He's the closest thing to Barry Sanders that Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy says he's ever seen. Iowa State's Dan McCarney called him ``truly an amazing football player.''

To Texas coach Mack Brown, he's one of the best running backs ever.

Now Adrian Peterson is probably finished as a college football player. Nevertheless, the coaches he had bedeviled with his speed, power and shiftiness were full of praise after the Oklahoma star broke his collarbone Saturday.

``I grew up in this state. I watched Billy Sims, (Elvis) Peacock, all those guys,'' Gundy said on the Big 12 coaches' Monday conference call.

``He's the closest I've seen to Barry Sanders. I really hated to see that he got hurt. He's an amazing runner. I'm sure we'll see a lot more of him in the future on Sunday.''

Peterson was at the end of a 53-yard touchdown run in No. 20 Oklahoma's 34-9 victory over Iowa State on Saturday when he was hurt. The best-case scenario is that the talented junior, the first Oklahoma back to amass 3,000 yards rushing in his first two seasons, might get back in time for a bowl game.

``He's as good as any I've seen, including Heisman Trophy winners,'' McCarney said. ``He is truly an amazing football player. He had two runs in that game, I don't know if we'd had 14 or 15 guys on the field we'd have stopped him. Hopefully, he'll go on and have a great career.''

The Sooners are determined to plow on without him.

``I feel strongly as a team we'll overcome it,'' said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops.

Three possible replacements are juniors Allen Patrick and Jacob Gutierrez and freshman Mossis Madu.

``We're playing better offensively in some many areas, we'll be able to overcome the loss and do well,'' Stoops said. ``No one in our program feels it will hold us back. We're just disappointed for him personally.''

It seems difficult to believe the loss of such a high-quality back will not weaken the Sooners.

``Adrian is one of best backs to ever play game, a tenacious runner,'' Brown said. ``We hate it for him.''


First Oklahoma quarterback Rhett Bomar gets kicked off the squad. Then comes some horrible officiating, including a series of comedic errors at Oregon that even prompted an apology from the head of the Pac-10 Conference. Now Peterson's gone down, possibly for the season.

Has Stoops ever had so many things go wrong in one season?

``Probably not,'' he said. ``But that's part of the game. Our players have had good attitudes and we have as coaches. We'll work through this.''