Jack Hoffman sprints down the sideline on his 69-yard scoring run.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Reds Rally for Spring Game Win

By NU Athletic Communications

Lincoln - Taylor Martinez and Tommy Armstrong Jr. joined forces to complete 13-of-17 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns to rally the Reds to 32-25 victory in Nebraska's annual spring game on Saturday.

Playing in front of 60,174 Big Red fans at Memorial Stadium and a Big Ten Network national television audience, Martinez completed 8-of-10 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown in the first half.

Martinez led the Reds to a field goal and a touchdown on his two first-half drives, but the Reds still trailed 25-19 at halftime because of the precision passing of White team starting quarterback Ron Kellogg III.

Kellogg completed 11-of-12 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown in the game, powering the Whites to a 14-3 lead. The White's lead grew to 17-4 by the end of the first quarter by winning a special "Find a Way to Win" challenge competition against the Reds, 3-1.

Martinez and the Reds pulled within 17-11 early in the second quarter, but Kellogg connected with David Sutton on a 17-yard strike to cap another scoring drive and put the Whites up 24-11. The Whites maintained a 13-point lead at 25-12 after each team secured one point in a Punt Catching competition between offensive linement from each team.

Armstrong entered the game with 7:30 left in the second quarter and marched the Reds on an eight-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by a 12-yard touchdown run by Imani Cross.

The Reds cut the advantage to 25-19 at the half, before completing the rally with a touchdown and a field goal in the third quarter.

The defenses asserted themselves in a scoreless third quarter, before Armstong hit Alonzo Moore on a 37-yard scoring strike on 3rd-and-7 on the opening play of the fourth quarter to give the Reds their first lead at 26-25.

The Reds put the icing on the cake of their Spring Game win with a special moment midway through the fourth quarter. Jack Hoffman, a seven-year-old from Atkinson, Neb., battling a rare form of brain cancer, sprinted 69 yards to the game's final score with the starting Red offensive unit paving the way. Hoffman galloped to paydirt on 4th-and-1 and both sidelines raced to the end zone to celebrate with Hoffman and the Huskers in the end zone. No extra point was attempted, making the final 32-25.

Hoffman finished as the game's leading rusher with 69 yards. Starting Red team running back Imani Cross carried seven times for 55 yards and a score on the afternoon, while King Frazier led the White team with 12 carries for 64 yards and a score. Graham Nabity added 33 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries for the White team.

Armstrong completed 5-of-7 passes for 102 yards, including the winning score to Moore. Armstrong added 10 carries for 26 yards rushing on the day.

Moore led the Red receivers with two receptions for 59 yards, while C.J. Zimmerer added a 45-yard touchdown catch from Martinez in the second quarter. Brandon Reilly also helped the Reds with two receptions for 44 yards, while tight end Sam Cotton had three receptions for 19 yards.

Jordan Westerkamp led the White receivers with four receptions for 21 yards, while tight end Jake Long hauled in three catches for a game-high 72 yards. Kenny Bell and Richard Wynne Jr. each added a pair of receptions for the White team. 

Trevor Roach led the Red team on defense with 10 tackles, including five solo stops and a pass breakup. Thomas Brown added seven tackles, including two tackles for nine yards lost with one eight-yard sack. Harvey Jackson and Michael Rose also pitched in seven tackles while Donovan Vestal contributed an eight-yard sack.

Colby Starkebaum led the White team with eight tackles, including a game-high two sacks. Corey Cooper pitched in six tackles.


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