Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


Advertisement
Email Newsletter

Sign up to receive our email newsletter in your inbox.



Advertisement

Advertisement
Race Against Hate: Ricky Byrdsong’s Legacy
The Week Ahead, June 17-23: Juneteenth, Summer Solstice and Pride Celebrations in Chicagoland
Evanston Environment Board drops fossil fuels divestment, recommends updates to leaf blower ordinance
Derrick Gragg appointed as Northwestern’s vice president for athletic strategy, search for new athletic director begins
Lacrosse: Northwestern’s Izzy Scane wins 2024 Honda Sport Award
District 65 School Board votes to close Dr. Bessie Rhodes School
Kathryn Hahn declares class of 2024 “worthy of celebration” in commencement address
Advertisement
Perry: A little humility goes a long way

Brew, Hou, Leung, Pandey: On being scared to tweet and the pressure to market yourself as a student journalist

June 4, 2024

Haner: A love letter to the multimedia room

June 4, 2024

Derrick Gragg appointed as Northwestern’s vice president for athletic strategy, search for new athletic director begins

Lacrosse: Northwestern’s Izzy Scane wins 2024 Honda Sport Award

June 13, 2024

Lacrosse: Northwestern’s Izzy Scane wins 2024 Tewaaraton Award

May 30, 2024

Advertisement

Campus Kitchens fills plates and hearts

NU Declassified: Prof. Barbara Butts teaches leadership through stage management

Everything Evanston: Behind the boba in downtown Evanston

Football: June injury set Persa back a month, helped lead to removal against Illinois

The truth is finally out as to why Dan Persa missed the first month of the 2011 season.

The senior quarterback revealed Tuesday that he had a setback in June which set him a month back in his recovery from a ruptured Achilles tendon. That month turned out to be exactly how much time Persa missed of Northwestern’s 2011 campaign.

“I was pretty upset,” Persa said about the June incident. “I just planted my foot wrong and I strained it a little bit.”

The signal caller was on track during spring practices to start against Boston College in the season opener. Persa said he felt as though it was “a done deal” that he would be ready for opening day against the Eagles and was disheartened that he was unable to play in the Wildcats’ 24-17 victory.

The June setback played a factor in coach Pat Fitzgerald’s decision to sit Persa at the end of NU’s 38-35 loss to Illinois on Saturday. The quarterback was hit on the Cats’ second play of the fourth quarter, which caused the tendon to tighten up a bit.

“I felt a weird pull in the back of my leg and then it got tight,” Persa said. “I knew nothing tore and nothing was strained too badly so I wasn’t too worried. It was just a matter of trying to get loose again.”

Persa said that he was told by the team doctors after the game that these sorts of tweaks were normal. He said the various setbacks he endured during his long road to recovery were much worse than the tweak he felt in the game against the Fighting Illini. Persa will not need to pass any more tests in order to play against Michigan and he will make the ultimate call as to whether or not he plays against the Wolverines.

The reigning All-Big Ten quarterback was back to his efficient self against the Fighting Illini, completing 71.4 percent of his passes. Persa added a career-high four touchdown passes in the loss, three of them to senior wideout Jeremy Ebert. He said it was great to get back on the field and that he can take a lot from the Illinois game into NU’s matchup with Michigan on Saturday.

“I just need to stay calm from the first snap,” Persa said. “I am normally a pretty calm guy, but when balls start flying, you can never really take that into account.”

Fitzgerald was in a joking mood about Persa’s health after Tuesday’s practice. As the media huddled around Persa, Fitzgerald walked by and asked his quarterback whether or not he was playing against the Wolverines. When Persa joked that he didn’t think so, Fitzgerald told the media no further questions would be needed.

Offensive coordinator Mick McCall was generally impressed with how Persa played against Illinois. He said that he was even more impressed considering how long Persa has been out.

“For not playing a football game for 10 months, I thought he played pretty darn well,” McCall said. “He was a little rusty at times, but he made some plays, he threw the ball, he competed, he led our team. I feel good about where Dan was after not playing the game for 10 months.”

McCall would not reveal whether or not Persa would throw the ball more when the Cats and Wolverines tussle Saturday. Persa said that he would love to get more opportunities to air it out, but he won’t complain so long as NU puts up the points.

“It’s tough when we’re running the ball pretty well,” Persa said. “I’m fine if we are scoring 35 points a game.”

[email protected]

More to Discover
Activate Search
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Football: June injury set Persa back a month, helped lead to removal against Illinois