NORMAN — For the first time since youth league, Nelson Peterson finally got his chance to watch his son play football in person.

For him and the rest of the Gaylord Family/ Memorial Stadium crowd, it very well could have been a one-stop farewell tour.

On a 53-yard touchdown run that capped a performance both were certain to relish during a scheduled postgame press conference, Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson broke his left collarbone after an ankle tackle caused him to fall off-balance into the end zone. Doctors determined the extent of the injury and, as coach Bob Stoops broke to the media in a second visit to the postgame press Q and A, Peterson will be out until perhaps a bowl game at the earliest — casting a pall on a 34-9 victory over Iowa State and possibly the remainder of the season.

That father and son postgame chat never materialized.

Adrian, who didn’t play after the fall and finished with 183 yards on 26 carries, stayed in the locker room. Nelson, fresh from seven years of prison time in Texas for a money laundering charge, declined to go in alone.

“He was moping a little,” wide receiver Malcolm Kelly said of his teammate. “His dad was just saying ‘Keep your head up.’”

That’s the task ahead for Kelly and the rest of the offensive unit, which since August have lost their projected starting quarterback (Rhett Bomar) and now, their franchise running back. No doubt, Stoops along with offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson will have a busy Sunday charting a new course.

They’ll need a new compass for sure, lost without not only Peterson as a playmaker, but as an offensive leader.

“Quite honestly, that will be missed as much as his ability to make plays,” Wilson said. “He was bringing a lot of things behind the table to help the young linemen and young receivers mature.”

Those are still developing projects as Peterson was nearly half the offense on Saturday yardage-wise. While OU scored on four of its five first-half possessions, it stumbled a bit in the second half. Only 133 of its 380 total yards were managed after the half, a good chunk on Peterson’s final run with 6:35 to play.

“We weren’t as physical as we need to be in the running game. We had some negatives in the passing game — some sacks and dropped some passes,” Wilson said. “We’ve got to ask our guys to mature and keep going.”

At times better at pass blocking than run blocking, it seems certain that greater attention will be placed on maximizing a passing game and a horde of talented but developing receivers. The running game, at this point, appears to be one of committee. Junior Allen Patrick heads the depth chart, with junior Jacob Gutierrez having seen some playing time. Norman freshman Mossis Madu and Las Vegas freshman DeMarco Murray were both redshirt candidates that Wilson said could figure in the mix.

But, Wilson said, in so many words, he didn’t expect to play Houdini over the remainder of the weekend.

“We can’t make wholesale changes because we’ve evolved to the point where there’s things the quarterback is competent at, the offensive line can handle and the receivers can do,” he said. “A large amount of our concern is just with executing better.”

Yet it doesn’t take a psychologist to see that opponents won’t have to respect the running game — at least until proven. Passing lanes will need it to stay clear.

“It’s a big loss,” Thompson said. “How we respond is an even bigger thing.”

Exactly.

In the meantime, perhaps Nelson Peterson hasn’t gotten enough live college football to appreciate. Can father talk son into passing on the NFL next spring?

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