NORMAN, Okla- The day was foretold to be unique for many reasons. A rivalry would be revived after 10 years; tribute would be paid to the participants in the Party of the Century and that there would be a fierce battle between Oklahoma and Nebraska.
All that happened and even with an extra ingredient: Lincoln riley, coach of the Sooners, he was about to challenge an interception … from his own team.
During the last quarter of the duel in which Oklahoma beat 23-16 to Nebraska, the Oklahoma cornerback, Dj graham he made a one-handed interception at his own three-yard line, with 8:16 left in the game.
Riley immediately went and spoke with the officers. “He could have been the first coach in history to challenge a play where we got an interception,” he laughed. “I was hoping it hadn’t been.”
An incomplete pass would have allowed the Sooners to start at their 24-yard line, but being deep in their own turf, Riley opted to play conservatively.
After a punt, Samori Toure returned 10 yards and gave Nebraska the ball at the OU 38-yard line.
The Cornhuskers scored three plays later on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Adrian Martinez to cut Oklahoma’s lead to 23-16 with 5:38 to play.
“I thought he didn’t have the interception,” Riley said, adding that he asked his assistants who confirmed it was. “I could have challenged him.”
The field position was one of the factors that weighed the most in this Saturday’s game, with two rivals who have not faced each other since 2010 playing a tight game that often felt like another of the Big 8 classic.
The game featured two missed field goals by Nebraska, one by Oklahoma and an extra point blocked by the Sooners, which OU’s Pat Fields returned 100 yards for two points late in the third quarter that extended a 14-9 lead. to 16-9.
Oklahoma led 7-3 at halftime and scored the fewest points in any game under Riley, breaking a streak of scoring at least 27 points in 65 games, the longest of any team in the AP polling era. (since 1936).
“It was a very close game,” Riley said. “You knew it would be. Bringing this game back, everyone felt how special it would be. Both teams rose to the occasion. It was a tough game that meant a lot to both schools and their fans.”
Quarterback Spencer Rattler made 24 of 34 passes, but the longest was just 23 yards, and he finished with 214 yards and a touchdown pass, plus another per run.
Riley said Rattler responded better on Saturday than he did last year in his first year as a starter, and that he had complete confidence in him and was convinced the offense would take shape.
“We’re one step away. We’ll get there though. I promise you. We’ll get there soon,” Riley said.