Peter Yazvac, Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations
KEARNEY – The Nebraska-Kearney offense rallied past the defense for a 42-36 win Thursday night in the annual spring scrimmage at Ron & Carol Cope Stadium at Foster Field.
Using a modified scoring system, the game featured 91 plays with the offense totaling 391 yards (4.3 average). Committing six penalties for 61 yards, the Lopers had four scoring drives in the two-hour event. Two other potentially scoring drives ended with a missed field goal and a fumble at the goal line.
Trailing 23-20 at halftime, the offense tallied 22 second half points with the defense netting 11. The Loper “D” didn’t sack one of three quarterbacks but did force two fumbles and logged several three and outs.
“The biggest thing we saw from our team tonight is that we’re playing with more confidence. I think that has been lacking in the past and our opponents have sensed that too. That is something that needs to change and we’re beginning to do that,” said head coach Josh Lynn.
Individually, junior running back David Goodwin (Lauderhill, Fla.) had 11 carries for a team-best 76 yards and three receptions for 25 yards. With junior Stephen Worthing (Elkhorn South) leaving early because of a minor injury, junior Alex McGinnis (Crete) took the majority of snaps at quarterback. He rushed 14 times for 51 yards and one TD while going of 15 in the air for 65 yards. His seven-yard scamper midway through the fourth-quarter was the game winner.
“Taking Steve out was more of a precautionary thing. Our goal is to have him ready for the fall,” Lynn said. “Alex and Carson came in and made plays and that’s what we need our quarterbacks to do.”
Defensively, junior inside linebacker Sal Silvio (Kansas City) not surprisingly led the way. He tied for the lead in tackles (eight) and forced two fumbles. The first turnover was scooped up and returned 25-yards for six points by junior safety Kevin Wilson (Lakeland, Fla.) with the second fumble coming at the goal line. After stripping the ball loose, he pitched it to senior corner Famous McKinnon (Miami) who raced 60 yards down field before being tackled.
“That’s what we’ve come to expect from Sal. Those were game-changing, big momentum plays for our defense,” Lynn said.
Tallying 248 yards on 58 carries, UNK saw sophomore back Dayton Sealey (Hastings St. Cecilia) have 48 yards on eight totes with redshirtfreshman QB Carson Walters (Lincoln East) having a 15-yard scamper. Next, redshirt freshman back/receiver Montrez Jackson (Trenton, Fla.) had 13 touches for 29 yards.
In the air, Walters was 6 of 12 for 37 yards with 10 different Lopers making at least one catch. That big group included sophomore Dylan Reifies (Evergreen, Colo.) who managed four grabs for a team-best 34 yards.
“Montrez and David were with us last fall and we decided to redshirt them to get more football out of them. Those two guys are special and both have another gear and that’ll help us in the fall,” Lynn said. “Our offensive line did a good job too. There wasn’t a lot of penetration on runs or passes.”
Besides Silvio’s heroics, sophomore corner Blake Bubak (Columbus) had eight tackles, junior safety Dallas Vaughn (St. Louis) made seven, senior linebacker Fred Wortham (Chicago) had six and junior linebacker Alec Sovereign (Lincoln SW) had four solo stops.
UNK beings fall camp in early August with the 2018 opener coming Aug. 30 vs. Missouri Southern State.
Traditional Scoring Summary (Offensive Stats & Defensive Stats)
1st 10:34 UNKB – Dayton Sealey 8 yd pass from Steve Worthing (Treygan Gowen kick)
2nd 11:56 UNKB – Garrett Meyer 1 yd run (Treygan Gowen kick)
06:01 UNKW – Kevin Wilson 26 yd fumble recovery
3rd 03:15 UNKB – Montrez Jackson 4 yd run (Treygan Gowen kick failed)
4th 08:21 UNKB – Alex McGinnis 7 yd run (Treygan Gowen kick)
Extra Point (1)
Field Goal (3)
Three consecutive first downs (3)
No Points Scored (1)
UNK Spring Award Winners
Offensive MVP – Sophomore right tackle Corey Hoelck (Giltner)
Offensive Hustler – Senior offensive lineman Leo Wilson (Chicago)
Offensive Most Improved – Redshirt freshman receiver Shannon Brewer (Creighton Prep)
Defensive MVP – Junior inside linebacker Sal Silvio (Kansas City)
Defensive Hustler – Junior linemen Jordan Ingraham (Miami)
Defensive Most Improved – Junior outside linebacker Zach Sullivan (Millard West)
Special Teams MVP – Sophomore long snapper Blaine Kennedy (Boone Central)
Lifting Award – Senior inside linebacker Fred Wortham (Chicago)