Big XII Champs: Peterson, White, D lead the way

Several Sooners, including Mark Bradley, Jason White, Adrian Peterson and Lynn McGruder, pose with the Big 12 championship trophy after their 42-3 win over Colorado Saturday night in Kansas City. The win marked OU's third Big 12 title in five years. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Dominant. There's no other word to describe Oklahoma's perfomance in Saturday's Big 12 Championship game in Kansas City.

Jason White threw three touchdown passes, Adrian Peterson ran for three, and the defense embarrassed Colorado's offense in the second-ranked Sooners 42-3 rout over the Buffaloes.

"We came out and executed all parts of the game in a great way today," said OU Head Coach Bob Stoops, who is now 3-1 in Big 12 title games. "Outside of a few penalties, I don't have much as a coach to complain about.

"We hadn't really clicked or put it all together, and the last couple of weeks it has been awfully close. It really hit tonight, definitely. We played like we are capable of and executed all parts of the game."

"They played the game the way it's supposed to be played," said Colorado Head Coach Gary Barnett. "I thought that they just took it right at us, and especially with the defense. We really struggled with the pressures. Not much to say, other than give them a great deal of credit and accept the responsibility for the poor performance on our part."

Needing a strong showing to lock down their No. 2 ranking in the BCS standings and a berth in the Orange Bowl, second-ranked Oklahoma jumped on Colorado from the opening kick-off, scoring on their first three possessions, and never looked back.

White, who moved past Josh Heupel as Oklahoma's all-time leading passer in the first quarter with a 12-yard pass to Mark Bradley, led OU down the field on the games' opening drive and hooked up with Will Peoples for a 5-yard connection to put the Sooners up 7-0 at the 10:21 mark fo the first quarter.

The Tuttle, Okla. native then hit Mark Clayton on a 22-yard strike with 5:29 to go in the first quarter, and would find his favorite target again on the very next drive for another 22-yarder at the 14:53 mark of the second quarter to extend the lead to 21-0. In all, White completed 22 of his 29 attempts for 254 yards.

Peterson, who finished with 172 yards on 28 carries, finally found the end zone with a 1-yard run at the six minute mark of the second quater. The freshman from Palestine, Texas then found paydirt again in the second quarter with a 3-yard run, and then capped the scoring with a spectacular 32-yard run to push the lead to 42-3 with 12:53 to go in the game.

With his effort, Peterson, moved into second on Oklahoma's single-season rushing chart behind Billy Sims and broke the NCAA record for freshman with his 11th 100-yard rushing effort this season.

The Sooner offense finished with 498 yards of total offense to Colorado's 46, the lowest ever allowed during the Stoops era.

"Jason was able to really sit back and just about do whatever he wanted to do," Barnett said. "I was really impressed with both he and Peterson and their offensive line. he has a complete package there to work with, but he was very, very accurate, seemed to run the show, do everything he wanted to do. They are really good."

Oklahoma's defense forced three turnovers and held the Buffs to just three first downs (two on penalties) and -4 rushing yards on 16 attempts. Colorado quarterback Joel Klatt only completed 8 of his 26 pass attempts for 52 yards.

"In a championship game to play this way defensively was so impressive," said Stoops on the defense's performance. "The guys were just sound, no busts, tackled well, good defensive penetration against the run game. Those coaches, Bobby (Jack Wright), Bo (Pelini), Jackie (Shipp) really had them ready to play and had a great game plan."

"Mo (Dampeer) looked like he was playing DB out there knocking balls down. The entire D-ends, Dan (Cody), JJ (Jonathan Jackson), Larry (Birdine), the guys had great penetration. The guys inside, Lynn (McGruder) and Mo was in there a lot. And Carl (Pendleton) really disrupted the line of scrimmage. I thought that was the biggest key defensively is the fact that we really were great against the run game is what we always want to be. That's where it starts for us."

The big question now is if the Sooners will lock up a berth in the Orange Bowl to play for the BCS Championship. Barnett says the Sooners belong.

"I don't think there is any question about it," said Barnett when asked if Oklahoma deserved a spot in the Orange Bowl. "We hadn't played all the others, but we sure played a good one today, complete team. Playing them last year and playing them twice the year before, to me, they are much more complete team than I have ever seen."

With the win, the Sooners wrapped up the 39th conference title in school history and third Big 12 title in the last five years.

OU-Colorado Box Score

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