NORMAN, Okla. -- Last month, Adrian Peterson told The Oklahoman the one thing that could keep him from leaving for the NFL after this season was a major injury. But the Sooner star probably never expected that possibility to come into play.
Peterson, a Heisman Trophy hopeful and the fourth-leading rusher in Oklahoma history, broke his collarbone on a dive into the end zone Saturday, and will miss the rest of the regular season.
Peterson was injured on his last carry of the game -- a 53-yard
scoring run with about 6:40 remaining that completed the
23rd-ranked Sooners' 34-9 win over Iowa State.
Peterson ran for 183 yards and two touchdowns.
"My goals when I got here were to win a national championship first and then have an opportunity to win the Heisman," Peterson told The Oklahoman in September. "Those are the things I want to do, but the only thing right now I know for a fact that would keep me [at Oklahoma] next year is a major injury. God willing, that won't happen."
How Saturday's injury will affect Peterson's draft status for April's NFL Draft is not yet known. Peterson has been projected as a Top 5 pick.
Peterson, a junior who has 1,030 yards this season and entered
the weekend as the nation's fourth-leading rusher, was second in
Heisman voting as a freshman. He was playing for the first time in
years before his father, who had spent about eight years in federal
prison for money laundering.
"Just diving into the end zone and when he landed, he landed
wrong," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "At this point it looks
like the best thing, the earliest he would be ready to play, would
be a bowl game."
Sooner quarterback Paul Thompson said the team will have to find
a way to keep going.
"A.D. is the focal point not only of this offense but the
team," Thompson said. "It's big, so a lot of guys are going to
have to step up. Not just other running backs. This team as a whole
is going to have to step up and pull an extra load.
"He was obviously a great back, one of the best backs in the
Peterson set an NCAA freshman record with 1,925 rushing yards in
2004 as he helped lead Oklahoma to the BCS title game, where the
Sooners lost to Southern California. He had rushed for at least 100
yards in 22 of his 30 games at Oklahoma, including nine straight to
start his career.
His performance Saturday moved him into fourth place on
Oklahoma's all-time rushing list. He would need only 150 to match
1978 Heisman Trophy winner Billy Sims' total of 4,118 yards.
"I'm still not even trying to think about an offense without
him, but I guess it is reality," receiver Malcolm Kelly said.
"We're going to have to come out and play, man. Everybody came
here to play football, and that's what we're going to have to do.
We're going to have to do it to a higher level than we've been
Despite all that success, Peterson had been fairly injury-prone
in his Oklahoma career. He dislocated his left shoulder in fall
practice in 2004, reaggravated it during the regular season and
then had surgery in the offseason.
He missed one game last season and was severely limited in three
others with a sprained right ankle.
Peterson's backup, junior Allen Patrick, another I-back style runner, will take over the primary ball-carrying duties with Peterson out, ESPN.com's Ivan Maisel reports. On the season, Patrick has 18 carries for 62 yards, with a long gain of 15.
Jacob Gutierrez, a Quentin Griffin-style back who helped fill in
for Peterson after his injury last season, will likely also see some time.
"We won't make any rash decisions," offensive coordinator
Kevin Wilson said. "I don't think the offense is going to change
ESPN's Joe Schad and The Associated Press contributed to this report.