Nadkarni: Persa's the ticket to glory

Rohan Nadkarni
September 28, 2011 •

Before attending Northwestern, I tried my best to study up on some of our best sports teams. Although football will always be my first love (and basketball my $3000-a-night mistress), I soon found out that the Wildcats' women's lacrosse and field hockey teams were forces to be reckoned with. Unfortunately for these deserving athletes, the sports of lacrosse and field hockey are relatively obscure. When was the last time an earnest, handsome, studly freshman asked Kelly Amonte Hiller to sing him ‘Happy Birthday' in the Tech Auditorium? (Thanks Coach Fitz.)

Luckily, I have the solution. The Big Ten and NCAA should combine lacrosse and field hockey into one mega sport. Although the two sports are completely different, the idiot in me still sees two teams using long objects to fling balls into nets. Instead of two obscure sports, we have one giant sport. And we can combine the names into something spectacular. My personal favorite is Lacocky.

But that's enough of my riffing for the week, let's get to why I'm really here. Sometime back while I was lunching in Hinman, Lady Gaga's ‘Edge of Glory' played over the loudspeakers. Although I do not claim to be a fan of the mercurial pop star, the song did remind me of the Northwestern football team. For quite a while now, Coach Fitz's squad has been on the edge of glory. Despite appearing in three straight bowl games, the Wildcats' bowl victory drought dates back to 1949. The man who can reclaim the glory of 1949 is on the roster. He just needs to play.

As the season approached, NU started a movement to garner senior quarterback Dan Persa some Hesiman attention. Everyone at NU was a Persa fan. Every Wildcats fan, from Chef Clay at the Hinman grill station to Evan Watkins' mom, was excited for the start of the season to see where Persa could take us. Unfortunately, Persa's Achilles wasn't taking him anywhere.

Sophomore signal-caller Kain Colter stepped up and led the team to two victories. The campus was buzzing about its free-roaming quarterback, not only because he won, but also because it meant that Evan Watkins didn't have to play.

In all seriousness, Colter played well, but against Army, his lack of accuracy hurt the Wildcats. His scrambling ability meant nothing while trying to play catch up against Army. It was during this game that we realized how valuable Persa was, but by then, it was too late.

This team needs Dan Persa back on the field. This is our last year to appreciate his greatness. If Persa is healthy, Colter should not play a single snap, unless he's holding for field goals. We need to play our All-Big Ten quarterback, the type of game-changer that can turn a struggling 2-1 squad into a Big Ten champion.

The Cats remain on the edge. They play in a tough conference, and although they have the talent to win a bowl game, they continue to fall short. But this year could be the year. Thank you to Kain Colter for keeping the team afloat during non-conference play, but now it's time for the real tests - and the real players - to start. They need their ex-Heisman hopeful to play. And with Persa, the team can claim full glory.

Daily staff writer Rohan Nadkarni is a Medill freshman.

He can be reached at rohannadkarni2015@u.northwestern.edu

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