LINCOLN–(NU Athletics Apr. 27)– Nebraska’s top three quarterbacks all put together productive games to highlight an entertaining Spring Game that resulted in a 25-21 victory for the White team over the Red in front of 60,452 fans at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

Dylan Raiola produced the biggest numbers by completing 16-of-22 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns on the afternoon. He added a completion on a go-ahead two-point conversion that gave the White team a 22-21 lead midway through the third quarter. Raiola completed passes to 14 different receivers on the day, while playing quarterback for both teams on a rotating basis with Heinrich Haarberg and Daniel Kaelin throughout the first three quarters.

Haarberg was also impressive, completing 8-of-13 passes for 163 yards and two more touchdowns. Haarberg did not throw an interception and added a 17-yard run.

Kaelin showed well in his first spring game, completing 9-of-16 passes for 91 yards.

After Haarberg took the opening possession for the White squad to start the game, Raiola got things going on the second possession, marching the Red team 76 yards on eight plays that culminated with a 16-yard touchdown strike to Janiran Bonner to give the Red team a 7-0 lead just five minutes into the game. Raiola also completed passes to Thomas Fidone, Jaylen Lloyd and Nate Boerkircher on the drive to go 4-for-4 for 40 yards on the possession. Bonner finished with game-high-tying four receptions for 58 yards, while Boerkircher added three catches for 65 yards.

Emmitt Johnson provided strong contributions on the ground on the Red team’s first drive with three carries for 18 yards on the successful march. Johnson finished the day with five carries for 25 yards. He added two receptions for 12 yards.

The Red team’s 7-0 lead held until Haarberg struck quickly with a 41-yard touchdown pass to Jacory Barney Jr. to tie the score at 7-7 just eight seconds into the second quarter. Barney Jr. finished the day with three receptions for 66 yards.

Raiola answered for the Red team with lightning efficiency, completing a 14-yard pass to Isaiah Neyor, before hitting Lloyd with a 64-yard strike to put the Red team back on top by a touchdown, 14-7, less than one minute into the second period.

Lloyd led all receivers with 97 yards on his three receptions for the day, while Neyor added a pair of catches for 26 yards.

Kaelin kept the offenses rolling on the ensuing drive for the White team. After Barney Jr. unleashed a 78-yard kickoff return, Kaelin completed two passes on a 16-yard drive that culminated with a one-yard touchdown run by Dante Dowdell that tied the score for the White at 14 early in the second quarter. It was the first of two rushing touchdowns on the day for Dowdell, who led all rushers with 76 yards on seven carries. He also contributed 11 receiving yards on a game-high-tying four catches.

The second-quarter points kept coming on the Red team’s next drive with Haarberg putting an exclamation point on a five-play, 73-yard march with his 25-yard touchdown pass to Fidone. It was Fidone’s second reception of the drive, as he finished with three catches for 45 yards on the day.

The drive was highlighted by Haarberg’s 61-yard connection with Boerkircher, who closed his day with three receptions for 65 yards.

The Red team went to halftime with a 21-14 edge, before the White team took the lead for good on its opening drive of the second half. Every yard on the four-play, 61-yard scoring drive was credited to Dowdell, who covered 61 yards on three carries, including a 49-yard touchdown burst. Raiola, who completed a pass to Dowdell for no gain on the drive, then put the White team in front 22-21 with his two-point conversion pass to Alex Bullock. The veteran receiver added two receptions for 43 yards on the afternoon.

Tristen Alvano pitched in a 40-yard field goal for the White team with 4:27 left in the game to provide the 25-21 final margin.

 

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