In a Spring Game format that pitted the offense against the defense with a modified scoring system, it was the defense (White) that edged the offense (Red), 43-39 in front of 54,357 fans on a sunny Saturday afternoon inside Memorial Stadium.
The White team led for the majority of the game before the Red team took a 39-35 lead in the fourth quarter on a 42-yard touchdown pass from Jarrett Synek to Ty Hahn with 2:17 remaining. But under the modified scoring system, the White rallied to win by scoring the game’s last eight points. Darius Moore clinched the victory for the White squad with an interception with 57 seconds to play. The defense then padded its lead by recording a fourth-down stop on the offense’s ensuing possession, earning two points for stopping the offense on fourth down.
The Red team received normal points for touchdowns, extra points and field goals, with an additional opportunity to earn one point for each successful fourth-down conversion. The White team received six points for each interception, six points for each fumble recovery, two points for each three-and-out, two points for each sack, two points for each fourth-down stop and one point for each time it stopped the offense before it reached the 50-yard line. There was no live tackling in the first half, but the second half featured live tackling.
The Red team recorded 32 first downs in the game and totaled 677 yards in the four 12-minute quarters. The offense completed 24-of-49 passes for 302 yards and two touchdowns with one interception, while rushing 70 times for 375 yards and three touchdowns.
The Red team utilized six quarterbacks in the game. Casey Thompson started the game at quarterback and finished 3-of-4 for 31 yards through the air. Heinrich Haarberg completed 4-of-7 passes and threw for a team-high 78 yards with one touchdown. Chubba Purdy was 5-of-10 through the air for 63 yards, Logan Smothers was 5-of-14 for 46 yards, Matt Masker was 4-of-9 for 29 yards and Synek was 3-of-5 for 55 yards and one score.
On the ground, 17 Huskers got at least one carry. Trevin Luben led the way with eight carries for a game-high 91 yards, averaging 11.4 yards per carry. Anthony Grant rushed six times for 69 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown run. Matthew Schuster and Synek each had 24 yards and both scored a rushing touchdown.
For the defense, Grant Tagge led the White team with eight tackles. Ernest Hausmann and Mikai Gbayor recorded seven tackles apiece, with Hausmann added 1.0 tackle for loss and one quarterback hurry. Jimari Butler finished with six tackles, 1.0 sack, 1.0 TFL and one hurry. Eteva Mauga-Clements was one of three Huskers with five tackles, and he had 1.0 tackle for loss and one pass breakup. Garrett Nelson finished with 2.0 sacks and Moore had the game’s lone interception.
The White team led 14-7 after the first quarter, accumulating four points on two sacks, four points on a pair of three-and-outs, four points when it stopped the Red team before it reached the 50-yard line and two points for one fourth-down stop. The Red team’s lone score in the opening period was Grant’s 60-yard touchdown run.
In the second quarter, the defense accumulated 15 points on two sacks, two fourth-down stops, three three-and-outs and one drive stopping the offense inside the 50-yard line. The lone score for the Red team in the second quarter was a 26-yard field goal from Chase Contreraz.
The third quarter was 7-0 in favor of the offense. Kamonte Grimes caught a 34-yard touchdown pass from Haarberg. The extra point was missed but the Red team got the point back with a fourth-down conversion earlier in the drive.
The final quarter featured 36 points, with the Red team outscoring the White 22-14, but ultimately coming up short on the final score. Synek opened the scoring with a 16-yard touchdown run 44 seconds into the final period, and Gabe Heins added the extra point. The White team earned six points on the Red’s next possession as Ryan Schommer recovered a fumble. On the following drive, Matthew Schuster had a one-yard touchdown run with 5:44 remaining that pulled the Red within three following an extra point from Brendan Franke. Synek’s 42-yard pass to Hahn gave the Red its only lead of the game at 39-35 before the defense scored eight points in the final minute of the game.