QUINN PACES REDS TO 38-19 WIN OVER WHITES
Lincoln, Neb. (May 3, 1980)—Tom Osborne is not one to use very many superlatives when he talks about his football team. The Cornhusker coach called Saturday's annual Red-White intrasquad game to wind up spring practice "a pretty good scrimmage." Utah running back coach Shawn McNabb, however, thought it was "an awesome display of power." The Utes come to Lincoln in September as Nebraska's first opponent for the 1980 season.
"We understood they had lost most of their offensive linemen through graduation," McNabb said. "But they obviously have enough good ones left over to continue the kind of offensive dominance they've shown for years.
"And that impressive offense didn't happen because of a poor defense," McNabb assured. "Nebraska just has hordes of quality athletes. Why, they played twice as many kids as we have out for spring ball."
McNabb also was amazed at the number of fans in the stands—estimated at 20,000. "That's a fantastic tribute to the people of this area and the football program."
Osborne prefers to more of a 'wait and see' attitude, despite the 57 points which kept the scoreboard flashing in a 38-19 victory for the Red squad (first and fourth units) over the Whites (second and third string players).
"It's hard to really evaluate things when you play yourself," Osborne insisted. "We'll have to wait until we play somebody next fall. Sometimes, when you move the ball real well and score a lot of points, you wonder whether it was because the offense did a good job or the defense did poorly. But I think we're going to have a pretty good team."
Translated to McNabb's terms, that means the Huskers will be awesome.
"We seem to have a bigger dropoff than usual from the first unit to the reserves," Osborne noted. "We have to hope that's because the first string is better than usual."
Osborne said he was especially pleased with the play of the quarterbacks. "Jeff (Quinn) had a good day. And Nate (Mason), despite lacking in experience, does a lot of good things instinctively. He's as far along as any freshman we've ever had. And (Mark) Mauer looked good. So did (Bruce) Mathison, until he got hurt. I think we're going to be in good shape at quarterback."
Osborne was also pleased with the running of I-backs Jarvis Redwine, Craig Johnson and Roger Craig. "Andre (fullback Franklin) blocked well, too. We hope to get the ball to him more next fall."
In all, 27 different players carried the ball. In addition, five quarterbacks (Mauer saw action for both teams) completed 19 of 37 passes to 13 receivers.
The kicking game, a question mark after the graduation of punter Tim Smith and kicker Dean Sukup, also received a top grade. Scott Gemar nailed three punts for a 44-yard average, while Kevin Seibel (who handled the kickoffs last season as a freshman) not only consistently kicked into the end zone but booted a 47-yard field goal squarely between the uprights.
Mason moved the Whites to a pair of first downs after the opening kickoff before the drive stalled. Then Quinn marched the first team 87 yards in 11 plays for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Johnson carried the first three plays and the final two—the last a two-yard smash for the TD. In between came an 18-yard keeper by Quinn, back-to-back pass completions to tight end Jeff Finn (for 12 yards) and a 31-yarder to split end Todd Brown, the longest of the day.
Quinn, who was 5-for-5 in the first half for 71 yards, finished with 7-of-9 for 105 yards and one touchdown. Mason edged in the total yards department, accounting for 106 yards on eight completions in 13 tries. Mason also led the rushers, netting 91 on 18 carries, despite losing 27-yards in sacks.
With Quinn at the controls and Redwine at I-back, the Reds scored on their second possession, going 62 yards in just eight plays. Marvelous Jarvis carried on five of the plays for 44 yards. Wingback "Slick" Steels caught an 11-yard pass before Quinn found tight end Steve Davies on a four-yard touchdown toss to complete the drive.
The count ran to 21-0 midway through the second quarter. It was a 74-yard drive in 12 plays. Quinn got the Reds to the White 21, then Mauer took over for the final four plays. Johnson carried the first three. Then Mauer cut up the middle on a keeper for the final seven and the touchdown.
Mathison quarterbacked the Whites to their first score with 6:06 remaining before halftime. The 64-yard drive started with a nine-yard gainer by offensive guard Bruce Lingenfelter, who, like in the Oklahoma game, picked up an intentional fumble and rambled nine yards.
Craig, who was the second leading rusher with 79 yards on 14 carries, went the final four for the touchdown.
Mauer upped the count to 28-7 with a 37-yard touchdown run on a bootleg keeper, but the Whites closed the gap to 28-13 just before halftime on a two-yard plunge by fullback Craig Holman. Mason runs of 25 and 12 yards highlighted the 81-yard drive in 10 plays.
At the outset of the second half, Mathison (for the Whites) threw a pass that was intercepted by cornerback Rodney Lewis. While involved in the pursuit, Mathison was leveled on a blindside block by Derrie Nelson, who had an outstanding defensive game.
"Fortunately there weren't too many injuries," Osborne said, "although Mathison got a hip pointer and a possible mild concussion from that block and Dan Fischer (defensive back for the Whites) dislocated an elbow."
Four plays after the interception, the Reds added three points on Seibel's long field goal—after the drive was stalled by a holding penalty—to make the score 31-13.
Just before the end of the third quarter, with Quinn making his final appearance of the afternoon, the Reds went 65 yards in just nine plays for their final TD. Quinn started things with a 16-yard pass to Brown and finished the drive by keeping the ball on three straight runs for gains of 21, 12 and the last four for the touchdown.
Holman produced the final score with his second touchdown for the Whites, a one-yard plunge to climax a short 29-yard drive after Tony Felici blocked a Seibel punt. Mason got the ball in position for the TD by hitting tight end Dan Hill with a 12-yard aerial. There may have been lots of scoring, but defensive coordinator Lance Van Zandt wasn't displeased.
"We were missing four potential defensive starters (tackle David Clark, cornerback Andy Means, monster Sammy Sims and linebacker Brent Williams), played very basic defense without doing any blitzing, yet did a lot of good hitting," Van Zandt observed. "I thought the No. 1 defensive unit played very well."
It was a show that will provide Big Red fans with plenty of coffee klatch conversation until next fall. They left Memorial Stadium itching to see whether the Huskers will fit Osborne's "pretty good" description or McNabb's "awesome" label. The answer will come in just four months.
SOURCE: 1980 NU MEDIA GUIDE