Lincoln - Quarterbacks Sam Keller and Joe Ganz put on spectacular passing displays as the Red team flew to a 38-0 victory over the White squad in Nebraska's annual spring game on Saturday afternoon.
Playing in front of 54,288 fans on a perfect day for football at Memorial Stadium, Keller completed 9-of-11 passes for 185 yards and one touchdown in the first half, while Ganz completed 9-of-15 attempts for 135 yards and a score to power the Reds to a 38-0 halftime lead. Ganz also added a rushing touchdown during the first half.
The White team defense stiffened in the second half to hold the Reds scoreless with the help of a running game clock. For the game, the Red offense racked up 511 total yards, including 350 through the air, and scored on all six of its red zone opportunities. The Red defense also had a strong day, limiting the White team to only nine yards total offense and -33 yards on the ground.
Keller led both teams with an efficient day behind center featuring 193 yards passing while completing 10-of-13 attempts. Ganz hit 11-of-18 passes for 157 yards. Wide receiver Todd Peterson was the leading beneficiary of the Reds' precision passing, hauling in four catches for 105 yards in the first half alone. Fellow wideouts Maurice Purifty (four receptions) and Nate Swift (three receptions) added 75 and 70 yards, respectively, with Swift hauling in a touchdown.
I-back Marlon Lucky paced the Reds' ground effort with 94 yards and a score on only 16 attempts, while Cody Glenn pitched in 44 yards on 11 carries.
The Red team defense hounded White team quarterbacks Beau Davis and Partick Witt throughout the day and totaled six sacks and 14 tackles for loss. Defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh and Clayton Sievers each registered a pair of sacks, while linebacker Steve Octavien paced the squad with six tackles. Safety Ben Eisenhart recorded eight stops to lead the White team, and linebacker Tyler Wortman added six tackles and the game's lone forced fumble.
Keller, a senior-to-be who transferred from Arizona State last season, drew the start on the Reds' first series and completed 5-of-6 passes for 66 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown strike to Terrence Nunn for a quick 7-0 lead.
After the Red defense shut down the Whites on their opening drive, Ganz took the field for the Reds and completed 5-of-6 passes for 61 yards, before sprinting 10 yards for a touchdown on the ground to give the Reds a 14-0 lead.
On the next Red possession, Keller led an 81-yard touchdown march in just four plays, capped by Marlon Lucky's one-yard scoring plunge for a 21-0 first quarter lead.
Following an Andre Jones interception that gave the Reds excellent field position at the White 40, Ganz connected with Nate Swift on a 15-yard touchdown strike to give the Reds a 28-0 lead.
Through the Nebraska Reds' first four drives, Keller and Ganz each completed 5-of-6 passes for nearly 250 yards. The two incompletions included a ball intentionally thrown out of bounds by Keller, and a drop on a pass by Ganz that was on the mark to the receiver.
After a big first quarter by both quarterbacks thrilled the Husker faithful, Keller kept things rolling in the second quarter by driving the Reds on a 90-yard drive in eight plays capped by Glenn's five-yard touchdown run. On the drive, Keller completed all three of his attempts for 72 yards to give the Reds a 35-0 advantage.
For the half, Keller and Ganz combined for 18-of-26 passing for 321 yards and two touchdowns while leading the Reds to their 38-0 lead.
The Spring Game can be seen nationally on a tape-delayed basis at 8 p.m. Saturday on the NFL Network.
RED - Terrence Nunn 14 pass from Sam Keller (Alex Henery kick), 11:04 - Red 7-0
RED - Joe Ganz 10 run (Henery kick), 4:50 - Red 14-0
RED - Marlon Lucky 1 run (Henery kick), 2:21 - Red 21-0
RED - Nate Swift 15 pass from Ganz (Henery kick), 0:22 - Red 28-0
RED - Cody Glenn 5 run (Henery kick), 10:26 - Red 35-0
RED - Henery 36 FG, 3:30 - Red 38-0