Who is Cooper Rush? Get to know Cowboys' replacement for injured Dak Prescott

It's bad news time for the Dallas Cowboys. They lost 19-3 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their season debut, and they also lost quarterback Dak Prescott to a broken thumb, which will reportedly keep him out an estimated 6-8 weeks. With their QB1 sidelined, team owner Jerry Jones said on Sunday that their backup QB, Cooper Rush, will "get all the reps."

So who is Cooper Rush? You might remember him for his performance in a Week 8 game in 2021, when he started for the first time in his NFL career after Prescott injured his calf and led Dallas to an unlikely 20-16 win over the Minnesota Vikings.

Not bad, right? But let's look beyond that one game and find out more about Prescott's temporary replacement.

Get to know Cooper Rush

Rush, 28, is a Michigander by birth. He was a three-sport athlete in high school, and was the football team's starting QB for three years, including two undefeated seasons. He went to college at Central Michigan, and was initially the third-string QB as a freshman, but got the starting spot after three games due injuries and bad play by the two quarterbacks ahead of him. He remained the starter throughout college, ending his career with 49 straight starts.

Rush was not selected in the 2017 NFL draft and ended up signing as an undrafted free agent with the Cowboys, where he's spent most of his career. He leveled up from third-string QB to second-string QB in his first season, and appeared in his first NFL game in Week 7, replacing Prescott in garbage time of a blowout win over the San Francisco 49ers. He completed 1-of-3 passes for two yards, and rushed twice for 13 yards, which is exactly what you want from a backup QB in garbage time.

Cowboys backup quarterback Cooper Rush is expected to start in place of Dak Prescott for 6-8 weeks as Prescott rehabs his broken thumb. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)
Cowboys backup quarterback Cooper Rush is expected to start in place of Dak Prescott for 6-8 weeks as Prescott rehabs his broken thumb. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)

Cooper Rush has 11 appearances as a pro so far

That game was the first of 10 that Rush would appear in over the next several years for the Cowboys. He made one more appearance in 2017, this time replacing Prescott in a 37-9 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and throwing one incomplete pass. Rush made one appearance in 2018, in a blowout win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in which he had zero pass attempts and zero rushes. He also had no passes and no rushes in the two games he played in 2019, again in blowout wins.

After playing in no games in 2020 (and spending a month on the New York Giants' practice squad before being re-signed by the Cowboys), 2021 was Rush's first time in the spotlight. He made that first NFL start at the Vikings, going 24-for-40 with 325 yards and two touchdowns and one interception. He also appeared in three other games, where Rush went 6-of-7 for 97 yards and one touchdown.

On Sunday, Rush was promoted to the active roster just before the game. He went 7-for-13 after coming in to replace the injured Prescott, throwing for 64 yards.

Soon, the world is going to learn all about the Cowboys' new temporary quarterback. All eyes will be on Rush as he's expected to make his second career start against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2.