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Sunday, April 26, 1998

photo: Sports
Independent/Barrett Stinson
Red quarterback Bobby Newcombe runs through an attempted tackle by Quint Hogrefe (49) during the 2nd quarter Saturday.
Waiting game
Solich will decide on QB soon

Last modified at 1:20 a.m. on Sunday, April 26, 1998
By David Wilson
The Independent

LINCOLN -- Taking his first snap of the day, Bobby Newcombe rolled left, and with the help of a Sean Applegate cut block, saw nothing but open field.

Ninety-one yards later, the sophomore quarterback put the White team on the board with the longest touchdown run in a Nebraska Spring Game.

In all, 31 points were scored when Newcombe was under center as the White downed the Red 24-21.

But junior Frankie London, who led the Red on the other two touchdown drives, and redshirt freshman Eric Crouch, also vying for the No. 1 quarterback position, both said they were pleased with their performances.

Now, all they can do is wait.

Nebraska coach Frank Solich said a decision on the starting quarterback position would be made Monday after he reviewed tapes of each spring scrimmage with quarterbacks coach Turner Gill.

"They all seemed to be able to put together drives and make big plays," Solich said. "All-in-all, I think it's going to be a very strong position for us."

Newcombe put together the two longest scoring drives of the final scrimmage of the spring, including an 11-play, 81-yard drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown run by fullback Joel Makovicka.

Seeing time with both the No. 1 and No. 2 offenses, Newcombe had 13 carries for a game-high 175 yards and one touchdown.

"I feel like I make a lot of big plays," Newcombe said. "That's always been my talent. Now that I'm feeling more comfortable with the offense, I can use the system to make big plays."

London, who led the Red team on the fourth longest drive of the game moving 52 yards on 11 plays, finished the game with 68 yards on 17 carries and one touchdown.

Through the air, London completed 3 of 7 passes for 20 yards.

"I think on my part, I bring the entire package," London said. "I can throw and I can think, and that's what you want."

Crouch had 16 carries for 48 yards while completing 3 of 6 passes for 52 yards. But the freshman never led a scoring drive.

He came closest as time expired in the first half tossing a 27-yard pass to wingback Demond Finister to cap a nine-play, 57-yard drive.

"At the beginning of the spring, it took me a little while to get moving with the offense," said Crouch, who began seeing time with the top offensive unit two weeks ago. "I just feel a lot more confident running with those (top) two teams."

Though the passing game was slowed a bit by high winds in the second half, Gill said, he is confident in the throwing ability of each of the quarterbacks.

Newcombe had the longest toss of the day as he connected with wingback Casey Vanderhoef for a 43-yard touchdown near the end of the first quarter.

Though Solich wouldn't comment on which quarterback he felt played the best, he said what he saw from the sidelines Saturday will likely influence his decision.

"You can't ignore what you see in terms of big plays," Solich said.

All three quarterbacks said they would be glad to hear Monday's decision -- no matter what the outcome is -- so they know what they need to work on this summer.

If Newcombe is not named the starter, he will likely move back to wingback, where he saw most of his action last season. London also said he would like to change positions if he is not named the starter.

"I'd like to get on the field and start," London said.

Of course, all three quarterbacks said they would like to start at quarterback first.

"I wouldn't really like to give up quarterback that much," Newcombe said. "But I understand they will make the decision that's best for the team."

Who should be the quarterback? Cast your vote here.

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Game Story: White 24, Red 21
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