Jan. 2, 2007
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -If this was Adrian Peterson's final game at Oklahoma, he tried to leave Sooners fans with a tremendous goodbye gift.
Silent through most of his first game in nearly three months, Peterson ran 25 yards for a score on the opening play of overtime, but could only watch as Boise State's Ian Johnson trumped it with the game-winning 2-point conversion run in the Broncos' 43-42 win over the seventh-ranked Sooners in the Fiesta Bowl on Monday night.
A sure-fire first-round NFL draft pick, Peterson has yet to announce whether he'll return for his senior season. The bruising, 6-foot-2 tailback would have millions of dollars awaiting him in the NFL. About the only thing that could keep him in college is a shot at two prizes that have eluded him - the Heisman Trophy and a national championship.
Playing in his first game since breaking his collarbone, the 2004 Heisman runner-up came up well shy of his goal of 200 yards and even the 151 yards he needed to break 1978 Heisman Trophy winner Billy Sims' school career record of 4,118.
He ended up with a season-low 77 yards on 20 carries but saved one last spectacular play as perhaps the finishing touch on an unforgettable career.
On the Sooners first play of overtime, Peterson swept left down the sideline and into the end zone to make it 42-35.
But he could only watch as Boise State pulled out all its tricks to win it.
As Johnson ran untouched around the left side with the handoff from a "Statue of Liberty" play, Peterson could only point to the left from the sideline. He then walked by himself toward the Sooners' locker room, perhaps for the final time.
The touchdown run would be a fitting end for a career that began in spectacular fashion.
As a freshman, Peterson reeled off an unprecedented nine straight 100-yard games and became the first frosh to finish as high as second in the Heisman Trophy voting. He set an NCAA freshman record with 1,925 yards rushing in helping the Sooners to the BCS title game, a 55-19 loss to Southern California.
After that, his path to greatness was blocked by injuries. He had shoulder surgery in the offseason following his freshman year and then missed parts of four games with a sprained ankle as a sophomore.
This season, it was a broken collarbone that abruptly ended his Heisman campaign. At the time of the Oct. 14 injury, Peterson was second in the nation in rushing. Without him, Oklahoma finished the season with seven straight wins - including one in the Big 12 title game - to earn a Fiesta Bowl berth and perhaps a more glorious exit for Peterson.
Peterson seemed to be checking out the atmosphere in pregame drills, gazing at all four corners of the stadium before starting passing drills in the north end zone.
He was one of the first Sooners to charge out behind the team's horse-drawn mascot, the Sooner Schooner, before the game and he shared a few moments with former Sooners fullback J.D. Runnels and roommate Marcus Walker along Oklahoma's sideline.
It was Peterson that ran alongside Juaquin Iglesias from the end zone to the 25-yard line after the receiver caught the tying 2-point conversion pass before leaping in the air and pumping his fist. He then joined roommate Marcus Walker near the eastern stands after the cornerback's 33-yard score on an interception return with 1:02 remaining put Oklahoma up 35-28.
Peterson again put the Sooners in the lead with his second touchdown run of the night, but it wasn't enough to claim a victory for Oklahoma.