Lincoln – In front of a crowd of 86,818 Husker fans, the Nebraska football team hosted its annual Red White Spring Game on Saturday at Memorial Stadium. The official attendance of 86,818 set a Nebraska Spring Game record and marked the eighth-largest crowd for a spring game in NCAA history. Jayson Jorgensen has this report.
The White team notched the first touchdown of the game and held a 9-7 lead early in the second quarter before the Red team scored the final 42 points of the game on its way to a 49-9 victory.
Redshirt freshman Tristan Gebbia and freshman Adrian Martinez split time at quarterback for the Red team and combined to go 22-of-30 for 239 yards and three touchdowns. Martinez also led all rushers on the day with 60 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries. The Reds featured a balanced rushing attack, along with Martinez, Mikale Wilbon (54), Greg Bell (54) and Wyatt Mazour (52) all top 50 yards on the day.
The White team was quarterbacked by sophomore Andrew Bunch and sophomore transfer Noah Vederal. The two went 14-of-26 for 142 yards, with Bunch going 8-of-14 for 89 yards and one touchdown.
Sophomore Todd Honas of the White team led all receivers in both receptions and yards, with six for 46 yards. Redshirt freshman tight end led the Red team with 43 yards on three receptions.
Defensively, junior inside linebacker Jacob Weinmaster of the White team led all players with 13 tackles, including a sack and two TFLs. His teammate Reid Karel also hit double-digit tackles with 11. The Red team was led in tackles by Mohamed Barry, who had eight, while Alex Davis had three sacks and an interception.
After the White defense held on the opening drive of the game, Bunch led the White offense on a 63-yard scoring drive. Bunch capped the drive with a 24-yard touchdown pass to redshirt freshman Kurt Rafdal, who was able to get one foot down in the endzone for the game’s opening score. Bunch was a perfect 4-for-4 on the drive for 47 yards and Devine Ozigbo rushed five times for 17 yards.
The Red squad respond with a scoring drive of its own, including two big plays from sophomore wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey and Martinez. On the second play of the drive Martinez connected with Lindsey for a 28-yard reception and seven plays later Martinez rushed 15 yards for a game-tying touchdown.
Ozigbo and Jalen Bradley handled the workload on the next drive for the White, with rushes on seven of the team’s 12 plays. Ozibgo rushed for 10 yards and Bradley added 20 yards on five carries, and the drive ended with 30-yard field goal from Cole Frahm, giving the White a 9-7 lead.
The Reds quickly took the lead back with a touchdown drive, as Martinez connected with redshirt freshman receiver Jaevon McQuitty on a 25-yard touchdown pass. Wilbon rushed three times for 21 yards on the drive and Bell added a 17-yard carry.
The White team then committed two turnovers in the final five minutes of the first half, resulting in two more Red touchdowns.
Lamar Jackson recorded the first turnover of the game with an interception. Starting on the White 41-yard line, Gebbia needed five plays to get the Red in the endzone again and push the Red lead to 21-9. Bell rushed three times for 19 yards and Gebbia capped the drive with a three-yard touchdown pass to junior-college transfer Mike Williams.
Martinez and the Red team was able to put one more score on the board before halftime thanks to another turnover. Davis produced an interception in the flats and returned the pick 22 yards to the nine-yard line. Martinez hit Lindsey for three yards and then coasted into the endzone on a six-yard run, putting the Red on top 28-9. With a running clock in the second half, the Red squad added three more touchdowns.
The Red team delivered both the longest rush and pass of the day in the second half. Mazour produced the longest rush of the game late in the third quarter when he broke free for a 43-yard touchdown run, and following the PAT the Reds extended their lead to 35-9. The Red team added another score early in the fourth quarter on a 23-yard run from Martinez and on the Reds’ following drive Gebbia connected with redshirt freshman receiver Kade Warner for a 57-yard touchdown pass, the longest play of the game.
The Huskers open the 2018 season on Saturday, Sept. 1, when they host Akron at Memorial Stadium. Nebraska’s will play its first three games of the season at home before opening Big Ten Conference play at Michigan on Saturday, Sept. 22.