Dan Persa set to play for Northwestern

October, 26, 2011
10/26/11
3:45
PM ET
The Dan Persa Watch has become a nearly weekly occurrence for Northwestern.

First it was the quarterback's surgically repaired right Achilles tendon that bore monitoring. Now it's a turf toe issue on his left foot that is making news.

Persa left the fourth quarter of last week's Penn State loss with the turf toe problem and missed practice earlier this week. But he returned to practice Wednesday, and Pat Fitzgerald proclaimed Persa "good to go" for Saturday's game at Indiana.

Persa will have the foot heavily taped and admitted he'll have to play through some pain. That could limit his mobility. But the Wildcats have done a good job of mixing in backup Kain Colter when they want to use some quarterback runs and option plays. Persa is completing nearly 75 percent of his passes when he's in the game.

This week's game gives Northwestern a great opportunity to snap a five-game losing streak and finally get its first Big Ten win. Indiana has not beaten an FBS team all season and has the worst defense in the Big Ten (though Northwestern's own defense isn't much better). The Wildcats also have Minnesota and Rice at home next month, so they have a chance to beef up their record. But even if they beat all three teams over which they should be favored, they'll have to upset either Michigan State or Nebraska to gain bowl eligibility.

A healthy -- or at least healthy enough -- Persa will give them a puncher's chance.

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