Northwestern's Dan Persa Throws for 331 Yards in 42-24 Loss to No. 11 Michigan

Diamond NotesCorrespondent IIIOctober 14, 2011

Dan Persa - Northwestern Wildcats
Dan Persa - Northwestern WildcatsJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Dan Persa's continues his impressive return from an achilles tendon tear last November. October 1, against in-state and Big-10 rival Illinois, he complete 10-of-14 passes for a career-best four TD passes.

Last Saturday he was even more impressive against Michigan. He complete 32-of-44 passes for 331 yards. Jeremy Ebert and Drake Dunsmore were his main targets, receiving 18 of his 31 completions.

Ebert had a team-high 11 receptions for 86 yards and Dunsmore finished with seven receptions for 73 yards.

Persa did not show any ill effects from either the achilles injury nor the soreness in his foot that caused him to leave the Illinois game early in the fourth quarter. Although he is not running nearly like he did last season.

That is evident by his grand total 35 rushing yards in the first two games, compared to the 519 yards in nine-plus games last season.

The Wildcats are 0-2 in Persa's two starts, but not from a lack of production on his part. He has thrown for 454 yards and four TDs and has demonstrated why he is a candidate for:

  • The Heisman Trophy
  • Walter camp award
  • Manning Award
  • Davey O'Brien Award
  • Capital One All-American
  • Lowe's Senior Class Award
  • National Football Foundation William V. Campbell Trophy

Despite returning from a devastating injury, Persa also was selected as a 2011 Big Ten Preseason player to watch.

The Wildcats head to Iowa this weekend, and if they hope to turn things around, head coach Pat Fitzgerald believes they need to start fast.

"For us it's going to be Critical that we start fast," Fitzgerald said in his Monday news conference. "It's going to be a raucous environment, we can't go out there and get knocked out in the first round. The crowd's going to give them an excellent added boost, there's no question about that. It's an exceptional environment."

Saturday's game can be seen on the Big Ten Network, with kickoff scheduled for 6:00 p.m. CT.