The Daily Northwestern

Communication junior finishes third on ‘Jeopardy!’ college show, still has shot at semis

Communication junior Dan Donohue finished third in his episode of the “Jeopardy! College Championship” which aired Tuesday, but his score of $14,000 could still qualify him for the next round. Viewers will find out by Friday whether Donohue has advanced to the semifinals.

Source: Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

Communication junior Dan Donohue finished third in his episode of the “Jeopardy! College Championship” which aired Tuesday, but his score of $14,000 could still qualify him for the next round. Viewers will find out by Friday whether Donohue has advanced to the semifinals.

Joseph Diebold, Web Editor

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Dan Donohue finished third in Tuesday’s episode of “Jeopardy! College Championship,” but the Communication junior’s score may land him one of four wild-card spots in the competition’s semifinals.

Donohue led nearly wire-to-wire against competitors from Georgetown University and the Georgia Institute of Technology, but a miss on a Final Jeopardy question that his opponents both answered correctly left Donohue with a total of $14,000. Georgetown’s Jim Coury won the episode with $20,001.

Donohue’s total during the show topped out at $15,400. He benefited from drawing the first two Daily Double questions, on which contestants can risk their accrued points to add extra points. Donohue doubled his score from $3,200 to $6,400 by answering, “What is transcendentalism?” to a question about Ralph Waldo Emerson and went from $8,000 to $11,000 by correctly identifying the trachea as a “tube that widens and lengthens slightly with each breath taken in.”

But Donohue was overtaken by Coury and Georgia Tech’s Kristen Jolley during Final Jeopardy, when his two competitors named Prospero from William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” as a Shakespeare character with a name meaning “fortunate” in Latin. Donohue incorrectly guessed Benvolio, losing his $1,400 wager and falling to his final total.

After the episode, Donohue told The Daily missing the Final Jeopardy question was his “biggest facepalm moment.”

“I’ve studied ‘The Tempest’ in two different classes here at Northwestern, and I have seen a movie version, and I’ve seen it performed on stage, and I just could not come up with it under that pressure,” he said. “I think that’s something I may have had sitting on the couch at home watching the episode, but when you’re actually there it’s a lot different.”

The college tournament consists of five opening rounds among the 15 contestants. The five winners and four other contestants with the highest scores advance to the semifinals. Viewers will know whether Donohue advances after the final opening round episode airs Friday. After two rounds, Donohue trails Jolley and Monday contestant Julia Sprangers.

Donohue said his pre-show preparation, which included studying old episodes and betting strategy, informed his move on Final Jeopardy.

“One of the things I had done to prepare was that I looked at the past iterations of the college tournament and kind of looked at what scores people were typically getting wild card spots with,” he said. “I wagered $1,400 thinking that any score between $14,000 and $16,800 would probably get me a wild card spot.”

Donohue took the airing as an opportunity to interact with “Jeopardy!” fans on social media, tweeting during the show and participating earlier in the day in an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit, where users of the popular website can pick the brains of public figures.

Donohue also chatted with host Alex Trebek after the show’s first commercial break. Trebek asked Donohue about his former job as a soccer referee.

“You take a lot of abuse from parents that think they know everything,” Donohue replied. “Now I get to tell them I was on ‘Jeopardy!’ so I really do know everything.”

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About the Writer
Joseph Diebold, Web Editor
Joseph Diebold is one of The Daily’s managing editors and a Weinberg junior. His past positions include Campus editor, Opinion editor and Web editor. He is from Portland, Ore., and has interned at ThinkProgress and Partisans Media. Email: josephdiebold2015@u.northwestern.edu Comments