NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Dan Persa threw for 222 yards and three
touchdowns to three different receivers, and Northwestern beat
Vanderbilt 23-15 Saturday night in the only scheduled game this
season between the Big Ten and the Southeastern Conference.
This was Persa's first start with Mike Kafka now gone, and the
junior was nearly perfect as he helped ruin the debut of
Vanderbilt's new head coach Robbie Caldwell in the season opener
for both teams.
Persa was 19 of 21 passing and he also led the Wildcats with 82
Vanderbilt had plenty of chances to make Caldwell the first
Commodores' coach to win his debut since Woody Widenhofer in 1997.
Larry Smith threw for 240 yards and a touchdown with Warren
Norman and Zac Stacy each running for touchdowns. But the
Commodores missed an extra point, a 48-yard field goal and were
stopped on two 2-point conversions - the last with 2:25 left on a