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Drake football hosts Lift-a-thon
Each player on the Bulldog football team participated in a Lift-a-thon in the Knapp Center weight room on Jan. 16 to raise money for the team’s trip to Africa this May. The players bench-pressed weights representing every dollar pledged by friends, family, fans and community sponsors toward the cost of the trip, which is $4,000 per player. The team has a goal to raise at least $300,000.

The Bulldogs will travel to Tanzania to play in the Global Kilimanjaro Bowl, the first American collegiate football game on the African continent. In addition to the game against the CONADEIP All-Stars from Mexico, the players will participate in community service projects and then spend the final six days climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa at roughly 19,340 feet.

The teams will also host youth football clinics for the children of the city of Moshi and then build an addition at the Kitaa Hope Orphanage, which provides a home for orphaned children with HIV/AIDS.

“This is an experience of a lifetime for our young men,” head coach Chris Creighton said in a Drake athletics press release. “This is more than just football – this is about seeing our world, experiencing our world and, most importantly, giving back to our world.”

Zach Johnson to be honored by Drake
Zach Johnson, a former Bulldog golfer who won the 2007 Masters, will receive the prestigious Double D Award on Tuesday. The Double D Award is the highest honor the school presents to former student-athletes for their contributions to their profession and community after leaving Drake.

Johnson played for the Bulldogs from 1995-1998, and was a member of the 2006 and 2010 U.S. Ryder Cup teams. The Iowa native exploded onto the PGA scene with his surprising victory at the Masters in April of 2007. He outshot veteran golfers Retief Goosen, Rory Sabbatini and Tiger Woods to earn the championship at the Augusta National Golf Club. He finished tied for third in last year’s PGA Championship, and has six other PGA Tour titles. In his seven-year career on the tour Johnson has earned more than $19 million.

Johnson will be honored at the traditional Double D Dinner on Tuesday evening and then again at halftime of the Drake vs. Missouri State men’s basketball game, which starts at 7 p.m.

Ironically, Johnson was the No. 2 golfer on both his high school and college teams. He helped lead Drake to two Missouri Valley Conference titles.

Cundiff named to Pro Bowl
Former Drake kicker Billy Cundiff was named to the 2011 NFL Pro Bowl as the AFC kicker last month. The game will be played this Sunday in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Cundiff converted 26 of 29 field goals this season for the Baltimore Ravens, who were eliminated from the NFL playoffs last week. He was perfect on extra point attempts for the year, and had a season-long field goal of 49 yards.

Cundiff set 15 Drake and Pioneer Football League records from 1998-2001. He sits atop the Bulldog career leader board with 284 points, 49 field goals and 137 PATs. His 49 career field goals ranks 14th on the NCAA Division I-AA list. Cundiff nailed eight field goals of more than 50 yards at Drake, including a PFL record 62-yard blast against San Diego in 2000.

Cundiff has also played for the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints and Cleveland Browns. He was 4-for-4 on field goal attempts this postseason, converting three in a 30-7 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round. He was successful on his only attempt in a 31-24 heartbreaking loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in round two.

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