Nebraska's attendance record for the Red-White Spring Game fell again as 63,416 fans turned out to watch the White's 42-14 victory Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Near-perfect conditions — the kickoff temperature was 62 degrees with a breeze of 8 mph — combined with a desire to get a sneak-peak at the 2005 edition of the Cornhuskers and junior college transfer Zac Taylor at quarterback, was apparently enough to bring Big Red fans out in droves.
"We would like to thank, as a coaching staff and a team, to thank the 63,000 fans that came out here to Memorial Stadium," Nebraska coach Bill Callahan said. "We're very appreciative of everyone's efforts and support here. I can't even begin to tell you how much that means to our team and really what it means to our recruiting efforts."
Callahan has said repeatedly that the attendance of 61,417 for last year's spring game played a major role in Nebraska's ability to land a recruiting class that ranked in the top five nationally. Around 100 prospects attended Saturday's game, including around 10 that have been offered scholarships by the Huskers, according to Rivals.com.
"That will really catapult us in our recruiting," Callahan said. "It will help us immensely as we move along in the process."
Nebraska backup strong safety Shane Siegel missed Saturday's spring game — and for good reason. Siegel and his wife Jessica became parents of a baby girl, who arrived exactly on her April 16 due date.
Callahan took time out during his postgame press conference to offer his congratulations to Siegel, a senior from Grand Island Senior High.
The three main catalysts for Nebraska's 1983 offensive unit that became known as "The Scoring Explosion" made their return to Memorial Stadium Saturday. Former Cornhusker quarterback Turner Gill, I-back Mike Rozier and wingback Irving Fryar were honored with a video tribute and a large ovation following the first period of the spring game.
All three Cornhusker greats tossed a pair of footballs into the stands before running to the center of the field to stand by large signs, displaying their Nebraska jersey numbers. Earlier in the day, the trio had signed limited-edition reprints of their famed "Scoring Explosion" poster and the tribute ended — appropriately — with a fireworks display.
With the goal of getting no more than 130 offensive snaps in the game, Callahan said he resorted to a little clock management in the second half.
After the use of a running clock in the third period put the Huskers behind the pace for their desired goal, Callahan instructed the officials to use regulation timing rules for the first 7:30 of the fourth period.
There was a brief hush over the stadium with 8:10 left in the second quarter as starting I-back Cory Ross went down and stayed on the field after catching a 10-yard screen pass.
Although the Huskers are extremely thin at the I-back position, Callahan said his fears were eased immediately when saw that Ross merely had the air knocked out of him.
The senior-to-be returned to the game and finished with 67 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns, including a 34-yard scoring run for the White team with 3:29 left in the second quarter.
Plenty of Peterson
After spending his first season at Nebraska as a redshirt freshman on the scout team, wide receiver Todd Peterson said he didn't know how much action he'd see in the spring game.
Somewhat to his surprise, the Grand Island Central Catholic graduate wound up with three receptions for 32 yards for the Red squad. That included a long gain of 13 yards.
"When I saw the depth chart for the game, I hoped that maybe I'd get a few chances," Peterson said. "I was just happy that I did and tried to make the most of the opportunities."