SAN ANTONIO — On a day reserved for the future stars of college football, Palestine, Texas running back Adrian Peterson shined the brightest.
Ending months of speculation, the 6-foot-1, 205-pounder announced he will attend Oklahoma in the fourth quarter of today's U.S. Army All-American Bowl Game, yet his West teammates still dropped a 45-28 decision to the East squad before 25,813 fans at the Alamodome.
Peterson made his long-awaited verbal commitment on national television midway through the fourth quarter, picking the Sooners over Miami.
Said Peterson: "I'm really excited about being a Sooner. Now that all the pressure's off me, I can just chill."
Overall, Peterson finished with a game-high 91 rushing yards on nine carries. His seemingly effortless performance included a 13-yard touchdown run with 13:36 left in the game, a play in which he bulldozed his way through several East tacklers, and a super-charged 50-yard touchdown scamper a little more than six minutes later.
On the play prior to his second score, Peterson reeled off a punishing 8-yard run, which left East defensive back Kyle Williams (Neptune Beach, Fla.; Florida) shaken up on the turf for nearly two minutes.
"He's got game," said West teammate Jeff Byars (Loveland, Colo.; USC), the nation's top-ranked offensive lineman, shortly after throwing a block during Peterson's second score. "I mean he's really got game. He's unstoppable."
The East opened the game's scoring with 8:35 remaining in the first quarter on a 2-yard touchdown run by running back Brian Toal (Ramsey, N.J.; undecided), the first of his three scoring runs in the game.
On the ensuing possession, Oklahoma commitment Rhett Bomar hooked up with Casey Flair (Anchorage, Alaska; undecided) for a 47-yard completion deep into East territory.
Two plays later, a scrambling Bomar stepped up in the pocket to avoid the oncoming pass rush and threw a pass into double coverage near the goal line that was intercepted by Jackson.
"I put too much air under it (the pass)," said Bomar. "I should have made that (throw)."
Following the interception of East quarterback Chad Henne (Reading, Penn.; Michigan) by Liam O'Hagan (Minneapolis, Minn.; undecided), the West struck for its first score of the game via Bomar to wide receiver Cameron Colvin (Concord, Calif.; undecided) on a 25-yard touchdown pass, which on television replays appeared to be incomplete, with 2:32 left in the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, the East went ahead 10-7 on a 29-yard field goal by Connor Barth (Wilmington, N.C., North Carolina). Later, the East scored again, this time on Toal's 13-yard touchdown run, his second of the game, good for a 17-7 lead with 3:46 left before halftime.
Just before halftime, however, the West clawed its way back into the game on Colvin's 10-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Matt Tuiasosopo (Woodinville, Wash.; Washington), cutting the East lead to 17-14.
The East extended its lead to 24-14 with 8:53 left in the third quarter on Henne's 6-yard pass to Nick Hayden (Hartland, Wis.; Wisconsin). Early in the fourth quarter, the West rallied back, scoring Peterson's classic 14-yard touchdown run, cutting the East lead to 24-21 with 13:36 remaining in the game.
Just eight seconds later, cornerback Ted Ginn Jr. (Cleveland, Ohio; Ohio State) proved why he is one of the most exciting high school football players in America with a dazzling 98-yard kick return. He earned the game's MVP honors.
The East put the game away for good on a 22-yard touchdown run by Raymond Williams (Cleveland, Ohio; undecided), extending their lead to 38-21 with 9:06 left in the game.
Peterson added his second touchdown with 7:32 left, but Toal erased all hopes of a West comeback on a 2-yard touchdown plunge with just over five minutes remaining in the game.
"We didn't win, so everything else really doesn't matter," said Peterson. "I'm pretty disappointed we lost."
Besides Peterson's stellar afternoon, Bomar also excelled as the West's primary signal-caller. His cannon right arm zinged the football for 107 yards on 7 of 16 passing, which included his interception and touchdown pass.
"It was fun," said Bomar, who started the game. "There were some great, really fast athletes out there. I had a good time."
Oklahoma's other commitments —East linebacker Chris Patterson and West safety Lendy Holmes — also played well. Patterson made two tackles, while Holmes was only credited with one tackle, but made several key coverage reads defensively.
"For me, I treated this like my first college game," said Holmes. "I really didn't have to make any adjustments."
Patterson said the play of Oklahoma's current commitments today further reinforced his expectations in Norman.
"It's a special group," said Patterson. "I think we're gonna win a few national championships."
Wide receiver Otis McDaniel III (San Antonio) received the loudest ovation during pre-game introductions. In the first quarter, the 4.3 speedster, who at point was offered a scholarship by Oklahoma, announced he has verbally committed to Texas Christian, choosing the Horned Frogs over Kansas State, Pittsburgh, Purdue and Wisconsin. Said McDaniel about not selecting the Sooners, "I heard they've already taken their three (wide) receivers this year."…According to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Game's roster, Oklahoma had the most committed players in the game with four, followed by Michigan and Texas (three players apiece)…With 5:51 left in the second quarter, the "wave" made its first complete rotation around the Alamodome…Game organizers were expecting a crowd of 30,000-plus, but one official attributed the game's lack of fans to the San Antonio Spurs' home game vs. the Philadelphia 76ers, which was played at 12:30 p.m., just 30 minutes after the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Game started. Still the alleged 25,813 fans set a new attendance record for the game...The halftime performance of pop singer Alicia Keys featured a midget wearing a #1 U.S. Army jersey…As expected, defensive end Jeff Schweiger Jr. (San Jose, Calif.) announced during the fourth quarter that he will attend Southern California. The 6-foot-5, 245-pounder had an offer from the Sooners, but also picked the Trojans over Miami, Michigan and Notre Dame. Said Schweiger: "I just did what felt right. I was more comfortable at SC."…Ginn Jr., who at one time was also considering the Sooners, announced he will attend Ohio State during the fourth quarter…Chris Patterson is already committed to Oklahoma, but that's not stopping him from talking to other Sooner prospects. During an interview with fellow Chicago player Roland Martin, a smiling Patterson was seen flashing the OU hand signal and overhead saying, "…he's gonna be a Sooner."…Neither Fred Davis (Toledo, Ohio; undecided) or Early Doucet (St. Martinsville, La.; undecided) considered by many to be the top wide receivers in the nation caught a pass in the game, prompting one recruit to say, "Damn, I guess they're not as good as we all thought."
Peterson shines bright in U.S. Army All-Star game
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