|Nebraska packs 'em in for first spring game under Pelini|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 19 April 2008 13:56|
Nebraska's first spring game under the new coach drew a school-record crowd of 80,149, with some tickets reportedly selling for upward of $100 early in the week.
The Reds beat the Whites 24-14 in a scrimmage where the first- and second-stringers were spread across both squads to make things competitive.
The crowd was the second largest for a spring game in college football history behind the 92,138 that showed up at Alabama last spring. The scrimmage was declared a sellout 10 days before, and some ticket brokers were finding buyers willing to pay 10 times the face value of $10 for a reserved seat.
``I thought it was a pretty special atmosphere,'' Pelini said. ``I want to thank the fans and everybody who came out today.''
Fans lined up outside the stadium gates three hours before kickoff. Minutes before the scrimmage, some folks were giving away their tickets, and early in the second half large sections of the general admission seats in the north end zone had cleared.
But those looking for spectacular performances were out of luck. That was OK with Pelini.
This spring, he said, was about installing his system, changing attitudes and improving work ethic after last year's 5-7 debacle, the Cornhuskers' second losing season in four years under Callahan.
``We're not where we want to be, but we're headed in the right direction,'' said Pelini, LSU's defensive coordinator last season. ``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.''
Pelini and his players characterized the spring as a success.
``The passion's back,'' quarterback Joe Ganz said. ``That's one thing we kind of lost last year, the passion for the game. The guys are passionate about playing football and restoring order and getting this program back on top.''
It may require baby steps. The spring game offered only hints of who the difference-makers will be.
Ganz threw for 131 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Reds. More than half his total came on a 77-yard touchdown pass to Curenski Gilleylen, a redshirt freshman who had drawn good reviews from the coaching staff all spring.
Gilleylen beat cornerback Anthony West on the post pattern and caught Ganz's pass in stride in the middle of the field.
``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 69 yards rushing and a touchdown for the Whites.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Todd Boeckman and his backups at quarterback, Antonio Henton and Joe Bauserman, each completed a long pass that led to a touchdown as the Scarlet beat the Gray 20-7.
The announced attendance was 76,346, but that appeared to be inflated on a gray and rainy day.
``I think a lot of people probably bought their tickets and then left when the rain came,'' running back Maurice Wells said. ``I didn't see 76,000.''
Ohio State officials were trying to set a national record for attendance at both the men's lacrosse game and the spring football game that followed it at Ohio Stadium.
The lacrosse mark of 52,004, set at last year's national semifinals in Baltimore, was never in jeopardy as 29,601 showed up early to also take in the lacrosse match.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Jimmy Clausen was 10-of-27 passing for 183 yards during the 60-minute game with a running clock.
``I just feel great right now,'' said Clausen, who was hampered last season after elbow surgery.
``Jimmy got good zip on the ball,'' Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis said. ``Obviously, he can sling it.''
Robert Hughes ran for 100 yards on 22 carries.
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -The question going into the fall is which quarterback will coach Joe Paterno pick to lead the offense - Daryll Clark or Pat Devlin.
Devlin, who will be a sophomore this fall, was 8-of-13 passing for 62 yards.
Clark was 9-for-16 for 106 yards and two touchdowns, including one score to Derrick Williams.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - New starting quarterback Jonathan Crompton completed 13 of 20 passes for 266 yards and three touchdowns, leading the White to a 38-16 win over the Orange squad.
Defensive back Eric Berry picked off a bumbled pass and returned it 25 yards.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Quarterbacks Cutis Pulley and Mike Hartline matched each other as they compete to replace Andre Woodson.
Pulley's 17-yard touchdown run was the difference in the White team's 23-22 victory.
Pulley completed 12-of-26 passes for 134 yards with a touchdown and an interception and added 82 yards on the ground. Hartline hit 11-of-28 passes for 124 yards with a pick and a score and 38 yards rushing and a touchdown.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said he is not ready to name a starting quarterback after the spring game.
Junior Tommy Beecher led the Black team to a 37-34 win over sophomore Chris Smelley's Garnet team.
Smelley threw five interceptions, going 13-for-30 for 219 yards and three touchdowns, while Beecher threw three picks, going 9-of-20 for 131 yards and one TD.
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - A crowd of 26,322, about twice as large as previous years, watched Chase Daniel go 22-for-28 for 195 yards and two touchdowns.
Coming off a 12-2 season and top-10 finish, Missouri's spring scrimmage was nationally televised by ESPNU.