3:30 PM ET, September 9, 2006
Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, NORMAN, OK
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Paul Thompson found his go-to receiver and Oklahoma found its stride in the second half against Washington.
Thompson threw two touchdown passes to Malcolm Kelly, and Adrian Peterson ran for 165 yards and two scores as No. 15 Oklahoma pulled away from Washington in the second half Saturday for a 37-20 win.
Thompson broke a 13-13 tie on Oklahoma's first possession of the second half when he found Kelly racing down the right side for a 35-yard TD to put the Sooners (2-0) ahead for the first time and begin a string of 24 straight points.
"We're not surprised by anything he's done so far," Thompson said of Kelly. "He's going to continue to do more and more of that."
Thompson said the Sooners expected to be able to hit some big plays, and they didn't give up on it. Kelly, the only Oklahoma player with more than 20 career receptions entering this season, was the logical target.
"I don't want to get him too confident right now, but he's definitely got potential to be a big-time receiver not only here but at the next level," said Thompson, who finished with 272 yards on 21-of-33 passing with one interception.
Kelly had a career-high 121 yards on six catches.
Garrett Hartley made it 23-13 with his third field goal of the day, a 30-yarder, after Jason Carter blocked Washington's punt on its next drive.
The Huskies (1-1) had a chance to pull closer when Chris Stevens forced a fumble by Thompson that Scott White recovered at the Oklahoma 4, but Washington quarterback Isaiah Stanback fumbled on the next play.
Thompson and Kelly hooked up again for a 42-yard pickup on the ensuing drive, and Peterson scored on a 17-yard run on the next play. Peterson added a 1-yard TD run after he had converted a fourth-and-1 with just over four minutes to play.
Oklahoma had been unimpressive in its opener, committing four turnovers and allowing UAB to run over its defense with a bevy of missed tackles. The Sooners weren't much better through the first half against Washington.
But Oklahoma's defense got stingy, limiting the Huskies to three first downs on their first five drives after halftime, and Thompson was 9-of-11 for 170 yards after halftime in his second start since replacing dismissed starter Rhett Bomar.
"It definitely feels good to get out there show everybody that we're all right, we're fine," Thompson said. "I think that the people scared were people on the outside of this team. Everyone within this organization felt real comfortable about where we were at."
Stoops said the difference on defense was execution.
"Adjustments? We didn't make any," Stoops said. "A lot of times there isn't any magic to it. It's just playing better."
Peterson, who had been criticized by offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson this week for blocking poorly and looking too much for the big play, had 107 of his yards rushing in the second half and moved into sixth place on Oklahoma's career rushing list.
"I would not necessarily say that he challenged me. There were things that I didn't get done," Peterson said. "Whatever things I was doing right I just kept trying to do."
Louis Rankin led Washington with 112 yards on 17 carries, and Stanback was 9-of-22 for 139 yards. Carl Bonnell threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Sonny Shackelford in relief of Stanback in the second half.
The loss dropped Tyrone Willingham to 0-6 against ranked opponents with Washington. He had been 7-7 against ranked teams in his three years at Notre Dame.
"We only came here for one reason. We came here to win a football game," Willingham said.
Washington scored on its first play from scrimmage, when Kenny James squeezed through a hole at the line of scrimmage, spun through safety Keenan Clayton's arms and raced the rest of the way untouched for a 54-yard score.
Special teams put Oklahoma in position to answer. Allen Patrick downed Michael Cohen's punt dat the 1-yard line, and Reggie Smith returned Washington's ensuing punt 62 yards after allowing it to fly over his head.
After Smith's return, Oklahoma needed only four plays to cover the final 22 yards, capped by Thompson's 4-yard strike to Kelly.
Michael Braunstein hit field goals of 32 and 24 yards in the first half for Washington, and Hartley answered with kicks of 44 and 37 yards for the Sooners.
Washington's Sean Douglas was credited with an 82-yard punt, the longest in school history, because of a misplay by Smith. He had an 81-yard kick in the fourth quarter.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Adrian Peterson scored on a 17-yard run in the last minute of the third quarter to give Oklahoma a 30-13 lead.
Gameball goes to... Peterson and QB Paul Thompson are easy choices, but how about WR Malcolm Kelly, who caught six passes for 119 yards and two TDs.
Stat of the game... 205-177: Washington actually won the rushing battle by 28 yards. Of course it took the Huskies six more carries to accomplish that feat.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||6-16||5-12|
|4th Down Conversions||0-2||1-1|
|TD||12:16||KENNY JAMES 54 YD RUN (MICHAEL BRAUNSTEIN KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 54 yards.
|TD||5:46||MALCOLM KELLY 7 YD PASS FROM PAUL THOMPSON (GARRETT HARTLEY KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 22 yards.
|FG||13:06||MICHAEL BRAUNSTEIN 32 YD FG|
Drive info: 9 plays, 47 yards.
|FG||8:58||GARRETT HARTLEY 44 YD FG|
Drive info: 9 plays, 36 yards.
|FG||3:31||MICHAEL BRAUNSTEIN 24 YD FG|
Drive info: 13 plays, 73 yards.
|FG||0:49||GARRETT HARTLEY 37 YD FG|
Drive info: 12 plays, 55 yards.
|TD||11:15||MALCOLM KELLY 35 YD PASS FROM PAUL THOMPSON (GARRETT HARTLEY KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 69 yards.
|FG||7:02||GARRETT HARTLEY 30 YD FG|
Drive info: 5 plays, 13 yards.
|TD||0:56||ADRIAN PETERSON 17 YD RUN (GARRETT HARTLEY KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 92 yards.
|TD||2:48||ADRIAN PETERSON 1 YD RUN (GARRETT HARTLEY KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||1:27||SONNY SHACKELFORD 2 YD PASS FROM CARL BONNELL (MICHAEL BRAUNSTEIN KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 63 yards.