Muted Euphoria – ‘Cats upset #12 Iowa, Lose Persa For Year
WOW. Northwestern continues its mastery of Iowa with a thrilling come-from-behind 4th quarter 21-17 win to move to 7-3, 3-3 and ensuring we are bowl bound. However, Dan Persa, who was simply incredible (32-43, 318 yds, 79 gross rushing yards (50 net with sacks) 3 TDs (2 pass, 1 rush, 1 not-his-fault INT) has played his last down of 2010. Northwestern reported via WGN in the post-game that Persa suffered a ruptured achillees tendon and will go under the knife tonight. This of course has not only 2010, but potential 2011 implications and is an absolute devastating loss to Northwestern.
The ‘Cats jumped out to yet another 7-0 lead on another perfect drive, yet this time the only similarity to past games was a 3rd quarter implosion. There is so much irony in the fact that Persa’s achillees heel was ruptured as he helped NU bury their achillees heel as we finished in impressive fashion scoring 14 points in the 4th and shutting out Iowa down the home stretch. It was a day in which so many kudos need to be thrown around and some finger pointing at NU fans needs to happen (you know who you are – you gave your season ticket seats to the opposing fans).
Give Iowa fans credit, they were LOUD and in full force making the nearly 50/50 split of fans feel at times like Kinnick Stadium. That was, until the 4th quarter when NU seized emotion and energy. We’ll be breaking this down in the Great, The Good & The Disappointing soon, but I’m very happy we won so I can complain about the officiating. Yes, I’m doing so and it was one and only one official – the head referee – who was AWFUL today. We’ll break it down in a bit AND post the game highlights soon.
For now, let’s enjoy this win and then dive in to Evan Watkins who has the table set to get a full week of putting in a new offense and taking on the Illini who will be buzzing in the wake of their inexcusable loss to Minnesota today. Congrats to Fitz, the staff, the seniors and especially the defense who played outstanding today. A great game in all facets today by NU and a back-and-forth nailbiter we’ll remember for quite some time.
I feel so bad for Dan Persa. The guy simply willed us to win – AGAIN – and won’t be on the field for the home stretch and bowl game for which he deserves the lion’s share of the credit for making it all happen. Let the Dan Persa Hesiman campaign for 2011 begin in earnest today and the tape of this game is Exhibit A. Well played Dan, you are a winner.
Back in a few hours with MUCH MUCH more. Iowa is now out of BCS contention, Big Ten title contention and left ranking where this loss rates among the so many of late to NU. In defense of Iowa fans, the couple I encountered were nothing but classy and respectful. Including one 80-year-old man, who said it all in line for the bathroom after the game, when he said to my father-in-law and I “guys, congratulations, but I simply can’t talk about it right now.” We can and we will. We’ve got a full year – AGAIN – to do so.