The senior quarterback said last week that he expected to play against Illinois. On Tuesday, Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald confirmed Persa's words. Fitzgerald told Lindsey Willhite of the Daily Herald that he would be "shocked" if Persa did not play against the Fighting Illini.
Persa again removed any doubt, saying that he does not consider himself to be injured anymore, and is "ready to go."
Ever since his season-ending injury against Iowa in November, Persa has not played in a game. He has not missed a practice since August, but only began to take regular snaps with the first-team offense last week.
In last Saturday's game against Army, Persa was only available for use in an emergency, but even with the Wildcats trailing in the fourth quarter, Persa did not play. Instead, redshirt freshman quarterback Trevor Siemian took over for Kain Colter, who struggled in his third start.
In Persa's absence, Northwestern quarterbacks have combined for a 65.7 completion percentage and 508 passing yards, but just three touchdowns in three games. Colter, who has started all three games this season, struggled against Army, completing just 52 percent of his passes in the loss.
With Persa back in the starting role, Northwestern coaches have expressed interest in finding a new role for Colter. Those plans will likely be seen on October 1 when the Wildcats and Fighting Illini square off, and Persa returns.