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Nebraska ties in Red-White game

By Doug Alden
Associated Press

Posted: April 15, 2000

LINCOLN, Neb. -- The game that Nebraska couldn't lose ended appropriately with a tie.

A late comeback by a lineup of backups Saturday gave the White team a 21-all tie with the Red in the Cornhuskers' annual spring game.

The scrimmage left Nebraska's coaches with a better idea of who will be the front-runners when fall camp opens in August, but there are still plenty of holes in the roster.

"We've got a lot of jobs open there on the No. 1 defense," said defensive coordinator Craig Bohl, who took over the Huskers' defense when Charlie McBride retired at the end of last season. "Nothing you can do can replicate live, game situations. Our main goal was the purpose of evaluation."

Bohl got a pleasant surprise at the beginning of the game when the White team, which included the No. 1 defense, forced the top offense to go three-and-out on its first three possessions. The defense has just five starters back from last year, and two of those sat out spring practice because of injuries.

"I don't think we tried to do a lot of things offensively or defensively," Bohl said. "We just want to see 11 guys out there doing their jobs and who can perform."

Kyle Vanden Bosch had three sacks for the No. 1 defense, which played without end Chris Kelsay and tackle Jeremy Slechta, both of whom missed spring practice with injuries.

"A lot of the spring we played at the offense's tempo. We wanted to come out and set the tempo like we did last year," Vanden Bosch said. "We gave up a couple of drives and that's frustrating after last season. You want to go out and have it be three-and-out every time. But isn't going to happen."

Bohl and head coach Frank Solich weren't about to get carried away with Saturday's performances. The defense was going up against and offense led by third-team quarterback Joe Chrisman--a walk-on who has never played in a college game. Starting QB Eric Crouch is still recovering from shoulder surgery and top backup Jammal Lord tore a knee ligament in practice last week.

Solich thought his third spring game as head coach was about what it should be.

"I thought the execution was decent--not a lot of mistakes, not a lot of foolish penalties--not a lot of things that as coaches you pull your hair out," Solich said. "When you're running as many players as you are during the spring game I thought it went about as well as expected."

Starting I-back Dan Alexander also sat out the game with an ankle injury and Red wingback Bobby Newcombe missed all of the second half with a dislocated elbow he injured returning a punt in the second quarter.

"We really cut back in terms of what we would do normally," Solich said.

Solich said Newcombe's elbow would take about 5-6 weeks to heal but would probably not require surgery.

Freshman fullback Judd Davies scored each time he carried the ball to lead the Red team. After a 1-yard dive early in the third quarter put the Red up 14-0, Davies made it 21-7 when he broke through the line for a 21-yard run later in the third.

"Judd probably doesn't have as far to go as maybe he thinks he does," Solich said. "He's a good player coming in. He's got great toughness and great size and strength and excellent running ability. He will be an excellent player for us."

Brett Lindstrom, a former defensive back who also moved over to quarterback because of the injuries, forced the tie with a 46-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Ommert with 2:24 left in the game. Tim Reese scored on the two-point conversion to tie it.

Backup I-back Chris Butler rushed for 118 yards on 16 carries to lead the White team. His 40-yard run around the left end with 6:51 left in the third cut the Red lead to 14-7. Butler added a 1-yard TD early in the fourth to pull the White within 21-13.

Butler, who rushed for 60 yards in last spring's game and redshirted in the fall, will have surgery on an abdominal strain next week.

Kelly Cook, a converted split end who moved over to quarterback because of Nebraska's QB roster, scored on a 1-yard run that put the Red up 7-0 in the second quarter.

Copyright 2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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