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
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
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
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.