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Peterson, Oklahoma run out of UAB's opening trap

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- It's all about Adrian for Oklahoma.

With Paul Thompson still settling in as Oklahoma's quarterback,
Adrian Peterson helped the 10th-ranked Sooners avert a second
straight season-opening disaster by running for 139 yards and
scoring twice in the second half of a 24-17 win over UAB on
Saturday night.

UAB's team physician had to be carted off
the field after a Blazer receiver collided with her along
the sidelines.

Willie Edwards had caught a 30-yard pass down UAB's sideline
before running out of bounds and slamming into Dr. Brenda Baumann
in front of a large cooling fan near the Blazers' bench. Baumann
was taken off the sidelines on a cart and taken to a hospital.

Her condition was not immediately known.

-- Associated Press

"I wouldn't say we escaped," Peterson said. "We came out and
we fought."

Thompson proved inconsistent in his return to quarterback after
nearly a year away, but Peterson took control by running for 83
yards in the second half as the Sooners' offense became almost
completely reliant on him.

Peterson got the ball only nine times in the first half, but the
Sooners (1-0) went to him on 11 straight plays after halftime. His
sixth carry in a row resulted in a 4-yard touchdown run for a 14-7
Sooners lead.

The 2004 Heisman runner-up later atoned for a fumble on his
eighth consecutive rush by taking a screen pass from Thompson 69
yards down the right sideline for a score that gave Oklahoma the
lead for good at 21-17.

"It might have looked like he was starting off a little slow,
but you can guarantee he's going to break a couple of them and
that's what he did," Thompson said. "So we kept feeding him the
rock and then taking the pass whenever we felt like we could take
it. It worked out the best for us."

When the string of 11 straight Peterson touches finally ended,
so did the Sooners' offensive success. Juaquin Iglesias dropped a
potential touchdown pass in the front of the end zone, and Oklahoma
had to settle for a 30-yard field goal by Garrett Hartley.

That proved to be enough, though. Swayze Waters missed a 43-yard
field goal to end one drive for UAB (0-1), and Oklahoma took
advantage of new NCAA timing rules to run off the final 2:22 after
the Blazers' final possession ended with a punt.

"Some might look at this as we looked kind of sloppy, but it is
definitely the first game. A win is a win," Thompson said. "We
definitely feel good. We feel like we can build on this."

Still, Oklahoma has to be wondering whether Thompson is an able
replacement for Rhett Bomar, who was dismissed last month after
investigators discovered he had broken NCAA rules by taking money
for work he did not perform at a Norman car dealership. Bomar led
OU to wins in six of its last seven games last season.

Thompson, who was the starter in Oklahoma's 17-10 upset loss to
TCU in the season opener last year, had no signs of rust early
after moving back to quarterback from receiver following Bomar's
dismissal. Thompson had been practicing exclusively at receiver
from the Sooners' win against Oregon in the Holiday Bowl last
December until fall camp began.

He opened 8-for-10, including two connections with tight end Joe
Jon Finley on a swift, two-play 46-yard scoring drive on Oklahoma's
second possession. Finley's wide-open grab along the right hash for
a 21-yard score put the Sooners up 7-0.

Thompson's production dropped off from there. Passes started
flying wide, short or high, and he had two throws picked off in the
final five minutes of the first half -- one on a deflection off
Iglesias' hands as he leaped to catch a high pass and another as
Chris Felder slid in front of Iglesias at the UAB 3 to prevent a
Sooners score.

In the second half, he threw only five passes as the Sooners
rode Peterson. Thompson finished with 227 yards on 14-for-24
passing with two interceptions and two touchdowns.

"I was very pleased. I anticipated he'd play well. I really did
feel good," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "He is very, very
capable and we really believe he's got a chance to be really
good."

UAB pulled starting quarterback Chris Williams -- who nearly led
the Blazers to an upset at No. 4 Georgia in a 16-13 loss in 2003 --
after two series without a first down, and junior Sam Hunt proved
to be an effective replacement.

He led a 15-play, 80-yard scoring drive that Corey White capped
with a 5-yard TD run. White later added a touchdown on a 24-yard
screen pass from Hunt, and the Blazers led 17-14 after Peterson's
fumble set up a 32-yard field goal by Waters.

Hunt completed 9 of 15 passes for 149 yards and also had 65
yards rushing.

It just wasn't enough to overcome Peterson.

"He is the best player we've seen in 12 years here, maybe the
best player I have ever seen," said UAB coach Watson Brown, the
brother of Texas coach and Oklahoma rival Mack Brown. "He will
touch the ball enough times that he is going to make enough plays
for them. They just keep going to him and he will figure out the
defense."