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Nebraska’s annual Red-White Spring Game, 4.12.14

Fifth-year senior Tyson Broekemeier had never appeared in a game for Nebraska until Saturday. But instead of playing quarterback, he was a punter and holder on kicks because NU's regular punter, Sam Foltz, was injured in the third quarter.

Tyson Broekemeier remembers doing quarterback drills one day last season when he noticed coaches trying out some potential newcomers for punter.

Nebraska’s backup to Sam Foltz at the time, Mauro Bondi, had been injured in a motorcycle accident, and coaches were searching for depth.

“I went up to Coach (Jeff) Jamrog and I’m like, ‘Hey, dude, I can punt,’” Broekemeier said. “He kind of laughs and says, ‘Yeah, I bet you can, bud.’”

No, really. He could.

Broekemeier did in high school, and he did that day, too — enough to impress coaches and Foltz, who noted the walk-on from Aurora “had a decent leg.”

Decent enough that nearly a year later, it served the Huskers in a pinch.

When Foltz left Saturday’s loss to BYU with an injured ankle, Broekemeier replaced him in adequate fashion, hitting two fourth-quarter punts — one that traveled 49 yards with the help of a roll, another for 31 yards that avoided the hands of BYU’s punt returner.

“I think I did all right,” said Broekemeier, a backup quarterback who played in his first career game as a fifth-year senior — just like his older brother, Joe, who never saw the field until Senior Day.

“You never think something like this would ever happen, but Sam Foltz goes down and all of the sudden you’re the guy who goes in.”

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Broekemeier also replaced Foltz as holder on kicks and had that opportunity before his first punt.

“I tell you what, on the sideline I was a little nervous,” Broekemeier said, “and once I went in there, I went in there for the first hold, and I got a good hold down, and that kind of loosened my nerves up a little bit, and then I was feeling fine.”

Foltz is “week-to-week,” coach Mike Riley said Monday, meaning Broekemeier could be handling punts again Saturday against South Alabama.

Riley said he’ll evaluate his options, including backup kickers, but noted Broekemeier was the best alternative against BYU and performed well.

“I was impressed with his nerves basically going in the game and making a couple of plays,” Riley said. “He flirted a little bit too much with the sideline on that last (punt), but he did a good job, and so if we indeed punt with him, I think he’ll do a good job. We’ll probably do it differently a little bit than we did it with Sam, but that’s OK, we’ll have to adjust.”

Broekemeier said he’s hoping for a quick return by Foltz, but in the meantime, he’s prepared to step up.

It’s already been quite the reward for someone who’s endured three knee surgeries and had been relegated to scout-team offense and signaling in plays.

“It’s been quite a long ride,” Broekemeier said.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or brosenthal@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraBR.

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