Nebraska Spring Game 2013: Recap, Grades and Analysis

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 6, 2013

LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 10: Quarterback Taylor Martinez #3 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers runs with the ball against  the Penn State Nittany Lions defense during their game at Memorial Stadium on November 10, 2012 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska beat Penn State 32-23. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

The 2013 regular season is still months away, but Nebraska is already getting prepared with its spring game.

In an annual exhibition between the red and white teams made up of the entire football team, the red side finished with a 32-25 victory.

Of course, the score is meaningless. The important thing is to see how young players perform at various positions across the field.

Starting quarterback Taylor Martinez got in a little work and finished with a solid 105 passing yards on 8-of-10 passing. Ron Kellogg III was also impressive under center and was an accurate passer.

However, the player fans really wanted to see was redshirt freshman quarterback Tommy Armstrong. The dual-threat passer completed five of his seven passes for 102 yards with a touchdown, while adding 39 yards on the ground.

Running backs King Frazier and Imani Cross were also impressive, showing that the team has plenty of depth on the offensive side of the ball. 

On defense, Colby Starkebaum was solid with seven tackles, including two for loss. Trevor Rauch also had 10 tackles for the red team.

Of course, probably the most impressive part were the fans. Despite this being a relatively meaningless scrimmage, the crowd showed up in full force and filled up the stadium.

This picture shows you everything you need to know about the Corn Huskers' popularity in the area.

Additionally, a touching moment occurred with just over six minutes remaining in the game when seven-year-old Jack Hoffman came in the game as a running back. The brain cancer survivor got the ball and ran untouched (and uncontested) for a 69-yard touchdown.

This is one of the great moments of a spring game that often gets overlooked, but it is what makes this exhibition so great.

Note: All stats courtesy of



Ron Kellogg III, QB: A

There is no question about who is Nebraska's starting quarterback. Taylor Martinez will return for his senior season as a legitimate Heisman candidate.

However, the backup spot is up for grabs, and Ron Kellogg III did his best to secure that spot. 

The rising senior was excellent as a passer on the day, completing 11 of his 12 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown. 

Tommy Armstrong showed some quickness as a runner, but Kellog was the better overall player on the day.


Imani Cross, RB: B+

Last season, Imani Cross was basically used exclusively as a short-yardage back. With seven touchdowns in 55 attempts, it is obvious that worked out well.

Still, he wants to go into his sophomore season with more responsibility, and he did a decent job.

With Ameer Abdullah out with a knee injury, Cross rushed for 55 yards on seven carries. He also added a 12-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

It would have been nice to see more of him, but he still did a good job when he was in the game to earn playing time for next season.


Tommy Armstrong, QB: A-

Not to be outdone by Kellogg, Tommy Armstrong showed off his natural athleticism throughout the game.

He is quick as a runner and can take over for Martinez perfectly next year in the option offense. Sean Callahan of even said that Armstrong could be better than the starter:

Even when he was not gaining yards on the ground or through the air, he was nimble in the pocket and showed that he could avoid sacks if necessary.

While Armstrong might not be ready to take over just yet, the future is bright for this youngster.


Quincy Enunwa, WR: C

While we should already know what we are going to get out of Quincy Enunwa, the veteran receiver should be expected to make a leap this season.

The California native has great size and good speed, but he has not been able to put it together on the field as much as teammate Kenny Bell.

However, Tom Dienhart of the Big Ten Network thinks that Enunwa could be part of the best receiving corps in the conference:

In this game, it would be nice to see a player of this talent level have a big game, but he finished with only one catch for 14 yards.

There is a lot of time to improve, but there comes a point where you should see more.