When Ben DiNucci was drafted in the seventh-round of the 2020 draft, there was no way he ever thought he was going to start this season.
Instead, DiNucci will be making his first career NFL start, on Sunday Night Football, and for a chance to put the Cowboys in first place of the NFC East. No pressure, right?
According to USA Today’s Jori Epstein, DiNucci has been in close contact with former starter Dak Prescott during this week’s build up. According to Epstein, via social media, he told Dak that he didn’t expect to be in this situation this season.
“Ben DiNucci saw Dak Prescott at Cowboys HQ yesterday. Told Dak: “This isn’t what you said my rookie year would be like!” Dak gave DiNucci a hug and told him he’d be great, to be himself, the same game he’s played his whole life.”
This mirrors what was said earlier this week. According to Cowboys reporter David Helman, DiNucci hung the situation on the year of 2020.
“Ben DiNucci says he figured there was no chance he’d see the field this year with Dak Prescott & Andy Dalton on the roster. “But it’s 2020, what else do you expect? Here we are.”
According to Helman, DiNucci said “he couldn’t be happier or more excited” to lead the Cowboys offense on Sunday. He will get a chance to try and redeem himself for his efforts in the team’s 25-3 loss to the Washington Football Team.
DiNucci made his NFL debut last Sunday when Dalton was knocked out of the game by Jonathan Bostic. Out of 12 snaps, he completed 2 of 3 passes for 39 yards. However, he was sacked three times and fumbled twice.
DiNucci has been taking first-team reps since Dalton has not been cleared to practice yet. The Athletic’s Jon Machota confirmed that Dalton is unlikely to suit up at all on Sunday, which prompted the team to sign Cooper Rush as insurance.
The team drafted DiNucci No. 231 overall, taking the James Madison quarterback in the seventh round. He finished his college career ranking top-10 in completions, passing yards, and passing touchdowns.
The winner of this game between the 2-5 Cowboys and the 2-4-1 Eagles will take first place in the NFC East.