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Sooners tailback sets freshman rushing record

It did not take long for Adrian Peterson to make history on Tuesday night.

Peterson passed Wisconsin's Ron Dayne in the NCAA record book with an 8-yard carry in the second quarter of the Orange Bowl at Pro Player Stadium.

The Oklahoma tailback needed 21 yards to set the freshman rushing record held by Dayne, who had 1,863 yards in 1996.

FILLING BIG SHOES: USC's Dwayne Jarrett was so homesick he nearly left Los Angles several times for his home in New Brunswick, N.Y. Now the 18-year-old freshman receiver is glad he stuck it out. And so are the Trojans.

Jarrett knew things would be different just before the season when star USC receiver Mike Williams of Tampa was declared ineligible by the NCAA after a failed attempt to enter the NFL draft. The 6-foot-5, 195-pound Jarrett completed the regular season with 50 receptions for 734 yards and 12 touchdowns.

"I was excited for the opportunity. I was excited to get in there and help the team," Jarrett said. "I knew I always had the talent, so I just had to settle down."

ALWAYS RIVALS: Oklahoma no doubt was glad that rival Texas got a spot in the Rose Bowl. It was a big payoff for the Big 12, which shares all revenues. Asked if he was rooting for the Longhorns, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops could not bring himself to say yes.

"I'm not going to answer that. I'd have to be honest," Stoops said. "The worst part of the BCS, and I said it on TV, is it had me sitting at home rooting for Texas the last two weeks of the year. What is that?"

"WHAT'S NEXT?': The Walt Disney Co. gave a theme park ticket to each of the more than 72,000 fans attending the game to promote the 50th anniversary of its Disneyland park in California. Disney planned to use reactions from the crowd in its "What's Next?" commercial by getting the crowd to shout "I'm going to Disneyland!"

WHAT DEFENSE?: Oklahoma entered the Orange Bowl with the nation's fifth-ranked scoring defense, only allowing 35 points twice this season _ in wins over Texas A&M and Oklahoma State _ but Southern Cal scored more than that in the opening half. The 38 points in the opening 30 minutes is the most points the Sooners have ever given up in a bowl game. The old mark was 36 points by Florida State in the 1965 Gator Bowl.

ORANGE BOWL HISTORY: The USC-Oklahoma game was the 16th time in the past 50 years that a national championship has been decided at the Orange Bowl. But there had been just three previous 1 vs. 2 meetings in the game. No. 2 Florida State defeated No. 1 Nebraska after the 1993 season for the Seminoles' first national championship. Miami's 20-14 victory over Oklahoma in 1988 was also No. 2 defeating No. 1. After the 1971 season, No. 1 Nebraska finished a 13-0 season with a 38-6 victory over No. 2 Alabama.

It was the sixth opportunity for Oklahoma to win a title in the game, having won four of its previous five. The Sooners defeated Florida State for the 2000 title, Penn State for the 1985 championship, Michigan for the '75 title and Maryland in '55. The only OU defeat with a title on the line was to Miami after the 1987 season. USC's only other appearance in the Orange Bowl was two years ago, a 38-17 victory over Iowa.

_ BOB HARIG, Times staff writer and

MICHAEL SNYDER, Times correspondent

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