Of all the "we hardly knew ye" players who have passed through Chestnut Hill over the years, my favorite was a Doug Flutie-like, quarterback, Paul Peterson.
Although Boston College had seen Flutie, Peterson's resume was about as unique as any who have graced campus. 24 years old, married, a junior college transfer, raised in Utah, not to mention a Mormon who had already served a two year mission in Nicaragua. Peterson had a youthful exuberance to his game and a maturity seldom seen in the college game outside of Provo.
On this night, the senior who had just led the Eagles to a 21-7 win over Penn State the week before would throw for 193 yards and two touchdowns including a 4th quarter 34 yard pass to Grant Adams to put the game away and lead BC to a 27-7 Friday night home win over UConn in the Huskies first game in the Big East conference.
The Eagles and Huskies were like two ships passing in the night. BC in its final season in the conference and UConn, desperately looking to establish itself not only in an FBS conference but also as a legitimate rival to the Eagles, in its first.
In 2000, BC had pounded UConn, 55-3 at Alumni and then beaten the Huskies 24-14 at Rentschler Field in 2003. Connecticut under Randy Edsall felt they had improved entering 2004, sporting future NFL first round draft choice in QB Dan Orlovsky and let it be known prior to the game, providing a good amount of bulletin board material. Pretty cocky stuff considering UConn had never (and has never) beaten BC, entering this game with an 0-9-2 mark against the Eagles.
It was Peterson and BC though, who stole the show.
BC started not quickly, but immediately.
LB Brian Toal forced a fumble on the opening kickoff, recovered by always on the spot, Jamie Silva. Just two plays and some 40 seconds later Peterson had the Eagles up 7-0, connecting on a 12 yard pass to Joel Hazard.
Ryan Ohliger would make it 10-0 with a 42 yard field goal before the Huskies countered with Cornell Brockington's run to cut it to 10-7.
Freshman RB Andre Callender (26 carries, 98 yards) who had dislocated a finger on the first series of the game, came back and sent the Eagles to the locker room up 17-7 with a 1 yard run
The turning point in the game came at the start of the 3rd quarter, where Orlovsky drove UConn to the BC 18. On 3rd down, Will Blackmon came oh so close to an interception and on 4th down, Husky kicker Matt Nuzie missed a 30 yard attempt leaving BC up 10.
Peterson then took BC 64 yards in five plays for the kill shot on the pass to Adams with just under 13 minutes left and the 24-7 lead.
"This week was tough for us", said Peterson. "Thru the media they said some things to us and we kind of took it and turned the other cheek. But, not to sound cocky, we let it show on the field today as a team".
The Eagles finished the 2004 season at 9-3, winning the Continental Tire Bowl against North Carolina in Charlotte. Peterson would finish his Eagle career being carted out on a stretcher after a leg injury forced him out of the game. Two of the most memorable images of that game being his reaction to the Ryan Ohliger fake field goal touchdown run in the fourth quarter as well as his wife, Meagan accepting the game MVP trophy for him.
Today, Peterson is the offensive coordinator at Sacramento State University.