LINCOLN — Nebraska held its annual spring scrimmage Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Every year the Huskers end the spring practice schedule with a scrimmage that is open to the public, and 57,415 showed up to watch the Red down the White 35-7.
The capacity for the spring game was about 60,000 because of the ongoing construction in the north end zone, so there weren't very many empty seats available.
"As a staff and as a team we would like to thank our great fans," Nebraska coach Bill Callahan said. "There's nowhere in major college football where you can manufacture a home sellout for spring football. It just speaks volumes for our program, for our fans, for our passion and for the state of Nebraska.
"It was an outstanding atmosphere for our players to play in this year. I've always considered this in the last three years our eighth home game. Today that provided the climate and environment in terms of executing under pressure."
The Huskers were focused on improving their running game this spring. Sophomores Marlon Lucky and Cody Glenn handled most of those duties for the Red team Saturday that featured the No.1 units on both offense and defense.
Glenn gained 98 yards on 16 carries while Lucky had 84 yards on 15 tries. Sophomore Leon Jackson moved from the White to the Red late in the game and had 48 yards on nine carries.
"We have young backs who needed this type of atmosphere, this type of pressure to compete in," Callahan said. "I was glad they all stepped up and did well."
Callahan also wanted to get quarterback Zac Taylor an opportunity to work on the passing game. Taylor completed 14 of 21 passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns.
"I thought the game was good for our team," Callahan said. "We wanted to get in somewhere in the area of 80 snaps so we achieved that goal. We came out healthy. I thought we had good competition. It was competitive for our players. I thought we got a lot of good things done. We still have a long ways to go, but overall I'm pleased with the progress of our team."
The White forced the Red to go three-and-out on its first possession. After that, the Red team took control.
Lucky scored on a 4-yard run to get the Red on the board. Grand Island Central Catholic graduate Todd Peterson then caught a 23-yard TD pass from Taylor to extend the lead to 14-0.
Taylor added a 3-yard touchdown pass to fullback Dane Todd and a 7-yard TD toss to Josh Mueller in the second quarter to take a 28-0 lead at the half.
NU linebacker Corey McKeon said it was no surprise to see the White team win handily.
"The way things are set up with the first team playing the second team it's going to be a little bit lopsided," McKeon said. "But you can't underestimate those guys. Leon Jackson is fighting for that starting spot. Put him in at running back and he's a dangerous player.
"You have offensive linemen who have had playing time on the first squad playing for the No. 2 O-line and those guys are coming up and blocking you and they're tough guys."
Lucky added a 6-yard TD run in the third before the White got on the board on a 100-yard kickoff return by Titus Brothers.
Callahan said he saw some good signs from the special teams this spring.
"That's something that we worked on the entire spring," Callahan said. "That was an area we had to improve and that's an area I thought we did improve. We spent a lot of time on it throughout the spring.
"So I see our special teams are starting to get better. We worked a lot on punt protection. We worked a lot on our punt returns although you didn't see those aspects today. I still think that's the one area of play that really sets you apart in terms of winning and losing. Special teams can win you a lot of games."
Callahan said the Huskers wanted to improve the competitive level of the team, concentrate on fundamentals and just develop a deeper foundation for the program this spring.
He said the Huskers performed well during some extremely physical spring drills.
"This is the most contact and scrimmaging that we've done here at Nebraska since I've been here," Callahan said. "It's been a very physical spring for our players. It's been very taxing from a physical aspect so I commend our players for stretching themselves and going through the daily grind you have to go through when you have practices this physical."