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Northwestern QB Dan Persa says he’ll play

Dan PersSean Stanley

Dan Persa, Sean Stanley

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Updated: January 23, 2012 3:19AM

Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa is questionable for Saturday’s game at Indiana with turf toe in his left foot, coach Pat Fitzgerald said Monday.

Fitzgerald said Persa is wearing a walking boot. He should know more about Persa’s condition Thursday, when the Wildcats release their weekly injury report.

Persa’s injury is not on the same foot as his repaired Achilles tendon.

Fitzgerald said Persa’s injury is basically a sprained joint in the toe. He injured it during the Wildcats’ 34-24 loss to Penn State on Saturday when a Nittany Lion tackled Persa and held on to his foot as he went down.

“He said he feels much better [after Monday’s practice],” Fitzgerald said. “I asked him how he felt, and he said that he would play. So it’s the same old Dan.”

Persa is still listed as the starter against the Hoosiers (11 a.m., BTN, 720-AM), but the Wildcats most likely will still use the two-quarterback system of Persa and Kain Colter if Persa is able to go.

In seven games, Colter has 914 yards of total offense — second behind Persa’s 983 — and leads the team with 585 all-purpose (rushing and receiving) yards. Colter has logged time at quarterback and receiver.

“You look at the way Kain’s been playing in multiple roles, and he has really embraced what [offensive coordinator] Mick [ McCall] and the staff have done for him,” Fitzgerald said.

“His attitude has been tremendous in getting prepared for those multiple roles. We will expect Dan to play, then adjust accordingly as the week goes along.”

Skid rows

Most Wildcats had not experienced a five-game losing streak and a winless Big Ten record. If the Wildcats lose Saturday, their losing streak will tie the longest in Fitzgerald’s tenure as coach: six in 2006. The most games this group of seniors had lost in a row were three, in ’07 and ’10.

So what happened? Was the surprising 21-14 loss at Army on Sept. 17 the trigger?

“I don’t know if there’s been one particular thing,” senior offensive lineman Al Netter said. “It’s not a question about being a talented team, but we haven’t found a way to win in the last five games. I don’t think guys were down about the Army game. People just need to start playing better and be more consistent.”

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