July 18, 2019 | 76° F

Rutgers alumnus is ongoing 'Jeopardy' champion, he has won over $90 K so far

Photo by Rutgers.edu |

Rutgers alumnus Eric Blackes (right) poses with Alex Trebek, the host of the game show "Jeopardy!" When Blacke was a student at Rutgers, he was part of a team that won the Cook/Douglass Trivia Bowl in 1999. 

The ongoing champion of "Jeopardy" won his third straight episode Wednesday night. Eric Backes is a Rutgers alumnus who has won a total of $91,201 so far, according to the show's website. 

 On Thursday, he will return as the ongoing champion. 

“It took me a while to keep my hand from shaking as I clenched the buzzer,” he said. “I kept thinking, ‘I can’t believe I’m here.’”

Backes graduated from Livingston College in 1999. As a student, he was on a three-way team that won the Cook/Douglass Trivia Bowl in 1999, and they each received $100 gift cards to Menlo Park Mall, according to an article by Rutgers Today.  

Backes and his wife, whom he met at Rutgers, have recently moved to Round Rock, Texas with their two children, according to the article. 

The contest was very competitive, and Backes struggled with questions concerning Shakespeare and science. “It became a matter of buzzing in at the right time,” he said. “Then it’s all about betting correctly when you get a Daily Double to put yourself ahead of everybody else."

Brendan Brightman

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