TE Perry scores twice

By Fr

TOLEDO, Ohio – Just give him the damn ball; that’s all NIU senior tight end Keith Perry wants.

“I joke with the coaches every week about getting me some plays for touchdown catches,” said Perry, who caught two TD passes in Saturday’s loss to Toledo.

Perry’s two scores were his first in almost four years, since he was a freshman playing against Central Michigan.

“It feels good to finally score,” Perry said.

The 6-foot-3 Maywood native said he takes the approach of the NFL’s Keyshawn Johnson, a wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In 1997, the demonstrative Johnson wrote a book titled, “Just Give Me the Damn Ball!”

Perry said he jokes with assistant coaches Sam Pittman, George McDonald and DeAndre Smith about getting him more plays in scoring situations.

“I don’t say anything to Coach Canada, though,” Perry said about NIU offensive coordinator Matt Canada. “He’s a little more serious for that.”

In a non-joking manner, there was a high level of doubt that Perry would play on Saturday.

“We had game plans for him to not play,” quarterback Josh Haldi said.

After Perry tweaked his back in practice earlier in the week, he wasn’t sure if he would be on the field for Saturday’s game.

Not playing at full strength, he managed to catch touchdown passes of 25 and 17 yards. Those receptions, his only ones of the game, gave him 14 on the year for 181 yards.

“Keith played great,” Haldi said. “He was a little banged up and we didn’t know if he was going to play. I didn’t see the second catch because I got hit, but he must’ve made a heck of a play.”