Balanced Sooners pull away late

Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson rushed for 183 yards and two touchdowns in the Sooners' 31-7 win over Oregon Saturday in Norman. Oklahoma finished with 214 yards on the ground and 213 passing yards. (AP Photo/Jerry Laizure)<br>

NORMAN, Okla. — No Dusty Dvoracek? No Kejuan Jones? No problem.

The Oklahoma defense had no problem adjusting to life without the former captain, and the offense rolled on after Jones' first quarter ankle injury in their 31-7 rout of Oregon Saturday in Norman.

True freshman running back Adrian Peterson stole the show offensively rushing for 183 yards and scoring two second half touchdowns to help the Sooners pull away for good. The Palestine, Texas also native became the first Oklahoma freshman to reach the century mark in each of his first three games.

"I thought Adrian was really special again tonight," said Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops. "I'm really impressed with his speed and ability to break away and make some big plays."

"(Oklahoma) is a big, physical team," said Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti. "Their running backs are great. Adrian Peterson is a heck of a back. When he's fresh, he's hard to tackle."

Oklahoma struggled early against Oregon's defense, fumbling once in the red zone, but got on the board on the first play of the second quarter with a 35-yard field goal by Trey DiCarlo.

The Sooners then pushed the lead to 10-0 when Jason White capped a 10-play, 73-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown pass to James Moses with 6:19 to go in the half. White finished the day 17-of-23 for 213 yards.

Junior running back Donta Hickson, playing in place of the injured Jones whose ankle injury is not believed to be serious, helped the Sooners extend the lead to 17-0 midway through the third quarter with a 25-yard touchdown run.

Oregon quickly responded when Kellen Clemens hit fullback Donte Rosario out of the backfield for a 30-yard touchdown pass at the 4:15 mark of the third quarter to cut the Sooners' lead to 17-7.

However, from that point on it was the Adrian Peterson show, as the freshman ripped off a 40-yard TD run late in the third quarter and a spectacular 18-yard score with 3:36 to go in the game to help the Sooners pull away for good.

"They felt pretty good," said Peterson on his two touchdown runs. "The guys up front opened up holes for me. I feel like I'm getting better every game. I'm learning more each week."

"He's coming along week by week," said Jason White. "He's learned from his mistakes from previous games. He's doing a better job with it. He's out there before and after practice working on his steps and pass protection. He wants to get better."

But Peterson wasn't the only Sooner to make history on Saturday. Senior receiver Mark Clayton broke Quentin Griffin's career reception record with his third catch in the first quarter. In all, Clayton finished with six catches for 91 yards.

"Everybody knows how good he is. He works hard and deserves the record more than anybody," White said.

"I'm just glad we won," said Clayton when asked about the record. "Oregon was tough and we knew coming in they were really good offensively and defensively."

Defensivley, the Sooners were impressive shutting out the Ducks in the first half and holding them to just four yards on six plays in the first quarter.

Overall, the Oklahoma defense held an Oregon offense that racked up nearly 500 yards of offense in their opener to 321 total yards and just 4.6 yards per pass. The Sooners stopped the Ducks from scoring three times in the end end zone. Gayron Allen sacked Clemens and forced a fumble that was recovered by Lance Mitchell in the second quarter, and Brodney Pool blocked a field goal midway through the fourth quarter that would've cut OU's lead to 24-10.

"I think any time we can hold teams to seven points, then we have a good opportunity to win," said Stoops. "Oregon milked a few plays here and there, but our defense was really pretty decent. Once again, I thought we were really strong and that's pleasing as well."

"I'm really proud of the way they played," Stoops continued. "I felt like the first half was tight and they were still in there, but the guys were really solid. I look back on it and know we have the one turnover in the red zone. Outside of that, it was pretty decent offensively and the defense really played well. In the second half, it was good how it all progressed. We just kept building on the lead and I really liked the way we played after the second half. Overall, it's a good win."

The Sooners will take next week off before starting Big 12 conference play in two weeks against Texas Tech in Norman.

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