freiermuth, as the undefeated Nittany Lions posted a 21-point soggy and rain swept victory at Michigan State. Penn State is 8-0 for the first time since 2008, is 5-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since 2011 and moved up to No. 5 in the rankings. The Nittany Lions defense produced three turnovers, limited the Spartans to seven points and broke up eight passes.

Marist: Redshirt freshman running back Hunter Cobb ran for 178 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 17 carries and the Red Foxes defense forced a pair of turnovers to upset Davidson on the road in North Carolina. The Red Foxes defense limited the No. 3 FCS rushing offense in the country to 202 yards on 46 carries. Cobb’s 89-yard touchdown run in the third quarter is the fourth-longest touchdown run by a Red Fox in the program’s 27-year FCS history and the longest in the last seven years and earned him the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week.

Western Michigan: Senior running back LeVante Bellamy posted a career-high four touchdowns and rushed for 178 yards to lead a Broncos ground game that rolled up nearly 400 yards and six touchdowns in their victory over Bowling Green. Junior linebacker Treshaun Hayward led a WMU defense that limited the Falcons to only 266 total yards with 13 tackles (10 solo), two sacks and three tackles for a loss. 

Learn more about Kent State Chapter President and wide receiver Antwan Dixon in our Beyond The Trophy series

Illinois: The Illini rushed for a season-high 242 yards and its defense forced a pair of turnovers in the rain-soaked victory at Purdue. Senior RB Dre Brown had a career-high 131 yards on the ground to help Illinois win its second in a row and get to 4-4 overall. Junior cornerback Tony Adams became the first Illini with interceptions in back-to-back Big Ten games since Vontae Davis and Kevin Mitchell both did it against Penn State and Wisconsin in 2007.

Clemson: Running back Travis Etienne and wide receiver Diondre Overton each scored three touchdowns as the undefeated Tigers extended their winning streak to 23 games with a 52-point victory over Boston College on homecoming at Memorial Stadium. Clemson’s defense held the No. 6 ranked rushing offense in the country to only 96 yards on the ground, scored a touchdown on a fumble return and had eight tackles for a loss.

Princeton: Led by a defense that produced three interceptions that led to 17 points, the Tigers rallied in the second half to overtake Harvard for win No. 16 in a row. Tigers quarterback Kevin Davidson threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns and linebacker Jeremiah Taylor had one of those interceptions and a team-high 13 tackles.

Florida State: Seminoles running back Cam Akers rushed for 144 yards, completed a couples pass for 26 yards out of the “wildcat” formation and tied a school record for rushing touchdowns in a game with four to lead FSU to a homecoming victory over Syracuse.