Peterson powers Sooners past Tulsa

Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson away from Tulsa defenders on a 41-yard touchdown during the Sooners' 34-15 win over Tulsa Saturday in Norman. In all, Peterson rushed rushed for 220 yards and accounted for 88 percent of Oklahoma's total yardage on offense. (AP Photo/Jerry Laizure)

NORMAN, Okla. — It was the Adrian Peterson show Saturday in Norman.

Despite a non-existent passing game with freshman Rhett Bomar making his first start, No. 18 Oklahoma used the strong legs of their sophomore running back to overcome a 9-7 third quarter deficit and run away with a 31-15 win over Tulsa.

In the second half it was all Peterson, who finished the day 220 rushing yards and three touchdowns, including a 41-yard touchdown scamper late in the game on fourth and short to seal with win, as the Sooners didn't attempt a pass in the second half.

"We ran it well and did what we needed to do. It was good to get a win again, anyway you do it," said OU head coach Bob Stoops.

The sophomore from Palestine, Texas, who became just the 26th Sooner to reach the 2,000-yard rushing mark during his career, was also the Sooners' leading receiver catching two passes for 17 yards.

In all, Peterson accounted for 88 percent of OU's total offense and touched the ball on 58.6 percent of Oklahoma's plays.

"I have a lot of respect for him," said Tulsa head coach Steve Kragthorpe. "We kind of employed the theory that we were going to knock him down before he could get started. Once he gets a good start, he's going to run well on the straightaway and we didn't want him to have the straightaway.

"We wanted to have him have to turn and bounce outside and keep him from going north and south. Because I'm telling you, once that sucker gets north/south, look out. He's impressive."

Peterson gave the Sooners a quick 7-0 lead early with a one-yard touchdown run at the 8:36 mark of the first quarter, capping a 10-play, 41-yard drive on OU's first possession of the game.

But from that point on, Oklahoma's offense sputtered with just 51 yards of offense the rest of the half, while Tulsa added two field goals in the second quarter to cut the lead to 7-6 at halftime.

The Golden Hurricane then came out on their first possession of the second half and took a 9-7 lead on a 19-yard Brad DeVault field goal with 5:36 to go in the third quarter.

But Oklahoma quickly responded one minute and 20 seconds later, when Peterson carried the ball on every down in a five-play, 58-yard drive, which he finished with a one-yard touchdown run to give the Sooners the lead back at 14-9 with 4:16 left in the third.

Then, after a quick three and out stop of Tulsa by the Oklahoma defense, it was Peterson's 23-yard run that set up a nine-yard field goal by Garrett Hartley to push the lead to 17-9 with 14:19 to go in the game.

Tulsa then marched down the field on their next possession with a 13-play, 70-yard drive that cut the lead to 17-15 after a one-yard touchdown run by P.J. Smith. However, Tulsa quarterback Paul Smith's two-point conversion pass attempt sailed out of the back of the end zone.

Oklahoma, backed up to the nine-yard line after a holding call on the ensuing kick-off and needing a score to put the game away for good, did just that using an 11-play, 91-yard drive with the big play coming from — you guessed it — Adrian Peterson.

Peterson, who carried the ball on 10 of the 11 plays in the drive, broke through several tackles on a fourth and short play en route to a 41-yard touchdown run with 3:04 left in the game to push the lead to 24-15.

Bomar, a redshirt freshman from Grand Prairie, Texas, completed just five of his 13 pass attempts for 42 yards and two interceptions, picked up a key first down in the final drive with a scramble on third and 10 to keep the drive going.

The Sooners would also tack on a 48-yard interception return by linebacker Clint Ingram with three seconds left to get in the game.

Nevertheless, Stoops was still concerned with Oklahoma's anemic passing attack after the loss.

"We need to develop a passing game that our players can execute," Stoops said. "For whatever reason, for the past two weeks what we have been doing hasn't been productive. That is being about as kind as I can be.

"We are not going to continue to go through the year like this and not be able to throw the football some. We have to do a better job than what we are doing."

OU-Tulsa Box Score

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