To Oklahoma Cornerback DJ Graham made a highlight-reel one-handed interception on fourth down on his own 3-yard line with 8:16 remaining in the game, Riley immediately left and spoke to the officials.
“I was perhaps the first coach in history to challenge a game where we were intercepted,” said Riley with a laugh. “I was hoping it would have gone down.”
An incompleteness would have allowed the Sooners to start with their own 24. But since Riley was deep in her own territory, he chose to play it conservatively, playing it on first and second down and hitting zero yards before an incompleteness on a third down pass attempt.
After a punt, Samori tourThe 10-yard return gave Nebraska the ball at the 38-yard line from OU. The Cornhuskers later scored three games Adrian Martinez21-yard touchdown pass to reduce Oklahoma’s lead to 23-16, 5:38.
“I thought it was messing around a bit,” Riley said, adding that he asked officers if there was a catch and they said they had already confirmed it. “I might have challenged it.”
The field position issue was part of a bigger topic for Saturday’s game, with ex-rivals who haven’t met since 2010 playing a close game that often felt more like an old Big 8 competition.
The game included two missed field goals from Nebraska, one from Oklahoma and a blocked extra point from Nebraska that the OUs Pat Fields returned 100 yards for two points at the end of the third quarter, extending a 14-9 lead to 16-9.
Oklahoma was only 7-3 at halftime, scoring the fewest points in any game under Riley.
“It was a highly competitive game,” said Riley. “They knew it would be. When we brought this game back, everyone felt how special it was going to be. Both teams were up to the situation. It was a tough game that meant a lot to both schools and both fan communities.”
Quarterback Spencer Rattler was a 24-of-34 pass for 214 yards, but his longest pass was only 23 yards. He also threw for a touchdown and added another to the ground while racing 35 yards.
“Playing QB is an art because you have so much control over game decisions,” said Riley. “I thought he got a good feel for it. He didn’t really put the ball in danger.”
Riley said Rattler reacted better on Saturday than he did in his freshman year as a starter last year, and that he had full confidence in him and firmly believed the offensive would take shape.
“To play at the elite level, you have to be sharp,” said Riley. “We’re just a catch. We’ll still make it. I promise you.
When the game was over, Graham’s incredible interception was what got the most upset afterward. Riley said he wasn’t even surprised because Graham frequently makes circus catches, and Rattler was asked if he would ever advocate playing on the offensive.
“I know he was a receiver in high school and I heard he was pretty good,” added Rattler. “He does that all the time in training. He’ll go up and make an Odell catch.
And while Riley might have had a bit of a problem with where he’d taken the catch, Graham’s defensive coordinator couldn’t bring himself to say that he’d rather knock him down.
“I like takeout too much to tell him to put it on the floor,” said Alex Grinch.