MU's John Grace "Sacking" QBs To Fight Hunger

Calgary Stampeder and former Marshall University linebacker John Grace showed up at the Calgary Interfaith Foodbank yesterday to kick-start the "2006 Purolator Tackle Hunger Program." With other local media celebrities, Grace helped pack food hampers for Calgary's less fortunate.

In its fourth year, Purolator (Canada's largest courier company), has helped raise more than 700,000 killograms (1,540,000 pounds) of food with the help of the Canadian Football League and the Canadian Association of Food Banks (CAFB). In fact last year the combined weight of all the food donations outweighed all the players in the CFL.

John Grace, No. 7 for the Calgary Stampeders, joins with Purolator to "Tackle Hunger" during 2006 CFL season.

In this exciting program, during the regular season every time a quarterback is sacked, Purolator will donate his weight to each city's local food banks. TSN will air live updates during CFL games, and show sack tally updates. Grace is no stranger to making tackles in the backfield, leading the Thundering Herd in tackles for loss in 1997 and 1998 (14 each season) and leading the Stamps in sacks last season with eight and seven in 2004. He has 20 career quarterback sacks, over the last four seasons, and Grace has enjoyed being a part of this program.

"Usually when I sack a quarterback the only person that feels good is me, but now other people benefit from my hits," said a smiling Grace. "Except the quarterbacks. They never benefit when I'm on the field." In 2005 Grace was named Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year for the CFL, and was named to the CFL and Western Division All-Star teams. He finished the 2005 season with 76 tackles (second on the team), and eight quarterback sacks.

The Stampeders asked all fans to bring a non-perishable food item to Saturday night's season opener against the Edmonton Eskimos, in which Grace had nine tackles but no sacks in the Stampeders' win. Purolator, the CFL, the Stampeders and most importantly Food Banks across Canada are hoping to improve on last year's donations.

Grace helped lead Marshall to two undefeated seasons in four years, as the Thundering Herd was 13-0 in 1999 and ranked 10th in the nation in Division I-A that year. Marshall's final season in I-AA was a 15-0 season in 1996 that lead to the Herd winning the National Championship before moving up to the Mid-American Conference. Grace and the Herd won the MAC three-straight seasons and played in three consecutive Motor City Bowls: vs. Ole' Miss in 1997, a 34-31 loss in MU's first bowl since 1947's Tangerine Bowl; vs. Louisville in 1998, the Herd's first bowl win ever, 48-29 over the Cardinals (Grace was named the Defensive MVP that night); and vs. BYU in 1999, winning 21-3 to finish ranked in the top ten in the nation.

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