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.

WEEK 7 SCOREBOARD

Weekly Update: Second straight road win for Nebraska Cornhuskers and 2017 Touchdown Pledge Drive wraps up


WEEK 5 GRAPHICThank you, on behalf of the rare disease community we serve, to the 15 schools that participated in the 2017 Uplifting Athletes Touchdown Pledge Drive during the final three weeks in September.

The support from the college football student-athlete chapter leaders and donor to raise awareness and funds for rare diseases is appreciated. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Nebraska made it two road victories in a row by visiting fellow Uplifting Athletes Chapter Illinois for a Friday night Big Ten affair at Memorial Stadium. The Huskers defense put on a show, limiting the Fighting Illini to only a pair of field goals.

Linebacker Chris Weber, the Nebraska Chapter President, had a monster game with nine tackles that included six solo stops. He also had two tackles for a loss and one sack. Offensively, the Huskers piled up 411 total yards led by 246 yards and three touchdowns from QB Tanner Lee.

Penn State used a combination of defense and special teams to grab a 28-0 first-quarter lead on Indiana and cruised to a 31-point victory. The Nittany Lions forced four turnovers including a scoop-and-score by the special teams on a Hooisers punt return.

Linebacker Jason Cabinda paced a PSU defense that limited Indiana to its lowest point total of the season by recording 14 tackles, 1.5 TFL and one sack. QB Trace McSorley threw for 315 yards and a couple scores. WR DeSean Hamilton became the No. 1 receiver in school history with nine catches for 122 yards and three touchdowns.

Meet Clemson University Chapter President and Tigers kicker Christian Groomes in our weekly Beyond The Trophy series.

Colgate freshman quarterback Grant Breneman accounted for all three Raiders touchdowns in a road victory at Cornell. Breneman threw a pair of TD passes and rushed for another score. The Colgate defense came up with four interceptions that went a long way to the Raiders notching victory No. 2 of the season.

Joe Carbone threw for 182 yards with one touchdown and RB Stacey Bedell added 104 yards and a score on the ground to power Stony Brook to a huge Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) road victory over William & Mary. The Seawolves are 3-0 in the CAA and 4-1 overall with their only loss coming to FBS nationally ranked USF in Tampa in their opener.

Saint Francis used two touchdown passes from QB Bear Fenimore and 105 yards from RB Jymere Jordan-Toney to edge Liberty on the road in Virginia to improve to 3-1 overall.

Defending National Champion Clemson posted its second major road victory in as many weeks by traveling to Blacksburg, Virginia and subduing previously undefeated and nationally ranked Virginia Tech.

Dorian Daniel salted away another strong outing for the Tigers by returning an interception 22 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to give Clemson a 31-10 lead. QB Kelly Bryant totaled 280 yards of offense with one touchdown and led the Tigers in rushing with 94 yards.

Maryland RB Ty Johnson ripped off a 34-yard touchdown run with 70 seconds remaining to cap a solid 262-yard outing for the Terrapins on the ground. Johnson’s touchdown vaulted Maryland to a one-touchdown victory over Minnesota. The road victory featured Maryland using its third quarterback of the season.

Georgia Tech rolled up more than 400 rushing yards and cruised past winless North Carolina to improve to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the ACC. QB TaQuon Marshall and RB KirVonte Benson combined for 267 yards and two touchdowns on 45 carries.

NC State held off a furious second-half comeback by fellow Uplifting Athletes Chapter Syracuse to hang on for a big ACC home victory. The Wolfpack led 26-7 at intermission. Syracuse WR Ervin Philips set a Syracuse and ACC single-game record with 17 receptions to earn the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week award.

Washington is poised to make another strong run at a second straight Pac-12 title with a 5-0 start. The Huskies used 293 yards and three touchdowns from QB Jake Browning and WR Dante Pettis hauled in 12 pass for 105 yards with all three Browning TD passes going his way in a blowout win over Oregon State on the road.

Florida State picked up its first win of the season behind a late TD pass from QB James Blackman to WR Auden Tate covering 40 yards inside the final minute to edge Wake Forest on the road.

QB Brandon Wimbush threw for three touchdowns and added another on the ground as Notre Dame raced out to a 45-14 halftime lead over Miami (Ohio) from the MAC at home. The Fighting Irish improved to 4-1 overall.

Chapter Scoreboard Week 5

 

 

Weekly Update: Signature ACC road victory for NC State and Touchdown Pledge Drive continues


NC STATE NEWSLETTER IMAGEThank you to Clemson, Maryland, Colgate, Stony Brook and Georgia Tech student-athlete chapter leaders and fans of those programs for supporting the middle week of Touchdown Pledge Drive 2017.

There is still one more set of Uplifting Athletes Chapters on deck to help tackle rare diseases during the three-week campaign.

Illinois, Florida State, Penn and Fordham will hold their Touchdown Pledge Drive games this week.

NC State picked up a signature ACC win by going on the road and pulling off an upset of Florida State in Tallahassee.

The Wolfpack took care of the football with zero turnovers and had only six penalties. NC State piled up nearly 400 yards of offense on the Seminoles defense, led by 230 yards and two touchdowns from QB Ryan Finley.

Meet NC State University Chapter President and Wolfpack tight end Cole Cook in our weekly Beyond The Trophy series.

Defending Ivy League co-champion UPenn moved to 2-0 by taking out winless Lehigh on the road in a wild affair that featured 112 total points and more than 1,150 total yards.

Quakers RB Karekin Brooks had a monster game, rushing for 268 yards on 29 yards with three touchdowns. The UPenn defense also forced three key turnovers.

Penn State remained the No. 4 ranked team in the country by escaping a night game at Kinnick Stadium with a road victory over Iowa by scoring on the very last play.

Trace McSorley hit Juwan Johnson with a 7-yard touchdown pass as time expired to move the Nittany Lions to 4-0. RB Saquon Barkley posted a school record 358 all-purpose yards on 43 touches to earn the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week.

The other Ivy League defending co-champion, Princeton, is also off to a 2-0 starter after rolling past Lafayette. Tigers QB Chad Kanoff threw for 256 yards and three touchdowns. His 31 completions were spread out to 10 different receivers. The Princeton defense limited Lafayette to only 36 yards rushing.

Stony Brook won its third game in a row after dropping the season opener to nationally ranked USF on the road. The Seawolves picked up a huge conference victory by using a solid defensive effort to hold off Towson.

WR Ray Bolden had a big game with eight catches for 125 yards and a TD to compliment a 242-yard, two-touchdown outing from QB Joe Carbone.

Georgia Tech used its Touchdown Pledge Drive game to roll up more than 400 rushing yards and five touchdowns to overwhelm Pittsburgh. RB KirVonte Benson and QB TaQuon Marshall combined for 308 yards on the ground and accounted for four of the Yellow Jackets five touchdowns.

The Yellow Jackets defense limited the Panthers to less than 250 total yards and fewer than 40 yards on the ground.

Defending National Champion Clemson used 27 fourth-quarter points to pull away from Boston College for the Tigers’ Touchdown Pledge Drive game and improved to 4-0.

Notre Dame moved inside the Top 25 last week and validated that move by using three turnovers and 28 first-half points to erase Michigan State in East Lansing.

The Top-10 ranked Washington Huskies fell behind Colorado on the road 7-0 after one quarter before reeling off 24 of the next 27 points to seize control of their first Pac-12 game of the season.

Coming off a tough upset loss at home, Nebraska trailed Rutgers on the road early in the second half after a pick-six by the Scarlet Knights to grab a 17-14 lead. Rutgers never scored again, as the Huskers scored the final 13 points to get a much-needed victory. The Nebraska defense again played solid, limiting Rutgers to less than 200 total yards and surrendered only one touchdown.

UPDATED CHAPTER SCOREBOARD

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

Clemson Tigers highlight Uplifting Athletes Chapter bowl season by winning National Championship


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Clemson became the second university with an Uplifting Athletes Chapter to win the college football National Championship with its dramatic victory over defending champion Alabama.

Florida State won the final BCS National Championship in 2014 to cap a perfect 14-0 season.

Two of the last four champions of college football, Clemson and Florida State, are part of Uplifting Athletes student-athlete chapter network.

The Clemson Chapter held its inaugural Lift For Life event this past summer and also held a Touchdown Pledge Drive for the Syracuse game this season in support of the rare disease community.

Congratulations to the Tigers on winning their first National Championship since 1981 and thanks to Clemson Chapter President and punter Andy Teasdall for all his hard work in making 2016 a success on and off the field.

Big Ten champion Penn State and Pac-12 winner Washington each finished its respective seasons with losses, but that won’t diminish the huge strides forward each program made nationally.

The Huskies fell to Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinal and the Nittany Lions were part of a thrilling and record setting Rose Bowl game won by USC.

Clemson climbed the highest mountain in college football by winning it all, but five other programs with an Uplifting Athletes Chapter ended the 2016 campaign on a high note with a victory in their respective bowl game.

Florida State edged Michigan in the Orange Bowl, Northwestern held off Pitt in the Pinstripe Bowl, Georgia Tech nearly doubled up Kentucky in the Taxslayer Bowl, NC State put up 42 points on Vanderbilt in the Independence Bowl and Baylor snapped its losing streak by rolling Boise State in the Cactus Bowl.

Maryland, Nebraska and South Carolina were also part of the 2016 bowl slate but came up just short.

Taking a look back at 2016 for Uplifting Athletes


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In a year of change on many fronts for Uplifting Athletes, taking time to reflect is time well spent.

Our purpose as a national nonprofit remains unaffected. We serve the 30 million Americans that comprise the rare disease community. But our scope and mission underwent a natural evolution to kick off the year.

We expanded our scope of support to the larger rare disease community as a whole and settled on five categories of rare disease groups, rare cancers, rare blood disorders, rare genetic disorders, rare autoimmune disorders and rare muscular disorders.

Our mission has remained the same since 2007, but we overhauled the words to more adequately reflect where we want to go in the future. Uplifting Athletes is a national nonprofit organization that inspires the rare disease community with hope through the power of sport.

In February we crowned our eighth Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion. And we celebrated USC long snapper Jake Olson and his amazing rare disease story at the annual Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala in March.

Our annual Gridiron Gala was also in March, and for the first time we put the focus of our annual fundraising event squarely on rare disease patients and their families. It was a celebration of battling, and in some cases overcoming, the challenges of a rare disease journey.

In May we welcomed a record 30-plus leaders in college football to Northwestern University for our annual Chapter Leadership Conference. The weekend painted a promising picture for the future of our nationwide network of student-athlete led chapters.

Over the course of the late spring and into the summer, 19 chapters ran a Lift For Life event. This is the signature fundraising and rare disease awareness event, but trust us when we say no two events are the same.

Penn used its annual Iron Quaker lifting competition to hold its Lift For Life, Notre Dame holds a bowling event to engage the community, at Arizona it’s a kids clinic and Nebraska holds an annual 5K/Fun Run as its signature event.

Clemson, Georgia Tech, Washington and Northern Arizona each held their inaugural Lift For Life events in 2016. And the charter chapter of Uplifting Athletes, Penn State, held its 14th annual Lift For Life.

The funds that are raised from these annual Lift For Life events supports rare disease research and patient focused programs. And this fall, Uplifting Athletes allotted research funds to support translational research being done at UPMC in Pittsburgh, Fox Chase in Philadelphia and Penn.

August was a month of more transition for the organization. Former Chapter Manager Becky Mayes left after nearly four years with Uplifting Athletes and Director of Marketing Mark Mihalik took a similar position with PledgeIt.

Those departures provided Uplifting Athletes the opportunity to hire Rob Long as the Director of Strategic Development and Chapter Liaison. Long is the inspiration behind Syracuse forming a chapter, a former rare disease patient who overcame his rare brain cancer and played college football.

In addition, John Trzeciak was looking for passion and purpose in his journey and as a long-time resident of State College and a Penn State alumnus and fan, he knew about Uplifting Athletes. Trzeciak is a full-time volunteer and mentor with a wealth of knowledge and skills that will help Uplifting Athletes maximize its resources in the future.

At the peak of their football season, 11 members of the Uplifting Athletes Chapter network donated their time and hard work to run Touchdown Pledge Drives.

In its third year of existence, Arizona, Clemson, Colgate, Florida State, Maryland, Penn State, Penn, Princeton, St. Francis, Stony Brook and Syracuse hosted Touchdown Pledge Drive games.

Penn, who shared the Ivy League title with Princeton, ran a campaign that included all of its Ivy games and included the offense, defense and kicking game. Colgate and Princeton each ran offense vs. defense drives. The remaining eight chapters ran a pledge drive based solely on touchdowns.

We are grateful for all the blessings of this past year that allowed us to serve the rare disease community. We are excited for 2017.

Together … We Are … Stronger!