Oklahoma football's 23-16 win over longtime rival Nebraska Saturday featured perhaps one of the most athletic interceptions in recent memory when Sooners cornerback DJ Graham recorded a leaping one handed pick. Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley, however, may very well have preferred that Graham simply batted down the pass given the play came on fourth down.
Speaking with reporters postgame, Riley reportedly said he actually considered challenging Graham's interception that put the Sooners at their own 3-yard line. An incompletion would have resulted in a turnover on downs and Oklahoma starting at their own 24 instead of deep in its own territory.
"I might have been the first coach in history to challenge a play we got an interception on," Riley said, via ESPN's Dave Wilson. "I was hoping it would've gone down."
Oklahoma led 23-9 at the time of the interception. But the ensuing drive resulted in an Oklahoma punt before Nebraska responded with a Adrian Martinez touchdown pass to Omar Manning that made it a 23-16 game. That score would hold, though Nebraska did have one final chance at a lengthy drive to either tie or win the game.
"I thought it juggled around a bit," Riley added of the interception, per Wilson."I might have challenged it."
Oklahoma came into this game fresh off of blowing out its previous opponent, Western Carolina, a week ago. The Sooners won that game, 76-0 to improve to 2-0 on the season. In that game, Oklahoma posted massive numbers on the offensive side of the ball, racking up 624 yards of offense, 347 of which came in the air. The Sooners also flirted with 300 yards of offense on the ground, finishing at 277 rushing yards.
Nebraska, meanwhile, entered Saturday 2-1. The Huskers dropped their season-opener in Week 0 at Illinois before bouncing back with home wins against Fordham and Buffalo.
Saturday marked the first time Oklahoma and Nebraska met on the football field since the 2010 Big 12 Championship Game. The rivalry series between the two former Big 8/Big 12 foes was put on pause after Nebraska left for the Big Ten Conference after the 2010 season. The Sooners travel to Lincoln in 2022, and another home-and-home between the schools is scheduled for 2029-2030.
Oklahoma, ranked No. 3 in the AP Top 25 poll, returns to action Sept. 25 with a home game under the lights against West Virginia. The Sooners and Mountaineers kick at 6:30 p.m. CT. Nebraska's next game is at Michigan State, with kick set for 7 p.m. ET at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.
Source : https://247sports.com/Article/Oklahoma-beats-Nebraska-Lincoln-Riley-says-he-almost-challenged-DJ-Grahams-spectacular-interception--171227857/547