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The heavily-favored Red team jumped to a 10-0 first-quarter lead, then watched the Whites rally to close within 10-9 midway in the third period, only to stage a two-touchdown rally of its own to pull away with a fumble-plagued 24-9 win in the Spring Game.
Playing before 23,116 sundrenched fans at Memorial Stadium, the Reds, made up of most of the Huskers' first two offensive and defensive units, moved 64 yards to the White four on their first possession, then took a 3-0 lead on a 21-yard field goal by Kevin Seibel.
Junior quarterback Nate Mason, who led all rushers in the game with 77 yards on 13 carries before leaving the contest with bruised ribs in the third quarter, rushed for 34 of the Reds' yards in the drive.
Only 14 seconds after the field goal, the Reds got another chance when defensive end Wade Praeuner recovered the first of seven White fumbles (five of which were lost) at the White 11. On the second play, Roger Craig scored from the two for a 10-0 lead.
Early in the second quarter, the Whites took advantage of one of five Red turnovers when defensive end Dave Ridder intercepted a Todd Zart pass and returned it 17 yards to the Red 28. Aided by two Reds penalties, the Whites pulled within 10-6 on Troy Talarico's one-yard sneak.
The Whites then pulled within 10-9 when they took the second-half kickoff and drove from their own 20 to the Red 11 as sophomore quarterback Craig Sundberg rushed three times for 17 yards and completed 3-of-5 passes for 37 more yards. Mark Hagerman capped the drive with a 28-yard field goal.
Mason moved the Reds from their own 20 to their 43 in five plays before hurting his ribs, at which point, Sundberg changed jerseys and guided his new teammates the final 57 yards. Sundberg ran twice for seven yards and completed all three of his passes in the drive for 46 more, including a 14-yard scoring strike to split end Todd Brown with 2:31 left in the quarter.
SEASON STATS | NU ROSTER
White 0 6 3 0 — 9
Red 10 0 7 7 — 24
RED — KG Kevin Seibel 21
RED — Roger Craig 2 run (Seibel kick)
WHI — Troy Talarico 1 run (kick failed)
WHI — FG Mark Hagerman 28
RED — Todd Brown 14 pass from Craig Sundberg
RED — Dave Dietz 8 pass from Todd Zart
(Grant Campbell kick)
First downs.......... 13 20
Rushes-yards......... 43-125 61-255
Passing yards........ 108 97
Return yards......... 17 44
Passes............... 20-9-2 14-9-1
Punts................ 4-36.0 2-29.0
Fumbles-lost......... 7-5 9-4
Penalties-yards...... 6-54 7-44
White, Jeff Smith 7-22, Shane Swanson 2-17, Tom Rathman 4-17, Will Curtis 2-14, Craig Sundberg 6-14,
Red, Nate Mason 13-77, Tim Brun-gardt 7-45, Roger Craig 8-35, Mike Rozier 9-30, Robert Kingston 4-18.
White, Sundberg 17-8-1-89-0, Troy Talarico 3-1-1-19-0.
Red, Sundberg 5-4-0-52-1, Todd Zart 7-4-1-28-1, Mason 2-1-0-17-0.
White, Scott Kimball 2-36, Swanson 2-24, Smith 2-11.
Red, Todd Brown 3-51, Doug Dietz 3-24.