A knack for finding, and correctly answering, Daily Doubles once again gave Minneapolis meteorologist Eric Ahasic a “Jeopardy!” win on Friday’s episode.
Beyond that, though, Ahasic’s first game in the show’s Tournament of Champions shared little in common with his breezy six-game winning streak in June that earned him a spot among the best of the best who’ve competed since the previous tournament in 2020. He spent much of his time chasing first place and he flubbed a few responses, turning the game into a real nail-biter in the process.
“That was a great game,” beamed host Ken Jennings. “It was a pleasure to watch.”
Ahasic, 33, faced off against Jackie Kelly, a pension calculation developer from North Carolina with four previous wins, and Jaskaran Singh, a consultant from Texas who won the show’s National College Championship.
Ahasic opened with a winning question about curling but quickly fell behind the competition. Kelly uncovered the round’s sole Daily Double and turned her $3,000 into $6,000 after correctly identifying a brachiosaurus.
After the first commercial break, Jennings asked the contestants about their newfound fame after competing on the show. Ahasic talked about appearing live on a 7:45 a.m. radio broadcast from the Minnesota State Fair, where he ate corn dogs and mini cheese curds, which he dubbed a “breakfast of champions.”
At the end of the first round, Ahasic was trailing with $2,600 to Singh’s $5,800 and Kelly’s $6,000.
But Ahasic hopped to the front of the pack after hitting two Daily Doubles in a row. He turned $5,800 into $11,600 with his correct response of the novel “Robinson Crusoe.” But the doubt on his face and unease with his answer made it a dramatic moment for sure.
He then found the second Daily Double and announced he was going all in, coaxing an “Are you kidding me?” from Jennings. The answer, which caused Ahasic to visibly recoil: “Post-WWII British foreign secretary Ernest Bevin said this secretary of state threw ‘a lifeline to sinking men,’ ” Ahasic’s correct question: “Who is Marshall,” as in United States Secretary of State George C. Marshall.
During his first “Jeopardy!” run, Ahasic entered Final Jeopardy! with enough money to ensure his win for five of his first six games. This time around, any one of the three had a chance at victory: Singh ($11,000), Kelly ($19,600) or Ahasic ($26,000).
The final question: “The name of this city may come from ‘dur,’ meaning water, a reference to the Helvetian people’s settlement on a lake.” Singh correctly responded with Zurich, while Kelly missed with Geneva. Ahasic got it right and added $13,201 to his winnings for a final take of $39,201.
That brought Ahasic’s total “Jeopardy!” haul to $199,802 and earned him a spot in the semifinals, which will air Nov. 9 through 11. He’ll be facing off with another semifinalist and one of show’s all-time top five players whose massive success allowed them to skip the quarterfinals altogether: Amy Schneider (40 games), Matt Amodio (38 games) or Mattea Roach (23 games).
“Jeopardy!” airs locally at 4:30 p.m. on KARE Ch. 11.