Joe Ganz threw for 131 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Red squad to a 24-14 win over the White team in Nebraska's spring football game Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
Ganz hit Curenski Gilleylen with a 77-yarder and Marcus Mendoza with a 24-yarder before a crowd of 80,149, a Husker record for a spring game and the second largest in college football history behind the 92,138 that showed up in Alabama last spring.
"That was a ball we always throw in practice and it's always for a touchdown," Gilleylen said. "We knew it was coming and when we have that route on (Joe) usually throws the ball to me, so I just have to go up and make a play."
Marlon Lucky, who had 37 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries for the Reds, looks to have dependable backups at I-back. Roy Helu capped a solid spring with a scrimmage-high 69 yards and a touchdown for the Whites.
Quentin Castille provided one of the day's highlights by bowling over safety Rickey Thenarse on his way to a 9-yard gain, finishing with 47 yards splitting time for both squads. Castille also caught two passes for 55 yards.
Mendoza, the last of the I-backs, ran for 33 yards and caught the 24-yard TD pass.
On the defensive side, Reds cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Armando Murillo made eight tackles apiece, with Amukamara forcing a fumble and Murillo intercepting a pass. Reds linebacker Tyler Wortman forced and recovered a fumble on the scrimmage's first play and one of his six tackles went for a 13-yard loss.
Linebacker Colton Koehler led the Whites with six tackles. Cody Glenn, who moved from I-back to linebacker the first week of spring ball, made three tackles.
"I thought it was a pretty special atmosphere," said head coach Bo Pelini. "I want to thank the fans and everybody who came out today."
"We're not where we want to be, but we're headed in the right direction," added Pelini. "We've set ourselves up to the point where the guys are starting to gain confidence. The discipline, focus and effort are there. If we continue down this road, we'll be just fine come fall."
For all the pagaentry surrounding the event, the action on the field was controlled. The quarterbacks wore green jerseys, making them off-limits for contact. Pelini coached on the field rather than on the sideline, stationing himself 15 yards behind the offensive line all afternoon. Two and sometimes three of his assistants joined him on the field.
Nebraska opens the regular season at home on August 30th against Western Michigan.
White 0 7 0 7--14
Red 14 10 0 0--24
Red--Lucky 1 run (Henery kick), 13:20
Red--Gilleylen 77 pass from Ganz (Henery kick), 9:06
Red--Mendoza 24 pass from Ganz (Henery kick), 11:54
White--Helu 3 run (Kunalic kick), 6:51
Red--FG Henery, 2:02
White--A. Jones 1-0 pass from Lee (Kunalic kick), 11:18
White / Red
First downs 15 / 12
Rushes-yards 34-103 / 32-68
Passing 156 / 243
Comp-Att-Int 14-26-1 / 11-23-0
Return Yards 0 / 0
Punts-Avg. 5-48 / 5-46
Fumbles-Lost 4-2 / 2-1
Penalties-Yards 1-5 / 3-20
Time of Possession 30:22 / 29:38
Whites: Helu 16-69, Castille 5-39, Lee 6-15, Ebke 1-10, Jones 3-3, Brooks 1-minus 12, Witt 2-minus 21
Reds: Lucky 13-37, Mendoza 7-33, Castille 4-8, Davis 2-1, Lawson 1-0, Spano 1-minus 3, Ganz 4-minus 8
Whites: Witt 6-12-1 61, Lee 6-11-0 87, Ebke 2-3-0 8
Reds: Ganz 4-9-0 131, Spano 4-6-0 47, Davis 1-5-48, Witt 2-3-0
Whites: Peterson 3-23, Castille 2-55, Helu 2-25, Jones 2-21, Brooks 2-21, Hill 1-8, Paul 1-3, Lester 1-0
Reds: Holt 3-31, Gilleylen 2-89, Mendoza 2-39, Swift 2-25, Donahue 1-48, Martin 1-11