Though he's generously listed as 6 feet tall and isn't particularly fast, Boston College's Paul Peterson is one of the nation's most entertaining quarterbacks. Never mind his solid numbers (23 of 31 for 199 yards and three TDs) in the Eagles' 21--7 victory over Penn State. It was the flair with which Peterson played that left BC fans buzzing as if they'd seen the second coming of Doug Flutie. Against a blitzing Nittany Lions defense, he made play after play, scrambling away from the rush and throwing with accuracy on the run. "Paul's one of those guys who sees the whole field," says coach Tom O'Brien. "He's at his best when he's running around."
Two years ago, after playing in obscurity at Snow College, a juco in Ephraim, Utah, Peterson mailed his highlights video to 30 Division I-A schools. He had been a two-time all-state quarterback at Bingham High in South Jordan, Utah, but had spent the two years after graduation on a Mormon mission in Nicaragua. When he returned home, Peterson walked on at Snow and threw for 5,500 yards and 55 touchdowns in two seasons but attracted no interest from college recruiters.
Peterson sat on the Eagles' bench for the first 10 games of last season, behind 6'5", 224-pound Quinton Porter, but after Porter injured his right hand against West Virginia, Peterson led BC to a 34--27 upset of No. 12 Virginia Tech and a 35--21 win over Colorado State in the San Francisco Bowl. O'Brien was so impressed by Peterson's leadership that he redshirted Porter this year and put the Eagles in the hands of the undersized 24-year-old senior. With the win over Penn State, Peterson is now 5--0 as a starter. "I was just so excited to come here," he says. "I always told myself I could play at this level. I just needed a shot."