Anchorage student wins $100,000 halftime promotion for throwing footballs

Jack Underwood of Anchorage is a full-time student who works 40 hours a week to cover his costs at Liberty University, but after what happened Saturday, he might get a little more time to study and make music.

Underwood, a 2018 South High graduate, won $100,000 during a halftime promotion at the ACC championship game between Clemson and Virginia.

He threw 10 footballs into a giant Dr Pepper can during a 30-second span to become one of five students who collected $100,000 as part of the 11th annual Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway.

The prize money should allow him to pare down his hours as a full-time member of Liberty’s janitorial staff, a job that is putting him through college.

“I have a family of eleven, so there’s no financial aid from my parents,” Underwood told a Virginia television station prior to the weekend event. "I was, like, ‘Maybe there’ll be a way where I won’t have to do this constant trying-to-balance-school-and-work.’ It’s overwhelming.”

Underwood, 19, was one of 20 college students whose video submissions made them finalists in the tuition contest. In his video, he said he is majoring in music, song writing and worship leading. He plays five instruments, but working full time limits how much time he can spend pursuing his education.

“So many times I wanted to quit,” he said, “but it’s the only way I can be here.”


Saturday’s payday could change that.

The 20 finalists were divided into five regions, with four students in each. In Friday’s preliminary competition, Underwood threw eight footballs into the can to advance to Saturday’s finals in Charlotte, North Carolina.

During halftime of the Clemson-Virginia game, he threw 10 balls into the can. The student competing against him threw in six to win the $25,000 runner-up prize.

Beth Bragg

Beth Bragg wrote about sports and other topics for the ADN for more than 35 years, much of it as sports editor. She retired in October 2021. She's contributing coverage of Alaskans involved in the 2022 Winter Olympics.