Jack Hoffman had only one thing on his mind as he ran down the field during Nebraska’s football scrimmage on Saturday.
“Scoring a touchdown,” he said.
And that is just what the 7-year-old, who has won the hearts of everyone involved with Nebraska football during his bout with brain cancer, did.
Wearing a miniature uniform and the No. 22 jersey of the player who first took Hoffman under his wing, star running back Rex Burkhead, Hoffman took the handoff from quarterback Taylor Martinez and went 69 yards into the end zone.
The crowd of 60,174 at Memorial Stadium roared the entire way and kept it up as Hoffman was mobbed by players from both sides in the end zone.
The idea to involve Hoffman in the spring game came from fullback C.J. Zimmerer and football operations director Jeff Jamrong, who called Hoffman’s family Friday to inform them of a play designed just for the young football fan.
But it wasn’t until receivers coach Rich Fisher motioned Hoffman over on the sideline to show him the play he drew up that it all started to hit the boy’s father, Andy Hoffman.
“It was a lot of emotions right at once,” Hoffman said. “Very emotional to see that. Husker fans have been so incredible to Jack and our family and especially to this cause.”
Hoffman has had two surgeries since being diagnosed with cancer two years ago. On a two-week break from 60 weeks of chemotherapy, Jack is “doing great,” according to his father, who added that a recent MRI showed the tumor had shrunk substantially in the past year.
“We’re very optimistic for Jack,” Andy said.