Northwestern injury report

Northwestern has issued its official injury report for Saturday's game at Illinois (ESPN Classic, noon ET).


  • RB Alex Daniel, ankle (out for season)

  • LB Ben Johnson, leg

  • S Brendan Smith, thumb

  • G Desmond Taylor, shoulder

These are the same four names as last week, which in a sense is good news for a team that has dealt with injuries all season. Backup quarterback Dan Persa doesn't appear on the report despite leaving last week's game against Iowa with an injury to his throwing hand that appeared serious at first. Head coach Pat Fitzgerald said Persa has progressed well this week, and Northwestern might not need him as much since starter Mike Kafka is now two weeks removed from a hamstring injury. Smith's absence hurts in the secondary as Northwestern faces a talented group of Illinois wide receivers, led by Arrelious Benn. The Wildcats need safeties Brad Phillips and Brian Peters to be healthy and effective. The offensive line held up decently last week despite Taylor's absence.