Welcome to the Nebraska Spring Game Blog! This is a preview of a new feature that will be coming to Huskers.com in 2009, not only on game days, but throughout fall camp and game weeks.
We’ll try to give you a little insight into some items you may not be aware of regarding today’s Red-White game and other events surrounding the football program.
3:20 p.m.--Several Huskers showed off their wheels. Collins Okafor busted through the line for a 33-yard touchdown run for the Reds, while Kyler Reed caught a short slant from Washington and was off to the races for a 71-yard strike. 31-17 Reds.
3:05 p.m.--Alex Henery put the Reds ahead 24-10 with a 40-yard field goal. The crowd has started to thin a little bit, but still more than half full with 12:00 to play. Lot of young players starting to see significant action.
2:55 p.m.--End of the Third Quarter. Reds hold the 21-10 lead and are threatening to add to the lead with Cody Green at quarterback. Green has switched to the Red Team, likely meaning Zac Lee's day is done. He completed 15-of-18 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns.
2:42 p.m.--Yet another Spring Game tradition returns to Memorial Stadium--The Wave!
2:35 p.m.--That didn't take long. Lee continues to heat up, connecting with Wes Cammack on a 40-yard touchdown pass. 21-10 Reds.
2:32 p.m.--We are underway in the second half. The White Team starts three and out. Zac Lee leads the Reds back out to start the second half and starts with a strike to Menelik Holt.
2:08 p.m.--HALFTIME. The Red team converts a fumble into a touchdown with 57 seconds left before half to take a 14-10 lead. Lee throws a 24-yard strike to Ben Cotton for the score. Lee completes the first half at 12-of-15 for 155 yards and two touchdowns. Washington has connected on 9-of-13 passes.
Attendance for today's game is 77,670 on what has turned out to be a beautiful, sunny spring day at Memorial Stadium. The annual Drug Free Pledge will take place at halftime with several thousand youngsters taking to the field with their parents. Assistant Coach Ron Brown will lead the adult pledge and Joe Ganz will lead the youth in their pledge.
1:59 p.m.--Zac Lee to Marcus Mendoza for 21 yards and a touchdown caps a seven-play touchdown drive by the Red team to cut the lead to 10-7. Lee is in a good rhythm today....11-of-13 passing for 131 yards and a touchdown. Several young Husker receivers and tight ends have caught the eye of the observers in the press box...Mendoza, Bell, Ben Cotton to name a few.
1:49 p.m.--Washington to Brooks continues to be the key combo on the day. Brooks makes nice grab of a Washington missle in the corner of the end zone to put the White Team ahead 10-0. Washington is 9-of-13 for 112 yards passing at this point and Brooks has four catches for 41 yards.
1:47 p.m.--Big-time throw and catch from Latravis to freshman Antonio Bell, covering 27 yards. Bell has two catches for 37 yards.
1:40 p.m.--Apparently not enough pressure for Alex Henery. He misses wide right on a 50-yard field goal attempt that would have tied the game. He did have plenty of distance on the kick. Quentin Castille showed his Gator Bowl rushing form on the drive.
1:27 p.m.--Biggest cheer of the day so far for Coach Bill Straub's national championship bowling team. They were honored on the field at the first quarter break.
Press box visit from men's hoops coach Doc Sadler and Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch.
A few first-quarter stats. The Whites have an 84-4 yard advantage in total offense, including 50 yards passing by Latravis Washington and 17 rushing yards each by Austin Jones and Lester Ward. Chris Brooks had three catches for 37 yards in the first quarter.
Cody Green got a loud ovation when he made his first appearance with the White squad.
1:19 p.m.--The crowd is still filing in. Pretty packed other than the top 15-20 rows in the North and South stadiums.
The White team post the first points with an impressive 16-play drive down the field, led by Latravis Washington. A couple nice catches by Chris Brooks and some strong running by Austin Jones to set up a 25-yard field goal by Adi Kunalic.
Other early items of note...first big hit of the day by redshirt freshman linebacker Micah Kreikemeier and an impressive 55-yard punt by All-America place-kicker candidate Alex Henery.
12:52 p.m.—The Brook Berringer Citizenship Team was honored a few minutes ago. Twelve Huskers from last year's team were recognized for their commitment to Nebraska's community outreach activities. A tip of the hat to Jake Wesch who is the first student-athlete to be named to the group five times in the 12-year history of the squad.
We're a few minutes from kickoff. A large group of former players are starting to form a tunnel to welcome the current team onto the field.
12:22 p.m.—Nice gesture at this point. Senior defensive back Matt O’Hanlon was just honored on the field as the recipient of the third annual Cletus Fischer Endowed Scholarship, presented annually to a
As soon as the PA announcer was done introducing O'Hanlon, defensive backs coach Marvin Sanders and all of the defensive backs as a group came over and congratulated O'Hanlon. Good family moment.
11:53 a.m.—The gates have opened and fans are starting to file into the stadium. The overnight and morning rain does not appear to have dampened the spirits of Husker fans in or outside the stadium. The forecast through mid-afternoon looks promising. Hopefully any more rain will hold off until after the game. About 7,000 tickets remained for sale on game-day and word from the ticket office was that the walk-up crowd was steady earlier this morning.
We’ll have an attendance count probably in the second quarter. Last year’s crowd of 80,149 was a spring game record—the record could fall today. This is the sixth straight year of at least 54,000 fans at the Red-White Game.
11:10 a.m.—The spring game has become quite an event over the past several years. In addition to huge crowds flocking to Memorial Stadium for Red-White contest, this weekend has also become a reunion or homecoming of sorts for former Husker players from all eras.
About 200 former players participated in the annual Letterman's Club Golf Outing at HiMark Golf Course on Friday. Several members of the current coaching staff divided their day between preparations for today's, recruiting activities, as well as some time socializing with former players and getting in a few holes on the golf course. The weather was a huge improvement over the past couple years and the staff at HiMark did a great job with the golf event.
Friday evening at a private event at the Hawks Championship Center, nearly 100 letterwinners welcomed 16 first-time letterwinners into the N Club and presented them with their letter jackets. The first-time letterwinners who received their letter jacket on Friday night included Justin Baumgartner, Chris Brooks, Mike Caputo, Jared Crick, Beau Davis, Alfonzo Dennard, Curenski Gilleylen, Mike Hays, Ryan Hill, Matt Holt, Marcel Jones, Colton Koehler, Mathew May, Terrence Moore, Lance Thorell and Mason Wald.
This morning more than 300 former letterwinners are taking part in a tailgate just outside Memorial Stadium.