Cowboys name Ben DiNucci starter vs. Eagles on Sunday Night Football

Reuben Frank
·2 min read

Cowboys make a decision on QB for Eagles game originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Cowboys have officially ruled out veteran Andy Dalton for their game Sunday night against the Eagles, meaning rookie 7th-round pick Ben DiNucci will make his first NFL start on national TV at the Linc.

Dalton, making his second start in place of injured Dak Prescott, suffered a concussion during the Cowboys' loss to Washington last Sunday.

DiNucci replaced Dalton and completed 2 of 3 pass attempts for 39 yards and a touchdown and was sacked three times in his NFL debut.

DiNucci originally committed to play college football at Penn before changing his mind and going to Pitt, where he threw five TDs and six INTs in 11 games.

He transferred to James Madison, where he completed 70 percent of his passes and threw 45 touchdowns and 18 interceptions in 29 games.

DiNucci will become the first rookie drafted in the 7th round to start a regular-season NFL game since 7th-round pick Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Rams started three games in 2005, going 0-3.

Dalton, a three-time Pro Bowler with the Bengals, was 0-2 in his two starts for Dallas with one TD and three interceptions. Prescott is out for the year with a broken ankle.

DiNucci becomes the first QB other than Prescott to start against the Eagles since Matt Cassel started the rematch in 2015 at AT&T Stadium. The Eagles won 33-27 on a 41-yard overtime TD pass from Sam Bradford to Jordan Matthews.

The last Cowboys quarterback drafted in the 7th round or later or undrafted to start a game as a rookie (not counting 1987 strike replacement games) was Roger Staubach, who made one start as a 27-year-old rookie 12th-round pick in 1969.

DiNucci will become the third Cowboys quarterback to make his first career start against the Eagles.

Jerry Rhome, a 13th-round pick in 1964, was 8-for-14 for 138 yards with one TD and one INT in a game the Eagles won 35-24 at the Cotton Bowl in 1965.

And Stephen McGee was 11-for-27 for 127 yards with a TD in a game the Cowboys won at the Linc on the final day of the 2010 season. That was a meaningless game for the Eagles, who were locked into the No. 3 seed in the NFC playoffs and played their backups most of the game.

The last QB to make his first career start against the Eagles was Brandon Weeden of the Browns as a rookie on opening day in 2012. He threw four interceptions and the Eagles won 17-16 in Cleveland.