Tony Jefferson Joins Elite List in OU Victory

NORMAN, Okla. — In hockey, three goals is a hat trick.

Sophomore nickel back Tony Jefferson came up with one of his own, grabbing three interceptions to etch his name in Oklahoma football lore as just the ninth player in program history to accomplish that feat.

In a span of just over five minutes, Jefferson ended three consecutive Ball State drives with an interception.

Thing is, he almost grabbed a fourth on the next Ball State possession and would have been alone atop the Sooner record books for most interceptions by a player in a single game. So what happened on that fourth one?

"My mind was just stuck on getting six, so I was trying to lean toward it so I could spin and get into the end zone, but my hands were just staying over there," Jefferson said, sighing before he answered the question. "I dropped it. I should have had it. I know if I would have caught it, it would have been a touchdown."

It would have been a remarkable play had Jefferson been able to come up with it as he had to spin around to even have a shot at catching the football.

Still, Jefferson came up with the defensive play of the night, spearing his second interception of the evening beautifully with one hand to the crowd's delight along the east sideline.

It impressed his coach as well.

"He's an excellent athlete, which he demonstrated out there tonight," head coach Bob Stoops said. "He has a knack for the ball. He had a huge night."

Jefferson was the first one to credit his defensive line for helping him get the three interceptions.

"Two of them I have to give up to my line by batting those balls. I gave them their props, but I was just in the right spot at the right time. I appreciate my lineman," Jefferson said.

Senior defensive end Frank Alexander tipped a ball up to Jefferson with just over eight minutes remaining in the second quarter, and junior defensive end R.J. Washington tipped another ball up to Jefferson to complete his three-interception barrage with 3:06 remaining in the second quarter.

Starting Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning entered the game without an interception on 130 passing attempts through four games. Afterwards, he had tossed three to one player.

Defensive coordinator Brent Venables said the Sooners expected some tipped balls given Wenning's passing form.

"We felt that the quarterback had a little bit of a low release and they had a short controlled passing game, so there would be a lot of throws in the windows," Venables said.

Despite not grabbing the fourth interception and setting a new school record, it's hard for Jefferson to be all that upset.

"It was fun having three picks today," Jefferson said.

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