Wildcats hoping QB Persa is ready to play
In many ways, Boston College and Northwestern are mirror images: strong academic universities in urban settings that compete in - but don’t dominate - big-time college football.
Northwestern, which will be in town for tomorrow’s season opener at Alumni Stadium, has shown signs of a resurrection the past several seasons under coach Pat Fitzgerald, who signed a 10-year contract extension in the spring. The Wildcats have won 24 games since 2008, the same amount as BC.
The Wildcats (7-6 last season) are coming off three straight bowl appearances - BC has been in 12 straight - and they appear capable of making it four in a row.
With the return of four starting offensive linemen (and 16 starters overall) the Wildcats look primed for another leap forward.
The key will be quarterback Dan Persa, who has Heisman Trophy potential but is coming off a torn Achilles’ tendon that sidelined him the last three games of last season. Without Persa, Northwestern was 0-3.
Persa is listed as questionable against BC.
“Dan is getting better every day,’’ said Fitzgerald, who listed Persa as the starter over sophomore backup Kain Colter.
“He is listed as the starter for a reason,’’ said Fitzgerald. “But the doctors say the normal rehab time for his injury is 12-14 months, and Dan is sitting at 10 months right now, which is way ahead of schedule.’’
“It’s more on me than anyone else,’’ said Persa, who threw for 2,581 yards, completed a nation-leading 73.5 percent of his passes, and also rushed for 530 yards last year.
The question for him now is mobility.
“It’s tough to expect to make cuts the same way as last year,’’ he told the Chicago Tribune. “To say I’ll be exactly the same would be kind of foolish.’’
But he also said his recovery is on schedule.
“I feel stronger every day,’’ he said. “If I say I’m OK, I’m OK. It would be stupid of me if I wasn’t ready.’’
Count on Persa to be ready by kickoff tomorrow.
Light at corner? Cornerback Donnie Fletcher (back) is listed as doubtful on BC’s injury report, with running back Andre Williams (ankle) and offensive lineman Nate Richman (back) listed as probable . . . Coach Frank Spaziani addressed the BC band during its practice yesterday, telling the members how much he appreciated what they do. He then handed out ice cream to the band members, with help from his players . . . BC officials are hoping for a crowd of 40,000. Tickets for the Northwestern and Duke games have been heavily discounted to entice fans to show up.
Mark Blaudschun can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.