Tramel: All 5 Dallas Cowboy quarterbacks played against OU or OSU
The Dallas Cowboys already have gone through three starting quarterbacks this season. Come Sunday, make it four.
Dallas will start Garrett Gilbert or Cooper Rush against the Steelers at JerryWorld. Dak Prescott started the first five games but suffered a broken ankle against the Giants. Andy Dalton suffered a concussion after starting against the Washingtons. Ben DiNucci suffered from horrific play after starting against the Eagles.
So now it’s Gilbert’s or Rush’s turn, and heck, maybe November 22 against the Vikings, whoever doesn’t start against Pittsburgh will be called. That would give Dallas five starting quarterbacks before we even hit December.
The Dallas Five range widely in experience and talent and every other regard. But those five quarterbacks have one thing in common. All played at least one college football game against either OU or OSU.
I covered four of them. I missed the 2008 OU-TCU game in which Andy Dalton quarterbacked the Horned Frogs -- I was in Stillwater that day. Here are the five quarterbacks:
1. Prescott, a third-year sophomore at Mississippi State in 2013, backed up Tyler Russell in the season opener against OSU in Houston. But Russell suffered a concussion early in the third quarter, with the Cowboys leading 7-3, and Prescott took over. He completed seven of 17 passes for 89 yards and one interception. OSU went on to win 21-3, and nobody could have guessed we had just witnessed the Dallas Cowboys’ future franchise quarterback.
2. Dalton in 2008 was a TCU junior. He led the Frogs to an 11-2 record and a 17-16 victory over Boise State in the Poinsettia Bowl. TCU came to Norman in September and played the Sooners relatively tough, losing 35-10. That was a great OU team. Sam Bradford threw for 411 yards and four touchdowns. Dalton completed 16 of 39 passes for 212 yards and one interception. Nobody could have guessed that Dalton, in a decade with the Cincinnati Bengals, would have a better NFL career than would Bradford.
3. DiNucci was a third-year sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh in 2017, when OSU played the Panthers at Heinz Field. Pitt started Max Browne at quarterback but inserted DiNucci in the second quarter after the Cowboys took a 35-0 lead. DiNucci completed 13 of 25 passes for 228 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. OSU won 59-21. DiNucci went on to start six games that season, then transferred to James Madison and had a sterling career. He was taken in the seventh round of the NFL Draft last spring. Nobody could have guessed that day at Heinz Field that DiNucci would one day be the starting quarterback in a Cowboys-Eagles game on Sunday Night Football.
4. Gilbert, a ballyhooed recruit, was Colt McCoy’s successor as the Texas quarterback. He was a true freshman in 2009 when he replaced the injured McCoy in the national championship game against Alabama. Though Bama won, Gilbert acquitted himself well. In 2010, Gilbert was UT’s starting quarterback. The Longhorns had a disappointing 5-7 season. In a 28-20 loss to OU in Dallas, Gilbert completed 27 of 41 passes for 266 yards, with an interception. In a 33-16 loss to OSU in Austin, Gilbert completed 19 of 32 for 202 yards and an interception. Those days, Gilbert seemed to still have a bright future. No one would have guessed he would lose his job in 2011, transfer to SMU, play well and then bounce around the NFL for much of the next seven years.
5. Rush quarterbacked Central Michigan twice against OSU. In 2015 in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, OSU beat the Chippewas 24-13 as Rush completed 28 of 41 passes for 225 yards and an interception. In 2016 in Stillwater, Central Michigan upset the Cowboys 30-27 when Rush threw a last-play, Hail Mary touchdown pass, after the officiating crew incorrectly extended the game and gave the Chippewas an extra play. Rush completed 31 of 43 passes for 368 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. Of all the future Dallas Cowboy quarterbacks on this list, Rush showed the most against one of the Bedlam rivals. Someone might have guessed that he would spend some time on an NFL roster, which he has.
Let’s get to the predictions:
Packers at 49ers: Green Bay 27-17. 49er quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t playing and Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers is.
Broncos at Falcons: Atlanta 28-20. Denver has been overachieving at 3-4; Atlanta has been underachieving at 2-6. Eventually, that stuff flips.
Seahawks at Bills: Seattle 26-17. Buffalo is a hearty team, but Russell Wilson is just too good. And the Seahawk defense is getting better.
Bears at Titans: Tennessee 21-13. I’m not convinced that Nick Foles is a better Chicago quarterback than is Mitch Trubisky.
Ravens at Colts: Baltimore 24-16. These teams have identical records, 5-2, but that’s about the extent of their similarities. Baltimore’s defeats have come to Kansas City and Pittsburgh. Indianapolis’ defeats have come to Jacksonville and Cleveland.
Panthers at Chiefs: Kansas City 35-13. Matt Rhule managed to avoid Patrick Mahomes in the Big 12. Rhule arrived at Baylor in 2017, the year after Mahomes left Texas Tech. But there’s no avoiding Mahomes now.
Lions at Vikings: Minnesota 31-21. Could the Vikes make a run at the playoffs? After Detroit, Minnesota’s schedule is at Chicago, then three home games, against Dallas, Carolina and Jacksonville. Smells like a winning streak to me, which could make the Vikings 7-5.
Giants at Generals: Washington 19-12. OK, so it’s disingenuous to call Washington the Generals when they’re probably the second-best team in the NFC East. Heck, win this game, and Washington is only a half-game out of first place.
Texans at Jaguars: Houston 26-16. The Texans ought to tank in an effort to get the No. 1 overall pick. They don’t need a quarterback, courtesy of Deshaun Watson. The Texans could get a king’s ransom for the rights to draft Trevor Lawrence.
Raiders at Chargers: Los Angeles 26-24. By LA, I mean the Chargers. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up. The Chargers started in Los Angeles, moved to San Diego and returned to Los Angeles. The Raiders started in Oakland, moved to Los Angeles, returned to Oakland and now are in Las Vegas. Twenty years from now, will the Los Angeles Raiders play the San Diego Chargers? Wouldn’t surprise me.
Steelers at Cowboys: Pittsburgh 27-3. Last year, Pittsburgh went through the revolving quarterbacks, though the Steelers handled it much better than has Dallas.
Dolphins at Cardinals: Miami 21-20. Kyler Murray gets a major test against a Dolphin defense that has become ferocious.
Saints at Buccaneers: Tampa Bay 23-20. Drew Brees vs. Tom Brady. Combined ages 84. Sunday Night Football will be pleased.
Patriots at Jetropolitans: New England 24-10. Combined records 2-13. Monday Night Football will not be pleased.
Last week: 7-7. Season: 74-44-1.