Jones, Peterson carry Sooners past Bowling Green

Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson (pictured left) tries to get past two Bowling Green defenders during the Sooners 40-24 win over Bowling Green Saturday in Norman. Peterson, a true freshman, rushed for 100 yards on 16 carries while KeJuan Jones ran for a career-high 148 yards on 42 carries. (AP Photo/Jerry Laizure)

NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma's hard work to improve their running game in the offseason paid off in a big way during Saturday's season opener against Bowling Green.

KeJuan Jones and Adrian Peterson combined for 258 rushing yards and two touchdowns as the second-ranked Sooners ran past the Falcons, 40-24, before a record crowd (84,319) Saturday in Norman.

"Their running backs were hard to tackle," said Bowling Green Head Coach Gregg Brandon. "No. 20 (Kejuan Jones) and No. 28 (Adrian Peterson) were hard to tackle. We had to swarm to tackle those guys. It's tough to sustain that intensity for four quarters. I think that's what got us — them running the ball pretty effectively."

Jones led the way with a career-high 148 yards, while Peterson, a true freshman from Palestine, Texas, finished with 100 yards on 16 carries in his first game as a Sooner.

"We're really pleased with the attitude running the football," said Sooner Head Coach Bob Stoops, who improved to 6-0 in season openers at Oklahoma. "I thought Kejuan Jones was outstanding. It doesn't surprise us. Kejaun has always been very solid, great with the football and he gives you everything he has. Adrian made his mark, really stepped in and made some nice plays."

The Sooners' 266 yards on the ground was the second-highest total during the Stoops era.

"I think we made a big statement today," said Jones, who also tallied a career-high 32 carries. "Offensively, we haven't rushed for that many yards in a long time. We wanted to send a statement to the whole world telling them that we have a running game here, and don't forget about the passing game either."

"It is important to have as many running backs as we've got and keep each other going," said Peterson, who became the first true freshman running back to reach the century mark in his first game under Stoops. "We don't care who's in there. We're just there for each other."

Speaking of the passing game, it wasn't too shabby either as Heisman Trophy winner Jason White threw three touchdown passes and en route to completing 21 of his 31 pass attempts for 238 yards.

White and the Sooners set the tone early on their first drive of the season with an 11-play, 61 yard drive, which was capped by a 6-yard touchdown pass to Mark Clayton to give the Sooners a quick 7-0 lead at the 7:16 mark of the first quarter.

Bowling Green then capitalized when the Sooners fumbled on their next possession at the 29-yard line, and tied the game three plays later with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Omar Jacobs to Charles Sharon to tie the game at 7-7.

The Sooners answered on their next drive when Jones capped a 9-play, 65 yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown run up the middle with 12:48 to go in the half.

Bowling Green responded on their next drive with a 47-yard field goal to cut the lead to 14-10 at the 9:43 mark. But the Sooners quickly struck back with 10 unanswered points to end the half with a 9-yard touchdown pass from White to Clayton and a 27-yard Trey DiCarlo field goal to go up 24-10 at halftime. Clayton finished with 74 yards and seven catches.

Oklahoma then stretched the lead to 37-10 in the third quarter with a White touchdown pass to Will Peoples and a 35-yard touchdown run by Peterson.

"I kind of bounced of the blocks. I was just determined to get in the end zone. I don't really remember much of it," said Peterson on his touchdown run. "Coach told me when I went in to keep it tight. I have to be patient and work on running in the holes. You have to be patient and they'll be there. I like going full speed. I need to slow down a little bit. It's a lot faster than high school, but it's not too much different."

The Falcons made a run early in the fourth quarter with 14 straight points, the last score coming of a 28-yard interception return, But it wasn't enough. The Sooners went back to the run game on their next possession and sustained a 17-play, eight minute and 57 second drive in the fourth quarter that resulted in a 24-yard DiCarlo field goal to go up 40-24.

"We had the game in a strong fashion and then we make a bad play that puts them right back in it. We fought back and took control again," said Stoops on the fourth quarter drive. "We go from up 27, looking like we've got a chance to get things really in control, and the defense gives up its only drive of the day. The score gets within 20 and all of a sudden it's a game again. I appreciate the character of our offense. They came out and ran the ball down the field for about eight minutes."

"We knew they were going to be a good team coming in," said senior defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek. "That's what you want — for them to test us in the end and see what we're made of. They made us dig down deep. It's always better to play a good game than come in and have a blowout."

With the win the Sooners pushed their home winning streak to 16 games and improved their all-time record in season openers to 84-20-6.

OU-Bowling Green Stats

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