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Nebraska football spring game highlights, gut reactions

Highlights and gut reactions from the 2024 Nebraska football spring game which featured Dylan Raiola.



Nebraska football
University of Nebraska

It didn’t take long on Saturday for Nebraska football fans to see what Dylan Raiola can bring. On his first drive in the spring game, he went 4-for-4 for 40 yards and a touchdown pass.

Raiola did have an interception on his second drive. A slant pass bounced off the hands of a receiver, but Dylan responded with a 62-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Lloyd to get the red team back on the board.

“He was in control, in command,” Matt Rhule said on the BTN broadcast. “You see Dylan’s rhythm out there. Nothing’s too big (for him). Bad plays are going to happen but he’s doing a nice job out there.”

You don’t want to see a turnover, but Raiola responded perfectly. Heinrich Haarberg also had a solid first half. The Huskers went three-and-out on the first drive but threw a 41-yard touchdown pass on a go route to Jacory Barney. The freshman wideout also put the Huskers in scoring position with a kickoff return too.

Dante Dowdell got the first rushing touchdown of the day. The transfer from Oregon also did some nice work in the passing game. Emmett Johnson flashed too but Dowdell caught 4-5 passes and ripped off a 49-yard touchdown run in the second half, displaying just tremendous vision.

Dylan Raiola threw a dart for the 2-point play, giving the White team a 22-21 lead. After two misses, Tristan Alvano did make a long field goal to make it 25-21 White.

Here are the gut reactions.

Gut reactions to Nebraska football spring game

  • Dylan Raiola is QB1. There’s no doubt in my mind about that. He’s just different and you could see it from the opening drive. He. was 16-of-23 for 239 in the first half. We’ve never seen a quarterback like this. Ever.
  • Heinrich Haarberg is QB2. Daniel Kaelin is going to be a very good player. But Haarberg threw the ball much better than he did last season.
  • Thomas Fidone looks poised for a huge season. He looked as good as he ever has in a Nebraska football uniform. On his touchdown, he caught a short pass, broke a tackle, and went 20 yards for a touchdown.
  • Vincent Shavers is no joke. He was with the No. 1 defense and opened the game with a tackle and a pass breakup.
  • Jacory Barney is a dude. Flat out. There was one mistake on the return game, but this kid is pure excitement. That goes for the entire receiving room.
  • This is the deepest WR room I have ever seen at Nebraska.
  • Too many turnovers and penalties. The red-zone turnovers have to end.
  • Injuries suck and the Byle Hill injury didn’t look good. That would be a killer since Rhule called him a starter earlier this week. Demitrius Bell was carted off the field too.
  • Jaylen Lloyd has taken the second-year leap. He might be WR1.
  • The kicking game has to get cleaned up. Nebraska football might need to add a veteran kicker. You can’t leave points on the board, although it was good to see Tristan Alvano end on a strong note.
  • Janiran Booner is a problem. It will be fun to see what he can do, as a blocker and receiver.
  • Dante Dowdell made his case for RB1. Emmett Johnson did just fine too.
  • The trenches looked good on both sides of the ball.
  • Nebraska football freshmen turned some heads. Looks like a great class.
  • Loved seeing the gassers in the fourth quarter.
  • I’ll be guzzling the Nebraska football Kool-Aid. This team looks legit.

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Chris has worked in sports journalism since 2005 writing for multiple newspapers and websites such as the Bleacher Report and Fansided before starting Husker Big Red, A fan site for hardcore followers of the #Huskers offering articles, podcasts, videos and more exclusive content on all things Nebraska