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ND frosh awarded $100k

Tess Civantos | Thursday, December 11, 2008

Freshman Kevin McShane plans to quit his dining hall job, now that he won a $100,000 scholarship – by throwing footballs into a giant Dr Pepper can.

The scholarship was part of the Dr Pepper half-time football challenge. Six grand-prize-winning college students each received a trip for two to either the ACC championship game, the SEC championship game or the Big XII championship game.

Two of the six Grand Prize winners attended each game, where they competed for the scholarship money at half-time.

McShane chose the Dec. 6 Big XII Championship game, and took his older brother with him.

“We each had an eight-foot-high Dr Pepper can five yards away, and we each had 10 footballs – 10 shots each,” McShane said.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking,” McShane said. “But it was really cold in Kansas City, so it was hard to get really excited.”

He chose the Big XII game because it sounded like the most exciting game out of his options, he said.

“My brother was really mad at me for picking Kansas City over Tampa Bay,” McShane said, laughing.

McShane chose to enter the contest on a whim.

“I saw a promotion on the Dr Pepper Web site for the halftime throw. I figured I could use the money, so why not give it a try?” McShane said. “I entered my application on the Web site, and I got a call in November that I had won the trip.”

McShane worked to win by practicing his throwing accuracy.

“I practiced a lot over Thanksgiving break, since I had a lot of time,” he said. “We also had a chance to practice on the field the night before.”

McShane’s favorite part of the game? Spending time with retired Dallas Cowboy Marcellus Wiley, who helped host the challenge.

“He was really funny, joking the whole time,” McShane said of Wiley. “Stuff like, ‘Now you know how [Oklahoma quarterback] Sam Bradford feels.'”

As part of the application process, McShane had to submit an essay about his experiences with Dr Pepper.

“There is a group of missionaries in Indianapolis who fast all day on Fridays until dinner,” McShane said. “I decided to start doing that too. So, I don’t eat anything until dinnertime, but I drink liquids like Dr Pepper to stay hydrated.”

McShane wrote his essay on how drinking Dr Pepper helped him keep his energy up as he fasted.

Surprisingly, McShane said the essay might not have been part of the selection process.

“When we got there, the people from Dr Pepper were talking about how we were picked,” McShane said. “We were picked randomly. I don’t think they even read the essays.”

McShane was not one of the original winners chosen, but he was chosen because the initial winners failed to respond, he said.

Besides allowing him to quit his dining hall job, McShane said, “in the long term I’m hoping this will enable me to come out of college with no debt.”