Nebraska Football: Top Performers from the Cornhuskers' Spring Game

Erin Sorensen@erinsorensenContributor IApril 13, 2014

Nebraska Football: Top Performers from the Cornhuskers' Spring Game

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    Nati Harnik

    If you asked random people who the top performer for Nebraska's spring game was, they might say it was a cat. While head coach Bo Pelini made news carrying a feline friend during the tunnel walk, it actually wasn't the cat that shined the most.

    In fact, plenty of players had big days in front of a crowd of more than 60,000 people. And there were quite a few that were top performers on the day.

    Pelini noted that there was still a lot of work to be done before fall during his post-scrimmage press conference, but he said he likes where the squad is now. Based on some of those that stood out, it's not hard to see why the head coach is confident with his team.

    So, who exactly were Nebraska's top spring game performers? Read on to find out.

QB Ryker Fyfe

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    Nati Harnik

    It seemed likely that Tommy Armstrong would be the starting quarterback for the 2014 spring game. Beyond that, it was unclear who would be his immediate backup, Ryker Fyfe or Johnny Stanton.

    By the end of the scrimmage, Pelini was clear that Fyfe and Stanton were pretty much co-No. 2s right now, as Rich Kaipust of The Omaha World Herald reported. Regardless, Fyfe had a good day.

    The quarterback completed nine of his 12 passes for 89 yards and a touchdown. He also carried himself in a way that left many people talking on Twitter. He definitely stood out as a top performer for they day.

QB Johnny Stanton

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    Nati Harnik

    Fyfe can't be mentioned without Stanton, who also had a top day for Nebraska.

    To start, Stanton threw for a team-high 135 yards. He also had two touchdowns. In doing so, Stanton looked more confident in his position, which is great news for the Huskers.

    If there was ever a time Tommy Armstrong was unable to play, Stanton (and Fyfe) proved he could handle the job. That alone makes Stanton's spring game a good one for the Huskers.

I-Back Imani Cross

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    Nati Harnik

    With star I-back Ameer Abdullah on the sidelines, fans were anxious to see what Imani Cross could do. Needless to say, he showed off a significant amount of improvement.

    Cross has always been a strong I-back, but acceleration has often been a vice of his. During the spring game, he was much more explosive. He later credited that to hard work in the weight room as he spoke with the media.

    Cross ultimately had six carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns on the day. He proved the I-backs could very well be Nebraska's best in quite some time.

WR Taariq Allen

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    Nati Harnik

    Fans were also anxious to see Taariq Allen in action. Needless to say, he delivered a good show.

    For the day, Allen had five catches for 42 yards and a touchdown. In doing so, he only showed a small portion of what he's capable of.

    After tearing his ACL in the opening kickoff against Michigan in 2013, Allen had a long way to recovery, as noted by Brian Christopherson of The Lincoln Journal Star. The original hope was that he'd be healthy by fall ball, but the wide receiver found a way to fight back in time for the spring game. In doing so, Allen showed he's not only talented but also very tough.

LB Marcus Newby

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    Marcus Newby
    Marcus NewbyPhoto courtesy of

    It was reported a couple of days before the spring game that Marcus Newby was dealing with lower back pain. Sam McKewon of the Omaha World Herald reported that Newby sprained his back but that Pelini expected the linebacker to still play in the scrimmage.

    And just like Pelini said, that's what he did. It was a good thing too.

    Newby showed off with four tackles (two solo), a tackle for loss and a sack. That's a pretty great day for a scrimmage. He definitely left fans talking about him.

WR Brandon Reilly

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    Nati Harnik

    Brandon Reilly made sure everyone at the game was paying attention when he snagged a 51-yard slant pass from Tommy Armstrong. And he nearly made it into the end zone before being pushed out of bounds.

    At the end of the day, Reilly had four receptions for 92 yards. While over half of the yards were credited to that slant pass, he still left the scrimmage with more people aware of him than before.

    It wasn't just a fluke for him, either. He's a physical wide receiver who shows a lot of promise for fall.

S Nathan Gerry

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    Nati Harnik

    On the third play of the scrimmage, Nathan Gerry made a big play. As quickly as the game had begun, he snagged an interception from quarterback Tommy Armstrong.

    Things got a little sloppy for Gerry after he banged his AC joint, as Brian Christopherson of The Lincoln Journal Star reported. Regardless, he had a pretty great day.

    His tackling may not have been the best, but it's something Pelini has often praised throughout spring. So while Gerry still has some areas to improve, he made a case for himself Saturday.