What Should Fans Look For in the Nebraska Spring Game?

Husker Dan: It will be more than a Dylan-Danny duel on Saturday
Rahmir Johnson carries the ball during Nebraska's 2023 spring game.
Rahmir Johnson carries the ball during Nebraska's 2023 spring game. / Kenny Larabee, KLIN

Saturday's Husker spring football game will be Matt Rhule's second as head coach at Nebraska.  Game conditions should remind fans of a beautiful mid-October contest played under partly cloudy skies and temps in the 70s.

No doubt the stands will be filled with loyal fans waiting to see the debut of freshman quarterbacks Dylan Raiola and Danny Kaelin.  Both should see plenty of action, but what are some other things Husker fans might want to look for?


Since 2004, Husker spring game attendance has ranged from a high of 86,818 in 2018 (Scott Frost's first year at Nebraska), to a low of 34,406 in 2021.  (That game had a COVID limit of half capacity.)

Last year, 66,045 fans braved frigid temps and blustery north winds to witness Rhule's first Husker spring game.

This year, the game has been moved back a week from last year's April 22nd date.  Former Husker AD #16 decided this year's game would have an earlier kickoff time of 11 a.m.

The earlier time is to accommodate fans who might want to attend Saturday's 1:15 p.m. home baseball game with fifth-place Iowa and/or NU's 1:30 home softball game with league-leading Northwestern.

The spring game might not be over until almost 1:30.  It's uncertain how many fans who attend the football game will want to attend either the baseball or softball games.

Make no mistake, football is the cash cow at Nebraska.  The question is will the early kickoff time mean fewer fans at the spring game?  What effect will this early kickoff have on the baseball and softball games?  We'll find out in a couple of days.

The Dylan & Danny Show

Fans should get a heavy dose of both QBs in the game.  It's not known yet if the QBs will be wearing green "Don't touch me" jerseys.  Also, blitzing will probably not be allowed.  So how can fans know the effectivness of each QB?  Fans will have to wait until Aug. 31 to see.

Special Teams

Last spring, kick and punt returns weren't allowed.  Expect to see more of the same come Saturday.

The Helmet Law

For the first time ever, QB helmets will be wired for sound.  All the offensive plays will be transmitted directly into the QBs' helmets.  No more of the annoying placards on the sidelines.  The new ruling which takes effect this fall, will undoubtedly speed up the game.

Running Backs

Look for a heavy dose of younger players like Dante Dowdell, Emmett Johnson and Kwinten Ives to see action.  Due to injuries, Gabe Ervin and Rahmir Johnson will likely be held out of the game.

 Offensive Line

Look for a lot of new players to see game action Saturday.  Rhule has said his goal is to coach up the players who haven't yet been able to show what they can do.  Some regulars will see action, but look for new names to emerge Saturday.  (P.S. You'll need a program.)

D-line, Linebackers, Secondary and Receivers

Ditto to the above.


Outside of the players, it won't matter to most Husker fans whether the Reds or the Whites win the game.  The score is virtually meaningless.  One thing is for sure:  Nebraska will win the game.  You can go to the bank on that one.

Sad News

It was just a year ago former Husker O-lineman Cole Pensick was tragically killed in a car accident.  Then news recently emerged that Cole's father, former Husker defensive lineman Dan Pensick, died.  That's almost a year to the day that Cole died.  Please pray for the Pensick family.

Trivia Questions

1)  Before last year, which team has had more players selected No. 1 in the NFL draft, Alabama or Nebraska?  (Records go back to 1936.)

2)  Has any school from the state of Colorado ever had one?

(Answers are at the bottom of this column.)

How 'Bout Them Huskers

In our latest podcast, Will and I talk about beer being sold at Husker baseball games and Nebraska's Jaz Shelley being picked in last week's WNBA draft.  We also talk about the Husker volleyball team's spring match coming up May 4 in Kearney, Nebraska.  Of course we discuss how the Husker baseball and softball teams are doing.

Trivia Answers

1)  Alabama and Nebraska were tied at 2-2.  Nebraska's were fullback Sam Francis in 1937 (Philadelphia) and wide receiver Irving Fryar in 1984 (New England)..  'Bama's were quarterbacks Harry Gilmer in 1948 (Washington) and Joe Namath in 1965 (Jets).

2)  Yes.  Colorado State in 1956.  Defensive back Gary Glick was chosen by Pittsburgh.

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Dan McGlynn


Dan “Husker Dan” McGlynn has been writing about Husker football since 2003. His columns have appeared on HuskerMax.com as well as in several local newspapers and magazines. He has a B.A. in English from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Dan is a native Nebraskan and lives in Omaha. You may contact him at HuskerDan@cox.net.