NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Things went a little better for Paul Thompson and Oklahoma this time around.
Thompson threw two touchdown passes and the 10th-ranked Sooners leaned on star running back Adrian Peterson in the second half to hold on for a 24-17 victory over UAB in the season opener for both schools.
Last year, Thompson entered the season as the starter against TCU and was ineffective, completing just 11-of-26 passes for 109 yards and an interception in a 17-10 upset loss to the Horned Frogs.
Thompson was moved to wide receiver in week two last season but was shifted back to quarterback after Rhett Bomar was dismissed from the team on August 2 after an investigation revealed he received payment in excess of time worked at a local auto dealership.
Thompson got off to a strong start this year, tossing a 21-yard touchdown pass to Joe John Finley to give the Sooners a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
UAB evened the game on a five-yard run by Corey White and Thompson threw a pair of interceptions in the second quarter as the teams went into the break tied at 7-7.
Oklahoma scored on three of its four possessions in the third quarter as it made a concerted effort to get Peterson the ball. After just nine touches in the first half, the Sooners called Peterson's number 11 consecutive times to start the second half, including a four-yard TD run that gave Oklahoma a 14-7 lead.
"We have got to be better," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "We can't turn the ball over four times and win. We got lucky.
"I was pleased with what I did see. I saw Paul make a lot of nice throws and reads and he handled the offense in a good way. I saw AD run like he is capable of running. We just have to take care of the ball and I believe we have the chance to continue to get better and better."
The Blazers did not fold, taking the lead on a 24-yard TD pass from Sam Hunt to White and a 32-yard field goal by Swayze Waters.
But UAB could not find a way to stop Peterson. The junior sensation finished with 139 yards on 24 carries and his only reception went for a 69-yard TD that gave Oklahoma the lead for good, 21-17, with 4:04 left in the third quarter.
Thompson completed 14-of-24 passes for 227 yards for Oklahoma, which received a 30-yard field goal from Garrett Hartley to cap the scoring in the first minute of the fourth quarter.
"I am very pleased," Stoops said of Thompson. "I anticipated he would play well. I really did feel good because he is very capable.
"We really believe that he has a chance to be really good. We just have to keep working him and get better as we work through the year. Guys around him have got to make plays, too."
UAB went three-and-out on its last two possessions, and Oklahoma ran out the clock behind Peterson as the Sooners improved to 7-1 in season openers and 42-2 at home under Stoops.
Hunt was 9-of-15 for 149 yards and added 62 yards rushing on 16 carries for UAB, which has won just two of its last 16 games against ranked foes.
"Sam is Sam and you saw what he is," UAB coach Watson Brown said. "He is as tough as nails and I thought he had great poise for a kid that was playing in his first game. I was proud of him."
It was the first meeting between the schools.
"It's tough. I'm proud of the guys, but we are all disappointed," Brown said. "We still have to play a little better - some of the big plays on defense and too many penalties to make up on offense. You can't rely on making all the plays on those guys. You've got to play just as well as you can play to beat them."
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O-Zone Coverage | Get in the O-Zone | 2006 Multimedia
The O-Zone at SoonerSports.com continues its total coverage of the 2006 season with complete video and audio features on the Sooners.
O-Zone Video Coverage
Watch 2006 OU Football Intro Video No. 1
OU vs. UAB O-Zone Game Highlights
Post-Game Press Conference from the Big Red Room
Coach Stoops' Comments After Reviewing Game Film
O-Zone Post-Game Locker Room Audio
Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables
Offensive Coordinator Kevin Wilson
No. 19 - Tight End Joe Jon Finley
No. 12 - Quarterback Paul Thompson
No. 92 - Defensive End Larry Birdine
No. 50 - Center Jon Cooper
No. 42 - Linebacker Rufus Alexander
No. 28 - Running Back Adrian Peterson