Norman, Okla. — Adrian Peterson carried the ball 24 times in No. 10 Oklahoma's 24-17 win over UAB Saturday night in Norman, but nothing was bigger than his only catch.
With his team trailing 17-14 with just under four minutes to go in the third quarter, Peterson caught a dump-off pass from Paul Thompson and scampered 69-yards down the west sideline to the south end zone, giving the Sooners the lead for good and helping them avoid a humiliating season-opening for the second straight season.
The Sooners and Blazers were tied at 7-7 at halftime, but a 6-play, 39-yard drive — all running plays — was capped by a 4-yard run by Peterson and gave OU a 14-7 lead at the 10:32 mark of the third quarter.
However, UAB fought back and scored 10 unanswered points, the last three coming on a 32-yard field goal that gave the Blazers their first lead of the game at 17-14 with 4:16 to go in the third quarter.
But UAB's lead would be short-lived, one minute and 47 seconds to be exact, as Peterson's catch and run came on the Sooners' first play from scrimmage following the Blazers' go-ahead field goal.
Peterson finished the day with 139 rushing yards, which pushed him ahead Greg Pruitt and into 7th place on the Oklahoma all-time rushing list. The Palestine, Texas native needs 947 yards to pass Billy Sims as the Sooners' all-time leading rusher.
Senior quarterback Paul Thompson was solid in his second career start throwing two touchdown passes and two interceptions, while completing 14 of his 24 pass attempts for a career-high 227 yards. The Leander, Texas should've had a third touchdown connection, but Juaquin Iglesias dropped a pass in the end zone and the Sooners were forced to settle for a Garrett Hartley field goal two plays later.
The Sooners, who saw potential scoring drives falter when they were intercepted twice in the red zone, only outgained the Blazers 370 to 304.
But the Oklahoma offense needs to give special thanks to Iglesias and punt returner Reggie Smith for helping set up the offense with great field position. Smith returned six punts for 67 yards, and the duo combined for 114 kick return yards on four attempts.
-- 08:12 OU - Finley, Joe Jon 21 yd pass from Thompson, Paul (Hartley, Garret kick), 2-46 0:37, UAB 0 - OU 7
--07:17 UAB - WHITE, Corey 5 yd run (MULLINS, Parker kick), 15-80 7:26, UAB 7 - OU 7
--10:32 OU - Peterson, Adria 4 yd run (Hartley, Garret kick), 6-39 2:20, UAB 7 - OU 14
--07:37 UAB - WHITE, Corey 24 yd pass from HUNT, Sam (WATERS, Swayze kick), 6-74 2:46, UAB 14 - OU 14
--04:16 UAB - WATERS, Swayze 32 yd field goal, 5-29 2:29, UAB 17 OU 14
--03:39 OU - Peterson, Adria 69 yd pass from Thompson, Paul (Hartley, Garret kick), 1-69 0:25, UAB 17 - OU 21
14:13 OU - Hartley, Garret 30 yd field goal, 5-24 1:58, UAB 17 - OU 24
RUSHING: UAB-HUNT, Sam 15-65; BURKS, Dan 13-38; WHITE, Corey 9-23; WILLIAMS, Chris 1-5; ELLIOTT, M. 1-5; TEAM 1-minus 1. Oklahoma Sooners-Peterson, Adrian 24-139; Thompson, Paul 4-6; TEAM 1-minus 2.
PASSING: UAB-HUNT, Sam 9-15-0-149; WILLIAMS, Chris 2-2-0-20. Oklahoma Sooners-Thompson, Paul 14-24-2-227.
RECEIVING: UAB-WHITE, Corey 4-53; EDWARDS, Willie 2-62; SLAUGHTER, R. 2-12; ELLIOTT, M. 1-28; ERWIN, Jordan 1-11; SIGLER, Davis 1-3. Oklahoma Sooners-Finley, Joe Jon 4-79; Kelly, Malcolm 3-28; Strong, Fred 3-27; Iglesias, Juaquin 2-10; Peterson, Adrian 1-69; Gresham, Jermaine 1-14.
SACKS (UA-A): UAB-REGISTER, B. 1-0. Oklahoma Sooners-Alexander, Rufu 1-0.
TACKLES (UA-A): UAB-EVANS, Will 3-4; KING, Orlandus 2-5; SANDERS, Kevin 5-1; REGISTER, B. 3-3; DUNBAR, Will 4-1; SMITH, Mustaki 0-5; MCELVEEN, J. 2-2; RESPRESS, C. 2-1; TAYLOR, Matt 0-3; JEFFRIES, B. 2-0; MULLINS, Parker 2-0; FELDER, Chris 1-1; MILLER, David 1-1; BISSINGER, K. 1-0; WATERS, Swayze 1-0; GUYTON, Kris 1-0; HAMLIN, Jason 1-0; HAYNES-DALTON 0-1; HENDERSON, Joe 0-1; LYKES, Stanley 0-1; MARK, Marcus 0-1; LANKFORD, Zach 0-1; BRITTEN, Zach 0-1. Oklahoma Sooners-Alexander, Rufus 4-6; Latimer, Zach 4-6; Birdine, Larry 4-3; Smith, Reggie 5-1; Bennett, Cory 3-3; Williams, Darien 4-1; Wolfe, D.J. 1-3; Clayton, Keenan 1-3; Thibodeaux, Cal 0-4; Harris, Nic 0-3; Patrick, Allen 2-0; Granger, DeMarc 0-2; Coleman, Steven 0-2; Baker, Lewis 1-0; Lofton, Curtis 0-1; Ah You, C.J. 0-1; Carter, Quinton 0-1.
Link to complete stats
Peterson's catch and run saves Sooners
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