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Cowboys countdown to kickoff: #10 Cooper Rush

The Dallas Cowboys face the New York Giants in Week 1. And we’re counting down to it by jersey numbers.

Dallas Cowboys v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

We’re continuing our countdown to the opening game of the Dallas Cowboys 2023 regular season. Each day we’ll present a new player whose jersey number represents the countdown to opening day. Today is number 10.
QB Cooper Rush
Born: 21st November 1993 (29) - Charlotte, Michigan
College: Central Michigan Chippewas
Draft: 2017, UDFA, Dallas Cowboys

2022 Stats:
Snaps: 341
Pass Attempts: 162
Completions: 94
Completion Accuracy: 58%
Yards: 1,051
Touchdowns: 5
Interceptions: 3
First Downs: 52
Sacks: 7
Passer Rating: 80.0
Penalties: 1

Cooper Rush joined Central Michigan in 2012 and redshirted the first year. The next season he was named the third-string quarterback, but after a series of injuries and bad performances the team had no choice to put Rush in by Week 3. From that point he never gave up the starting role for the Chippewas. He ended the year throwing for 2,349 yards and 15 touchdowns to 15 interceptions.

In 2014, Rush played all 13 games for Central Michigan and he almost made history with one of the largest comebacks in bowl history had the team scored in the final seconds of the 2014 Bahama Bowl. He ended the year with a much improved record and looking better as a passer. He threw for 3,149 yards, 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

His junior year was his best season while in college, a single-season record for Central Michigan by throwing for 3,853 yards. He had a career completion record of 66.3% and threw for 25 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions.

In his senior season, Rush looked to build on two progressive seasons, but he failed to eclipse the previous year’s production. He finished with a 59.8% completion rate on 3,540 passing yards while throwing for 23 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.

Rush ended his time in Central Michigan with the second-most passing yards (12,891), second-most passing touchdowns (90) and most interceptions (55) in school history.

Cowboys Review:
Rush has spent time on and off the active roster, he was even with the New York Giants for a stint. In fact, if it wasn’t for a last second change of heart this year, Rush could have been on another roster. Rush has seen his fair share of competition while at Dallas, going from practice-squad player, to third-string quarterback behind Kellen Moore, to finally getting the nod as the backup and having to start.

The first real test for Rush came in 2021 against the Minnesota Vikings with Dak Prescott out due to a calf injury. This would be Rush’s first start in the NFL. He passed for 325 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. What was really impressive was how he led the team in the final minutes of the game on a comeback drive, giving the Cowboys a 20-16 victory.

Last year, the team actually waived Rush only for him to return and be put back on the practice squad while they evaluated Will Grier. The Cowboys lost Dak Prescott after the Week 1 defeat and needed Rush to come in and hold the fort until Dak was ready to return. Facing the previous year’s Super Bowl contenders, the Cincinnati Bengals, Rush threw for 235 yards and a touchdown in the 20–17 win which began the string of wins for Dallas that allowed them to stay in the race in an extremely competitive NFC East division. The Cowboys went on to win against the New York Giants, Washington Commanders and Super Bowl champions L.A. Rams.

In Week 6, Rush had his winning streak end against the Philadelphia Eagles. He completed 18 of 38 pass attempts for 181 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in a 26–17 loss. The game proved the limitations of both Rush and the offense without Dak under center.

2023 Roster Projection:
The front office let their feelings on Rush be known when they offered him a two-year contract worth $6 million. As for the coaches, it seems at this stage they have to give Rush the benefit of the doubt since he’s proven to be competent enough to cover Dak for a short period should the worse happen. He has the coaches trust at the moment but this isn’t to say he’s not in a competition with the newly-acquired Trey Lance. It will be interesting to see who gets the backup position. For now though it’s Rush’s to lose.

The Big Question:
Who do you have taking the backup quarterback role, Rush or Trey Lance? Answer in the comments.

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