- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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Nebraska provided a touching moment on Saturday when the team let 7-year-old cancer patient Jack Hoffman line up and score a touchdown during the Cornhuskers' spring game. Colleague Mark Schlabach has the back story on that special touchdown:
Andy [Hoffman] already was planning to attend Nebraska's spring game with his son. Around 9 p.m. ET on Friday, director of football operations Jeff Jamrog called with a special request. Jamrog told Andy that the coaches wanted Jack to suit up and play a down. The icing on the cake: The Cornhuskers would make sure he'd score a touchdown.
Jack was already in bed, so his father didn't break the news until Saturday morning. On Friday night, Andy scrambled to put together a Nebraska uniform for his son. Jack has never played organized football, but he had a red No. 22 jersey, which the Hoffmans purchased only minutes before they met Burkhead for the first time. Burkhead's autograph is on the back of the jersey. Andy found a pair of his brother's old Nebraska practice pants in a storage closet, and Jack had a plastic Nebraska helmet and shoulder pads he'd received for Christmas a couple of years ago.
"It was a makeshift uniform," Andy said. "When he woke up Saturday morning, I told him, 'Jack, let me tell you about this phone call I received last night.' He said, 'Oh, that would be cool.' I don't think he fathomed what would happen until the drive down."
When the Hoffmans arrived at Memorial Stadium, they were summoned to a players' pregame meeting. During the meeting, Pelini reintroduced Jack to his team.
"This kid is the toughest kid in Nebraska," Pelini told his players. "Today, he's going to fight with you."
Nebraska's players erupted.
To read all of Schlabach's story, go here.
1dDavid M. Hale