All-Big 10 QB Dan Persa Completes Comeback Trail; Ready for 2011 (Video)

A couple weeks ago, the Northwestern Wildcats launched “PersaStrong,” a media campaign to promoting senior quarterback Dan Persa as a 2011 Heisman Trophy candidate. Persa enters this season after being named the All-Big Ten first-team quarterback in 2010, a season in which he broke the Big Ten’s all-time record for completion percentage with a 73.5 mark. He missed the last three games due to a ruptured Achilles, but still had a 5 touchdowns, threw just four interceptions and ran for another nine scores. He is healthy and ready to go for training camp.

Today was NU Media Day; and Persa spoke about a whole host of topics. Watch the video after the jump

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Dan Persa Named Big Ten All-Conference First Team Quarterback

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Northwestern’s Dan Persa (Bethlehem, Pa./Liberty) was selected as the All-Big Ten first team quarterback by a vote of the conference coaches while wide receiver Jeremy Ebert (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Darby) is an All Big Ten first team choice of the conference media.

Persa, one of the most valuable and dynamic players in the Big Ten and all of college football, led Northwestern to a 7-3 record in 10 starts this season before suffering a season-ending injury in a victory over the then-No. 13 Iowa Hawkeyes on Nov. 13.

He ranks second in the Big Ten in passing yardage per game (258.1), total offense per game (310.0) and led the nation in completion percentage (73.5).

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Northwestern QB Dan Persa Ruptures Achilles, Out for Season

dan persa passing

The Northwestern Wildcats 21-17 upset win over #13 the Iowa Hawkeyes came at a price, a hefty price. They lost one of the most valuable players in the Big Ten, and college football overall, in Junior QB Dan Persa.

Persa threw the game winning,  20-yard TD pass to Demetrius Fields with 1:22 left, but ruptured his Achilles just after the play ended.  Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn, a favorite for Big Ten Defensive player of the year, was blitzing him, but only lightly brushed him. A back-side Iowa rusher also went past Persa untouched. It appeared that Persa may have jumped up, or was about to commence running after the play, expressing the positive emotion of a thrilling comeback, which culminated in a 91-yard drive.

Either way, the freak injury means Persa will miss the final two games, along with NU’s bowl appearance. Redshirt Freshman Evan Watkins, a native of suburban Carol Stream, will start next week versus the Illinois Fighting Illini at the Cubs’ Wrigley Field in the Allstate Wrigleyville Classic.

By Paul M. Banks

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Northwestern QB Dan Persa leading the NATION in Pass Efficiency

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I know it’s only week two of college football. And both of Northwestern‘s first two terrible opponents are TERRIBLE. Especially Illinois State, who gave up 547 yards passing in week one to a bad FCS team, but the numbers are the numbers. And NU QB Dan Persa rested for pretty much the entire second half Saturday, so he didn’t exactly have a chance to further augment his prestigious numbers.

NU Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald often likes to say “stats are for losers.”

He said it again Saturday, but there’s nothing “loser” about these statistics.

After completing 19 of 21 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns in his first career start at Vanderbilt, Persa’s pass efficiency rating on the year actually dropped to a national-best 212.1 after he connected on 19 of 23 passes for 240 yards and two scoring strikes against Illinois State. And that rating should be even higher when you consider wideout Sidney Stewart let a perfectly placed throw go right through his hands while he was in the end zone during the second quarter yesterday.

By Paul M. Banks

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