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Northwestern Football Spring Game Preview: Quarterbacks Look To Make Lasting Impression

The Northwestern Wildcats will test an offense that is retooling nearly the entire of its passing game.

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Like many teams around the country, the Northwestern Wildcats' major task of the spring is settling on a starting quarterback for the 2012 season. Replacing Dan Persa, one of the best players in school history, will be no easy task, but Pat Fitzgerald has a few prospects who have shown that they may be up to the task.

With Persa injured for some of last season, then-back ups Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian saw some in-game action against legitimate Big 10 competition. Colter, a sophomore, was stellar, completing 67% of his passes for 673 yards and throwing six touchdowns to one interception. HIs 157.7 QB rating was actually better than Persa's by a slim margin. Siemian, a redshirt only threw 26 passes last season, but he completed 16 of those for 265 yards and tossed three touchdowns to one pick.

Colter also led the Wildcats in rushing— for the entire year— and was third on the team in receiving. That said, Fitzgerald has said that Colter is in the lead for the starting quarterback job, where he will play exclusively. With Jeremy Ebert and Drake Dunsmore both having graduated, Colter is also the team's leading returning receiver, and with that in mind, maybe more interesting than the battle under center will be seeing who will be catching passes. Junior Demetrius Fields figures to slot in as the number one wide receiver, but it gets pretty murky after that.

Game date/time: Saturday, April 14, 12 p.m. CT

Location: Ryan Field, Evanston, Ill.

Streaming: The Big Ten Digital Network

TV: Big Ten Network (airing at 8 p.m. CT on April 15)

For more on the Wildcats' Spring Game, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago or head over to Sippin' on Purple, SB Nation's Northwestern blog. For more news, notes and analysis from around the country, visit SB Nation's college football news hub.