INSPIRED WHITES DEFEAT FAVORED REDS 14-13;
SUKUP BOOTS WINNING FIELD GOAL
Lincoln, Neb. (April 29, 1978) — Junior kicker Dean Sukup's 30-yard field goal with 19 seconds remaining gave the underdog Whites a 14-13 win over the Reds in the 29th annual Nebraska Spring game, played before 16,500 in the Huskers' Memorial Stadium.
Defense was the key that provided the Husker fans with excitement as both teams blocked a punt, the Whites intercepted one pass and recovered two fumbles and the Reds intercepted two passes and also recovered two fumbles.
The Reds, made up primarily of the first and fourth units, were favored in the contest against the Whites, the second and third squads, and led 13-11 before Sukup's emotional boot.
The opening quarter was scoreless as the only threat occurred with 10:42 in the first period and the Whites with the ball on its own 21 yard line. Behind sophomore quarterback Jeff Quinn and junior running back Tim Wurth, the Whites marched 69 yards in nine plays to the Reds 10. But with a third and two situation at the 10, Wurth fumbled, and the ball was recovered by Red defensive end George Andrews, stopping the White drive.
But with 14:06 left in the second quarter, White sophomore defensive end Dan Lindstrom recovered a Red fumble at the Red 26-yard line which set up the White's first score.
With Quinn at the controls, the Whites moved to the Red nine-yard line, and on fourth down, Sukup kicked a 26 yard field goal with 12:53 left in the half to give the Whites a 3-0 lead.
Another defensive gem, this time by the Reds, set up the Reds first tally. With 6:04 left in the half, White sophomore I-Back Craig Johnson fumbled on the White 46 yard line and it was recovered by the Reds.
With freshman quarterback Bruce Mathison leading the way, the Reds marched to the White 23-yard line in seven plays, where senior kicker Billy Todd booted a 40-yard field goal with 3:46 left in the half to knot the score at 3-3.
Red linebacker Bruce Dunning started the third quarter by intercepting a White pass at the 50 yard line and returning it to the White 25 with 13:39 left in the quarter. Four plays later at the White 24, Todd kicked his second field goal, this one a 41-yarder, with 12:23 left in the third to give the Reds a 6-3 lead.
Red defensive end Andrews, an All American candidate for 1978, set up the Reds' last score by blocking a White punt with 10:34 left in the third. The ball was recovered by Red sophomore defensive end Lawrence Cole at the White 27.
From there, Nebraska running backs, junior I.M. Hipp and senior Rick Berns took over, Hipp carrying twice for five yards and Berns once for 20 yards, moving the ball to the White two yard line. With 9:11 left in the quarter, Red quarterback Quinn dove over the top for the score, and with the extra point, the Reds led 13-3.
Defense was again the key, this time for the Whites, as the third quarter came to a close. With 17 seconds left in the period, Todd's punt was blocked by the Whites and picked up by defensive end Derrie Nelson who ran 33 yards for the score. Wurth then ran for the two points and the Whites trailed 13-11.
With 12:25 to go in the game, Red sophomore linebacker Kim Baker intercepted a White pass and returned it to the White 31 yard line. But five plays later, at the White 15, sophomore cornerback Sammy Sims blocked Todd's field goal attempt and the ball was recovered by White defensive end Scott Sherry at the White 35, stopping the Reds threat with 10:09 left.
Following the blocked punt, the Whites, with Wurth carrying the ball nine times for 30 yards, drove from its own 35 to the Red five-yard line in 14 plays, but on a fourth and one situation from the Red 5, Wurth was stopped for no gain by the Reds defensive line and the White scoring scare was stopped with 4:14 to go.
From the five yard line, the Reds could only maneuver to the 21 and Todd punted to the White 23 yard line with 1:12 left in the game. It was from here that the Whites started their winning drive.
From the 23, the Whites drove 64 yards in five plays, highlighted by sophomore quarterback Brad Humphrey passes of 18 and 20 yards, to the Red 30 yard line. From there, with 19 seconds left, Sukup kicked his winning 30-yard field goal and was mobbed by his teammates before he could reach the sidelines.
SOURCE: 1978 NU MEDIA GUIDE