Cooper Rush, coming up clutch.
Rush, an all-conference selection for Central Michigan in 2015 and 2016, led the Dallas Cowboys to a 20-16 upset win over the Minnesota Vikings during Sunday Night Football in Minneapolis.
He was tabbed to starter for former Pro Bowl quarterback Dak Prescott, scratched just a few hours before the 8:20 p.m. kickoff.
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Besides an ugly interception, Rush was great in primetime on the road. He finished 24 of 40 passing for 325 yards. He had two touchdowns to top Kirk Cousins (184 yards and one touchdown) and led a game-winning drive with less than 3 minutes left to bring the Cowboys to 6-1.
Fire up Chips! More on the surprising star from central Michigan:
Who is Cooper Rush?
He is from Charlotte, Michigan, about 100 miles west of Detroit. The 2012 LansingCatholic graduate choose CMU but had interest from Michigan State and Northwestern, according to 247Sports. Rush threw for nearly 13,000 yards and 90 touchdowns in four seasons starting at Central Michigan.
He was projected a late-round pick and signed with Dallas as an undrafted free agent in May 2017.
Central Michigan football coach John Bonamego wasn’t surprised an NFL team took a shot on him.
“I went to the NFL combine this year and talked with a lot of people because when it’s that time of the year, people want to know what you think of your former players,” Bonamego told the Free Press then. “I had a lot of good things to say about Cooper, obviously.
What did he do before Sunday?
He had completed 1 of 3 career passes for 2 yards going into the game. Yet the Cowboys seemed to value his skills to some degree, holding onto Rush for several seasons (the New York Giants also added him to their roster after he left the Cowboys last season). Plus, they were willing to part ways with veteran Andy Dalton, who played 11 games as Prescott’s backup in 2020, leaving Rush the QB2 for a playoff-hopeful team.
Rush reportedly got first-team reps this week and it showed as he repeatedly hit CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper on timing routes against soft Vikings coverage.
Lions reporter Dave Birkett wrote a few years back about how QB guru David Morris said Rush could be a starter in the league. Morris and Rush worked together for weeks leading up to the draft.
If you want most Rush, the Cowboys host the Broncos at 1 p.m. Sunday. Maybe the Cowboys will be inclined to let Prescott heal another week?
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Dallas Cowboys’ Cooper Rush: a Michigan native, CMU standout