Dan Persa of the Northwestern Wildcats throws a pass against the Michigan State Spartans at Ryan Field on October 23 2010 in Evanston Illinois. Michigan State defeated Northwestern 35-27. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Northwestern's Dan Persa Cleared To Start Vs. Penn State

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Dan Persa Will Start For Northwestern Vs. Penn State

Via ESPN Chicago, the Northwestern Wildcats announced today that quarterback Dan Persa will start this Saturday at Penn State:

Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa will start this week at Penn State after suffering a concussion in Saturday’s win against Indiana. Coach Pat Fitzgerald said Persa went through post-concussion tests Sunday and showed no symptoms.

Persa took part in a light workout Monday morning with no setbacks. He’s expected to be fully cleared for Wednesday’s practice and make his ninth consecutive start against Penn State.

“We fully expect him to play and be fine unless there’s something that occurs between now and Thursday,” Fitzgerald said.

This is good news for the Wildcats, who are currently a 10-point underdog against the Nittany Lions.


Dan Persa Suffers Apparent Concussion In Northwestern Victory

Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa completed 18 passes in 28 attempts for 218 yards and two touchdowns and the Wildcats hung on after a late Indiana touchdown for a 20-17 win over the Hoosiers.

Persa left the game in the fourth quarter after suffering an apparent concussion. He was shown on the Big Ten Network TV broadcast standing on the sidelines, helmet still on and the announcers reported that they were told Persa "just had the wind knocked out of him." Hopefully, that’s all it is — but given all the concussions around the NFL this year, it would be prudent to take every precaution regarding Persa’s health.

Indiana QB Ben Chappell complete 30 of 54 passes for 308 yards. He threw for one TD and had one interception and also ran for a touchdown.

Jeremy Ebert caught five passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns for Northwestern. Ben Chappell connected on 30-of-54 passes for 308 yards and one touchdown with one interception for Indiana.

The only points of the first quarter came on a 23-yard field goal by Indiana's Mitch Ewald.

Early in the second quarter, Northwestern took a 7-3 lead on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Persa to Ebert.

With 48 seconds remaining in the first half, the Hoosiers grabbed a 10-7 advantage on a five-yard touchdown run by Chappell. The Wildcats quickly drove down field in the waning seconds of the quarter, and Stefan Demos booted a 23-yard field goal as time expired to knot the score at 10-10.

With 8:30 remaining in the third quarter, Persa and Ebert hooked up for another touchdown. This time it went for 30 yards and gave Northwestern a 17-10 lead.

With just under seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Demos extended the Wildcats' advantage to 20-10 with a 45-yard field goal.

Indiana made things interesting in the final minute, as Chappell threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Duwyce Wilson. With 44 seconds left, the Hoosiers trailed 20-17, but the Wildcats were able to hold on for the narrow victory.

Northwestern heads to State College, Pennsylvania to face Penn State next Saturday with a 6-2 record (2-2 in the Big Ten). Indiana has not won a Big Ten game yet (0-4) and is 4-4 overall. Indiana will host current 18th-ranked Iowa next Saturday in Bloomington, Indiana.


Dan Persa Throws TD Pass, Late Field Goal Gives Northwestern 10-10 Tie At Halftime

Northwestern QB Dan Persa threw an 11-yard TD pass to Jeremy Ebert early in the second quarter after Indiana had taken an early 3-0 lead.

The Hoosiers marched down the field and re-took the lead on quarterback Ben Chappell’s five-yard run.

After the kickoff, Persa led the Wildcats back down the field, highlighted by a 38-yard completion to Mike Trumpy. One play later, Persa completed a pass to Demetrius Fields; Fields was tackled at the six-yard line, where Stefan Demos kicked a 23-yard field goal for the 10-10 tie.

Persa completed 11 of 18 passes in the first half for 124 yards and the touchdown completion to Ebert.


Northwestern Vs. Indiana: Wildcats Look To Go Bowl-Eligible

FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Stadium (52,354) -- Bloomington, Indiana. Television: BTN. Home Record: Northwestern 2-2, Indiana 3-1. Away Record: Northwestern 3-0, Indiana 1-2. Neutral Record: Northwestern 0-0, Indiana 0-0. Conference Record: Northwestern 1-2, Indiana 0-3. Series Record: Northwestern leads, 43-34-1.

GAME NOTES: The Northwestern Wildcats hope to continue their success on the road this weekend, as they tangle with the Indiana Hoosiers in Big Ten action at Memorial Stadium.

The Wildcats have been road warriors this season, winning each of their three games away from home, including a 29-28 decision over Minnesota for their lone conference victory. Unfortunately, Northwestern has had some issues at home and the team is coming off back-to-back losses in its own backyard. The most recent of those setbacks took place this past weekend, a hard-fought 35-27 defeat to highly-ranked Michigan State.

As for the Hoosiers, they enter the contest in a bit of a rut, having dropped three of their last four outings. All three setbacks came in conference play, including a 43-13 loss at Illinois this past weekend.

With respect to the all-time series, Northwestern owns a 43-34-1 lead over Northwestern and that includes a 29-28 victory last season.

The Wildcats had MSU on the ropes for three quarters, but were outscored 21-3 in the final frame of a 35-27 setback this past weekend. Despite being sacked eight times, QB Dan Persa was productive for Northwestern, as he threw for 187 yards, in addition to rushing for 46 yards and three TDs. A dual-threat, Persa has proven he can get the job done with his legs or arm. He has connected on 75.7 percent of his pass attempts with 10 TDs against only three INTs, while leading the Wildcats with 341 yards and six scores on the ground. Persa's main target has been Jeremy Ebert, who has reeled in 37 balls for 580 yards and five TDs. Ebert, however, wasn't a factor last weekend, catching just two passes for 20 yards.

Northwestern's defense kept MSU in check for most of the afternoon, but wore down in the fourth quarter with three TDs surrendered. The unit did a terrific job limiting MSU's potent ground attack to 105 yards, although that came at the expense of the pass defense. The Wildcats were torched for 352 passing yards on 30-of-44 attempts. Northwestern is giving up 235.7 ypg on the year, but has compensated some with 10 INTs. The Wildcats failed to come up with a pick against MSU, however. Bryce McNaul and Vince Browne both did there part versus MSU, as they each forced a fumble and recorded a sack. Browne now has nine TFLs and six sacks on the season, as he leads the team in both departments.

Turnovers did the Hoosiers in this past weekend, as they gave away the ball five times in a lopsided loss to Illinois. Four of the mishaps came on INTs, including two that were taken back over 60 yards for a score. It was obviously a complete meltdown from an offense that had thrown a total of just four INTs through the first six games. QB Ben Chappell was guilty of three of those picks against Illinois and he finished with 279 yards on 26-of-48 pass attempts. It was clearly one of the worst games of the season for Chappell, who has still completed 66.2 percent of his tosses with 17 TDs against six INTs. Damarlo Belcher has been Chappell's main outlet with 47 receptions and 569 yards on the year and that includes six receptions for 59 yards last weekend.

Despite what the score would indicate, the Indiana defense did not play poorly in last weekend's 43-13 loss to Illinois. The Hoosiers limited Illinois to just 289 total yards, but were hurt by turnovers from their own offense. That really hasn't been the case for most of the year however, as Indiana is permitting 384.7 total ypg, including 169.3 ypg on the ground. The defense has given up 15 TDs through the air and another 11 on the ground, while forcing only 11 turnovers. Leon Beckum has made some big plays for this defense, as he leads the way with three sacks, including one last weekend.

The Wildcats have had good success on the road this season and they should be able to continue that trend this weekend behind a big game from Persa.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northwestern 38, Indiana 31

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