The story of the annual Red and White Spring game in Nebraska in 2021 on Saturday was already written before the start.
For the first time since November 29, 2019, fans returned to the stands of Memorial Stadium after the interruption of COVID-19 last season.
It was not a crowded house, as ticket sales were limited to 75 percent capacity and 36,406 fans presented themselves for the game.
But that hasn’t stopped Huskers’ spring bustle from becoming an emotional relative return to normal for coaches, players and fans.
As for the game itself, the Red team – featuring most of the predicted starters on both sides of the ball – jumped to a 1
This was the first time since 2016 that the white team beat the reds.
The first half was played only with a “fool”, which means that the ball carriers were not taken to the ground. This allowed red quarterback Adrian Martinez to operate with ease in and out of his pocket after completing 12-of-20 passes for 127 yards and rushing nine times for 49 yards.
Logan Smothers started below the center for the Whites, with Heinrich Haarberg dealing with the next four discs of the first half. The Smothers finished 8-of-14 passes for 76 yards and a touchdown as they moved to the red team in half, while Haarberg went 9-out-23 for 121 with a touchdown and interception.
Running backwards, Marvin Scott, who finished with a high of 75 yards on 11 runs, started the result with a four-yard run in the initial drive for the Reds. Connor Culp followed two goals on the field from 30 and 23 yards to send the red team at halftime with 13-0.
The Red defense gave up just two first falls and 19 yards on offense in the first half.
The game became a little more interesting after the half, as the second half turned into a complete recovery. Jacques Yant stepped back in the first drive of the third quarter for a 21-yard touchdown for the Whites to make 13-7.
Yant led the Whites with 63 yards in nine passes, all of which came in the second half.
Gabe Hines missed a 29-yard goal that would have pulled the Whites even closer, but Isaiah Harris gave the Whites their first lead at 14-13 with a 29-yard run at the end of the third quarter.
The Reds finally returned to the top when Smothers contacted Brody Belt for a 23-yard goal, making it 20-14 with 6:26 left in the game.
Darius Moore chose Haarberg to end a promising white drive, but Haarberg returned the ball with 66 seconds left to try to design one last winning march.
In fourth and 11th with seven seconds to play, Haarberg hit Wyatt Liuer in a 40-yard pass to the Reds 25. While the clock was counting down, head coach Scott Frost forced the teams to play another game.
Haarberg hit Liewer again for a 25-yard touchdown, and Tyler Crawford’s extra point won the game for the Whites, 21-20.
The red team finished with a total of 443 yards (239 quick, 204 assists), while the whites finished with 342 (221, 121).
Nebraska will open its 2021 season on August 28 in Illinois.