The Texas Longhorns entered the Red River Shootout, thinking this could be the year to end the losing streak. After all, they had the nations leading rusher in Cedric Benson. But the senior from West Texas was pounded all day by a relentless OU defense, and settled for a season low 92 yards. Instead, it was a freshman running back from East Texas who stole the show. 80,000 fans at the Cotton Bowl in one of the biggest college football games of the season is a long way from Wildcat Stadium in Palestine, but Adrian Peterson was up for the challenge.
"I was looking forward to this game," said Peterson, " just coming back to Texas and everything, just playing Texas, a team that I grew up liking my whole life, and it was really a good experience for me."
Peterson didn't touch the ball until Oklahoma's second series, but what a touch it was, scampering 44 yards and almost breaking it for a touchdown. His number would be called 31 more times. And, more than Heisman trophy winner Jason White or any other Sooner in the game, Peterson was the key to Oklahoma's 5th straight Red River Shootout win. He ran for a career high 225 yards, coming up with big runs that set up each of the Sooners scores. Along the way, became the first back in Oklahoma history to rush for 100 yards in his first 5 games. But, despite his outstanding performance, his coach was reluctant to single him out.
"Adrian again came up with some great big plays and broke some tackles," said Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops, "and I thought again Kejuan (Jones) came in and complimented him well and made a difference too."
Of course, the man who lost the recruiting battle for Peterson was quick to praise his performance.
"Peterson is really good," said Texas Head Coach Mack Brown. "He's going to be a great player at OU and we knew that and he's done that about every week and I thought he made some great plays today."
"I really didn't think about the yards while I was playing," added Peterson. "I just went out there and ran the ball, and after the game coach told me I got 200 and something yards and it feels kind of good."
By the fourth quarter, the Oklahoma fans were chanting "5-in-a-row" and had to feel giddy about the prospect of extending that streak with Peterson around for three more years.
"I'm ready to do it again next year," said Peterson.